Something(s) About Me ...


I never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. You see, I was a classic workhorse. I got my first job at 18 and never stopped working. I had always envisioned myself being a working mom and I was more than okay with that. My mom was a working woman for most of my childhood and, if I may say so myself, she and my dad did a pretty good job of raising my brother and I. So I was prepared to carry the working mom baton. It was my destiny. Right?

Just weeks after having my second baby and knee deep into my nanny research, I was (gasp) laid off from my advertising sales job. I was stunned because after weeks and weeks of going, going, going, everything was grounded to a halt. Suddenly I didn't have to follow up with accounts for my return to work, I didn't have to research and interview potential nannies, I didn't have to carefully plan drop off and pick ups for our daughter who was 2 at the time. Everything in my carefully spinning world that I knew and loved just stopped and I had no idea how to deal with it. I had no idea how to deal with “nothing” if that makes any sense at all. I could juggle 10 things at once, but here I was feeling like a juggler with one pin. An actor with no script. Just me and two little ones day in and day out. My identity as I had always known it (and wanted it to be) was suddenly gone. And so began my journey of becoming a stay-at-home mom.
I fought the idea of becoming a “stay-at-home mom.” I remember disliking that title because it sounded similar to a command you'd give an animal, “stay, stay.” But whether I liked it or not, it was happening. Understand that I had always been excited to have kids. The love I have for them is exceptionally fierce. And like any other mom, I wanted the best for them. But the script I had imagined this taking place in had changed. Drastically.
The time it was taking me to find a new job (during our nations highest unemployment rate) and still being at home with the kids was overlapping increasingly. And so was my frustration. I remember feeling reduced from giving sales presentations to CEOs of Time Inc. (our parent company at one point), and planning million dollar sales goals, to making baby food and changing diapers. All I could think was that I was more than this. Of course now I feel so foolish for even feeling this way. In fact, I'm embarrassed I ever felt this way.
Since we were managing to stay above water with one income, my destiny to be home was becoming more and more apparent. I slowly, but surely started to evolve more into my new role. One that is far more important than sales presentations to CEOs. I am the CEO of raising my kids and I take this role very seriously. Plus, it's more challenging and far more fun than anything else ever could be.
What happened was my life was simplified cold turkey. As much as I kicked and screamed in the beginning, I am such a better mom for it now. I couldn't feel more blessed to have been given this opportunity to be at home with my two kiddos. More importantly I've grown to realize that this is my “season” to be a mom and I'm embracing it and enjoying it full on. I have more of an “I get to” attitude than an “I have to” one. Will I ever go back to work? Possibly. But one thing is for sure, it's not my main priority anymore. Being a stay-at-home mom is:)
Thank you for hearing me out on this near and dear to me subject. And to Theresa for inspiring me to share this story with you. Check out her blog for her very own "Something(s) About Me" and a list of other bloggers sharing something today.

23 comments:

Robyn said...

wow-thanks for sharing. I guess sometimes I think every mum wants to (if they could afford to) stay at home- then only when I was running with my buddy this week, we were talking about it-and she never did or ever wanted to be the stay at home mum. but your story just shows that a change of course, even if not wished, can be a blessing.

rebecca said...

great to hear a something personal from you haydee. thanks for your honesty. :)

Shannon said...

I can completely relate to this, after having my son I decided to stay home after being unable to find a job in my industry where we lived. I am finally after two years getting used to it! It's a huge identity change, not having a 'real job', although, come on, motherhood is one of the hardest jobs out there! I'm sure your kids will have wonderful memories of you staying home for them, thanks for sharing!

Shannon
www.11thandshannon.com

Lauren Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing. My husband and I are just beginning to family-plan. Whether or not I'll be able to stay home is TBD, so it's been really inspiring to hear how other women have navigated the mommy "season."

Raluca | WhatWouldGwynethDo said...

So great, Haydee! I often wonder how my self-identity would shift if my work went away and frankly, the idea makes me giddy and nervous at the same time.

Dancing Branflake said...

Love you and love this. I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom. It's always something I've aspired to, but I can only imagine how hard it must be to have all that switched on you, not because it's what you wanted. But your spirit pulled through and I love this self acceptance. Very inspiring.

Theresa / inspirationCOOPERATIVE said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post, Haydee. I was really looking forward to reading it today. As you know, I am struggling a bit with this very topic. I'm almost there with respect to fully embracing my role as a SAHM (about 95%).
Like you, I started working and supporting myself very young. It was always my goal not to have to rely on someone; To have my own identity and my own money to spend. I think a lot of my resistance stems from slightly losing these aspects of myself as I became a SAHM. I know it's a silly feeling (esp. the financial part). My husband and I are a team. What's his is mine and vice versa.
The other part of my worry stems from skills I'll have to offer once I do decide to go back to work. Will someone want to hire me?
Anyway, I'm working on that last 5% and striving to reach your point. While I'm doing that, I'm sure I'll return to your words in this post often.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

California Chic said...

Such a great topic for so many of us who are struggling with this very same thing. I've been working since age 17 and now, with a 2 year-old at home, I'm finding myself wishing I could stay home. I never thought of myself as a "SAHM" either, but what I've discovered that right now, my daughter is more important to me than anything going on at the office. I think a part-time role might ultimately be my happy place and I hope to one day be able to make that happen. Thank you for your honesty and have a great weekend!

julia wheeler said...

you've been one of my role models since TWS days and you still are as a SAHM. you're a great mom, an incredibly hard-worker, well-organized and are super fashionable and funny while doing all of that. kudos for sharing this!

Torrie said...

