A little over a month ago I left my job "in the real world" to stay home with my boys and run our boutique full time.
I debated ever writing about it, but over the last week felt a strong sense to share.
For the last couple of years I've felt a strong pull to want to be home with my boys. I wrestled with it for a long time, Mike and I would stay up late running through different possible scenarios on how we could make it happen. But we honestly, could never find one that made any sense for our family.
When I found out I was pregnant with Otis in August of 2019 we made a plan. The event I was working on was scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2020, once completed Mike would find a job & I would quit and stay home to run our business and spend time with my boys. The baby allowed me a 3 month maternity leave which would be a nice "trial run" to confirm if this was really going to work. I felt anxious about it all, but truthfully, I was excited and eagerly began a countdown to when I could be home with my boys.
When the pandemic hit, our plan seemed to quickly fly out the window. The event I was working on was postponed a year & the opportunities for Mike seemed to become nonexistant. Being able to work from home gave me a taste of being around more than I ever had and it only confirmed my desire to come home completely.
At first it seemed like maybe this pandemic was God's way of buying us more time. More time to get our life in order, more time to figure out what we wanted. I'd been doing this for so long, what was another year. But, as I headed back to work it became more and more clear to me that this was no longer the path I was supposed to be on.
After tears, lots and lots of tears, and some fairly heated discussions between Mike and I, we BOTH came to the conclusion that we needed to make this change for our family, and we need to do so sooner than later. Shortly after the New Year everything just seemed to fall into place. Mike had multiple interviews, got offered a few things and found what we now know is the ABSOLUTE PERFECT POSITION for Mike.
I say that in all caps, because there was such fear in taking this job. It was a HUGE change and a bit of a risk. If you know Mike those are two things he avoids at ALL costs. But, man this guy stepped up to the plate & he is killing it. I could not be more proud of him. Truthfully, the best part of this entire story is how happy he has become.
Quitting your job is the biggest cluster fuck I have ever been through. Especially, if you are a working mother. Not only are you worried about yourself but now you have to add in your kids, your spouse and all of the other crap you're responsible for. Can you still provide for your family at the same level if you make this change? For us that was a huge scary leap into the unknown.
Not only do you worry about yourself, your family, the bills, insurance - you know all of the adult shit that comes with life and having a family, but now you add in today's society. The pressures that come with the massive expectations of others. Living up to the standards that others have set for you and the pressure of knowing inevitably someone you care about it going to be upset with your decision. I am an engegram one and the thought of that was almost enough to not move forward. But at the end of the day, this was a decision for ME. This was my opportunity to make myself happy and follow MY dreams. My dreams had changed, and I finally had accepted that and was comfortable moving forward without worrying about what others would think.
Last you worry about the what ifs & the future. What if, this is the wrong decision. What if, I want to go back. What if, I'm not worth anything anymore. That last one still gets me a bit. If you google women leaving the workforce you'll see in almost every article how once you leave you're basically going to have to start over at the very beginning if you decide you want to come back. That last decade+ of hard work, doesn't matter, hell it may as well have not even existed because no one will care and no one will pay you for that experience. That for me was the hardest part.
You see, five years ago, Mike Ries quit his job so I could follow "my dream". He gave up everything because I was so passionate about my career and I just knew that I wanted to "climb the corporate ladder". Mike at this point didn't feel as passionate about his job as I did mine, so he quit. We moved our little family 14 hours away from everyone we knew for two years so I could follow this dream. We were all in.
In one of our nights talking through this transition I broke down and told Mike I felt so guilty for making him quit because now that's all I wanted to do. His response was that moving to Charlotte was the catalyst for so many good things and that had we not moved we would never be in this position that we're in today. And he is so right. So as I thought about giving up the last decade+ of "equity" I had built within my professional career I felt a sense of peace that God had lead me to this point and he wasn't going to just let me quit and flounder in the future. This career was a stepping stone into bigger things for me and my family. Maybe this "bigger things" weren't bigger in the same context that I was previously familiar with (ie. promotion, more money, more responsibilities) but maybe this bigger was a bigger life filled with my happiness, more memories, more family time.
A lot of people have asked why I didn't stick it out to the end of the event. It was only another six months. Trust me when I say that we had originally planned to just stick it out, but after a few months it just became more clear to us that the time to transition was now. At the end of the day that six months was six months that I wouldn't get back with my kids. It was an entire summer where I'd be working crazy hours. Oliver is 8. He only has 10 more summers at home. I didn't want to miss another summer of his. Truthfully, that thought is the entire thought that pushed me over the finish line and gave me the courage to turn in my notice. I would by lying if I said I wasn't pumped to spend my summer hanging out at the beach, running kids to camps, spending time at my parents for the first time in years, and making all of the memories with my boys that I've seen other moms post about on Instagram.
Two months after announcing my departure, I feel more at peace with my decision than I ever thought possible. My kids are thriving. My husband is thriving. My house is thriving. I am not yet thriving, but it's coming. Tomorrow, I'll talk more about my transition and how it hasn't gone at all like I'd imagined it would. How it has challenged me in more ways possible and how it's allowing me to find myself, and my true authentic happiness.
If you're thinking about making a big change in your life and need someone to chat with, please know that I'm always here. I have zero answers but I have a listening ear and an encouraging voice. Two things a friend gave me when I was struggling with staying or leaving. You can do hard things if you feel it deep in your soul is the right decision for you and your family. I promise.