Just before Christmas we were invited to a party at Micah’s previous in-home daycare. It was the first time that I had met any of the other parents besides quick passes as we dropped our kids off and hurried to work. It became obvious to me immediately that everyone asks the same question when they first meet someone:
“What do you do?”
I remember being unsure how to answer that question (Do I say I’m a PT? Do I say I’m unemployed? I don’t really have a job? I’m on maternity leave? I do photography on the side? I’m looking for a job?)
I had just made the decision to resign from the VA and not come back after my maternity leave. Sam and I had decided it was the best decision for our family, so that I could find something part time and be home with the boys more. Even though we were convinced of the decision, it still took me a few months not to be uncomfortable when someone asked me that question. I used to feel like I was letting myself down by stepping away from a full-time job that I worked hard for, loved, and was good at. To be honest, I felt like the desire to be home more wasn’t a good one by other people’s standards. What I’m realizing now is that while my job as a PT was an amazing job, being a mom is too.
I became increasingly confident in my decision as I realized that my identity is not ONLY that of a PT. For me, a good test of whether or not I’m too attached to something is if I ask myself “What will happen if that is taken away?” If I think my life will come crashing down, or that I’ll lose all my self-worth, then I need to reconsider why I feel that way. When I was able to realize that being a PT is an important part of my life, but not my WHOLE life, I was able to think more easily about letting that go. As I looked at my priorities, the amount of time that I was spending at work vs. home didn’t match up with my priorities of family and work and I realized I needed to make a change.
**I do want to note that I realize that matching priorities isn’t realistic for everyone. In fact, one of the reasons I worked full time through Micah’s first two years is because I had to in order to pay down my loans, so I hope no one feels judgment from me on this! For our family, and the place we were at, it was a possibility for me to go part-time and I began to realize that the only reasons that I didn’t want to were based on fear: fear of being bored at home, fear of “losing myself”, fear of never finding a job I liked again. For me to continue to work part time would be going against my conviction to spend more time with my boys**
So, I had my last day of work at the VA officially yesterday (January 8th). It’s been a great 4 1/2 years there!
To those of you who are stay at home moms– I am realizing that raising children, having the patience to discipline consistently, getting them to eat vegetables, cleaning up after them ALL the time, lugging around two little ones (or more!) at once is NOT an easy job. I will readily admit that my days at work are much easier than my days at home. They are much less exhausting, and in many ways helping a patient through a dizzy episode or helping them through rehab after a stroke seems much more rewarding than washing dishes or getting Micah to take a bite of broccoli. I am so excited though for the ways that spending more time focusing on efforts at home will help me and my boys grow. I’m excited to grow in patience and love. I’m excited to be around to help foster their interests. I’m excited to spend more of my time thinking on ways to be an intentional mom and to help them grow in loving and serving other people. And eventually, I’m excited to find something part-time where I can serve others with my PT skills.
To those of you who I worked with at the VA– Thank you! You have been the best coworkers EVER and I really can’t even express how much I will miss you all. Working at the VA has been an amazing opportunity in my life. I’ve met so many amazing people (coworkers and patients!) and have grown so much. People at the VA invested in my education as a vestibular specialist and as a neuro resident. I’ve grown as a person in my communication and confidence, and I’ve enjoyed the challenges that patient care brought. Thank God that Sam still works there and I can continue to see you all!
Here’s to some more time with these two, and job hunting again! <3