I felt the exact same way. I never intended to stay home... my mom worked (single parent), and I felt like it was my destiny/script to do so as well. Plus, I'm ashamed to say- I didn't really value the role of a "SAHM"... I didn't look down on them, I just looked at it sort of like- not living out your "full potential."

But it all started to change after I had my second child. Until she was 3, I was fiercely climbing my way up the corporate ladder... always juggling a million things- always GOING. I slowly started to realize that I really wasn't excelling in anything other than WORK. I had worked since I was 16 and never stopped. Long story short, my mom- who watched our kids while we worked- and was sadly taking on more of a parent role than we were- had health issues (she's fine now!). That day, I made the decision to take my sabbatical and knew that I most likely would not be returning to "that life" after it ended. And sure enough, when it was up, there was no question as to where I was meant to be :). We always ask, HOW DID WE DO IT??? And really, the answer is that we *didn't.

Thanks for sharing your story!

vickichristine said...

I needed to read this. I've been working since I was 15 and am about to have my first baby in August and am most likely going to stay home after. I'm kiiiinda freaking out about it and the more supportive and positive stories I can hear about how rewarding it is to do so is sooo helpful! thanks!

girloliver said...

Haydee ~ I am so happy you wrote about this!! So honest for you and at the same time so comforting for your readers who have gone through the same thing!!! Xoxo

La Feem said...

Wow, look at how much you helped these women with your story, amazing. I feel so blessed to know you and to have watched this transition. You are a role model to so many and like Julia said, you are also so funny, talented, fashionable and kick ass! You've combined your idenity as a mom & a woman perfectly. Your kids are so lucky!

Chi @ 106 said...

I have nothing but admiration and respect for the courage it must have taken to write so honestly about a potentially controversial topic - good for you! :D

I, too, was raised by parents who both worked. I always knew that I would stay home when my daughter was born - mainly because I felt that juggling a 5-hour commute, a career in the fashion industry AND parenting would be a challenge I couldn't cope with.

I loved my new role but by the time my little girl was a year old, I began to get The Itch. :)

I'm now lucky enough to work from home, doing something I love and feel passionate about and being available for my daughter whenever she needs me.

Tori said...

Haydee, i love how honest you were in this post. I think a lot of us feel like this in the beginning but slowly realize how special a sahm is. I also think by staying at home with kids it gives you, the mother a chance to reflect, slow down and have time to pursue your own passion.

Thank you for sharing!

The little me said...

Thanks for sharing! You're living in my dream! Although I don't drag myself to work everyday but the yearn to be a stay-at-home mom is always there... I have not gathered enough courage to realise this dream (mostly for economical reason). Perhaps one day, when my season comes, I'll do it!

annie said...

Hey. Sorry I'm late to the party. That's a really interesting perspective on SAHMing. Everything just stopping. Can't image how nice it must have been to stop having to arrange and co-ordinate all that stuff. Well done you for being brave enought to admit what you want from life. Sounds like you're doing a great job and having a great time x

Megan Tagliaferri said...

This is beautiful, real and honest. Your kids are amazing bc of you! xo

TheBeautyFile said...

I love this, Haydes! So beautifully honest and inspirational! I know the world has brought so many opportunities for women to be EVERYTHING, but I think it's really ok to just be mom. Because you and I know we're SO much more than mom and to tell you the truth, being mom is more gratifying on it's worst days than any job in the entire world. I treasure my days with my boy more than anything. Our routine is so comforting and wonderful, I couldn't imagine not being here with him. (I am going to probably work outside of my house two days a week, starting in September, but it's basically all I could do! Being without him for even a day is just HARD!!)

Monica L. Shulman said...

I loved reading this. I think so many women go through this every day. It's like a constant struggle for a lot of women I know between being home with your kids to still feeling like you're your own self and have time for yourself.

I stopped working as a lawyer to do my own thing as a photographer before I had my daughter and then when I had her and I felt like I was so desperate to be back doing my own thing. I was so torn between just being there every second I could and doing everything myself to wanting some time to just figure out where my business was going to go. But then I started to fall more and more into the roll of being a mom that gradually, like you, I started to embrace it. Knowing that my child is so happy and relies on me and loves me with her is so rewarding. But eventually what worked for me was a hybrid of working at home and being at home with my baby. I have a PT babysitter who comes 2.5 days a week so that I can actually work on my business (and myself) is fantastic for her and for me. And even when the sitter is here (and we love her and I give her full autonomy) there are moments that just call for mom and I'm there no matter what. I think we all do what we can and sometimes it's best to just make it up as we go along. But like you, being a mother who stays home with my girl is my priority.

Sam Lennie said...

Hi Haydee, I'm a little late to this party, I'm sorry. I promised myself I'd go read and comment on everyone else's posts from the cocktail party, otherwise it would be like going to a real life get together and not getting a chance to talk to everyone in the room :-)

Thanks for sharing such a poignant story, being forced into being a SAHM, rather than having a choice must have been a real shock. I did part time work when my kids were young and I still feel now that I missed out on a lot of their experiences. I think your embracing the opportunity is wonderful. Children are young for such a short space of time, when they become teenagers, as mine are, you go through another conundrum and the feeling that they don't really need you anymore (well only when they need cash or clothes washing), and then, like a clothes wash cycle, you get rolled around, pushed about, and your life changes and adapts once again. Have a happy time with your children, cherish it all xx

leah of sang the bird said...

Thanks for sharing this. it's a hard title to take on. i have always hated the term 'home duties' as well. thanks for being so real and honest x

thais said...

your story and honesty speaks so close and deep to my heart. I myself have fought the same battle and am still learning on how to embrace my seasons. you are an amazing writer and beautiful mother ;)

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