The Choice to Stay Home

lisa's familyHappy Monday Mommas! I am really excited about today’s guest blogger, Lisa Gingras Stokes. Lisa and I went to high school together and since then she has become mom to three amazing kids (ages 5, 4, and 2). She has a degree in early childhood education and public affairs and is a certified pastry chef and breast cancer survivor. Her latest adventure is becoming a stay at home momma! I asked her to tell her story of making the transition from a corporate job to stay at home mom. Lisa has generously shared her processing of this decision and why it was right for her family, and I hope it encourages readers. Whether you work outside or inside the home, the important thing is to support moms being able to make the choice that works best for them, because when a mom is following her dream – the sky is the limit. Enjoy!

4:45 AM…Alarm goes off…Coffee…News…5:30 AM…Kids get up…6:45 AM…Leave the house…Drop off at two separate places and get to work by 8:00 AM…Work work work…5:00 PM…Head out to do the pickups…5:35 PM…Pick up first kid…5:50 PM…Pick up the other two…6:15 PM…Finally get home…7:30 PM…Bedtime for the kids…

That was it. My life, Monday through Friday. My time with my three kids was spent repeating myself for them to get their shoes on 500 times in the morning and then a quick hour and a half at night hurriedly getting in dinner, baths, a couple quick cuddles at bedtime.

This was my life, until two weeks ago when I “retired” from my corporate 8-5 job.

The thought of leaving my corporate job came really fast. This has always been a dream of mine. Actually, it’s what I always wanted, even before having kids – to have my babies and then volunteer at their preschool. Let me just say though, I have never worked at a preschool, so why that was my dream I have no idea. But, leaving my job shot into action when I saw my sister make a post on social media about an opening at my kids preschool for a volunteer pre-kindergarten teacher.

We were at the beach on vacation. I read her post out loud and looked at my husband and said I want to do this.

I wanted to go back to work from vacation, put in my notice and start working at the preschool. Now, could this have actually happened at that moment? I mean maybe, yes? But it was all a little fast. I would need to take tests and get certifications. Our insurance was through my current job. And school was starting in two weeks. It was a little much. But, this put the thought in my mind and I knew at that moment this is what I was going to do.

We talked and talked about it. I went into work after that vacation and told them I was going to work one more year and then I was going to retire from the corporate life. Well, the more and more I thought about it, I changed my mind and decided when school let out for Christmas break that was going to be it. I picked the date of December 21st and couldn’t have been more excited about this. I may or may not have even had a countdown on my desk…

The closer the day got the more excited I was to start this new journey as a stay at home mom, but also, my anxiety grew too. I felt like I was losing a part of who I was.

I have worked my entire adult life and for the past 5 ½ years have worked in this same office with this same close knit group of people. They are like family. They were there with me through 3 babies, cancer treatments, mood changes and finding myself again. They are more than just co workers and leaving them was not going to be easy.

But also, my mind was going crazy with the thought of me possibly not contributing to our family enough? Would I feel guilty going out and doing things if I wasn’t working a traditional job? Would my husband think I shouldn’t be out and about? Would he think I shouldn’t be able to complain about the craziness of the kids, because after all this is what I’ve wanted? Would I even be able to survive the craziness of the kids (a very legit question)? What if I failed staying home?

We talked it out…Everything that was going through my mind was normal. How could I not feel this way? I was a workaholic. Someone driven by schedules and deadlines and I was now moving into a role of freedom. I made the right choice. I felt at ease. I said goodbye to my work family and bawled my eyes out as I pulled out of the parking lot.

But at home, we celebrated. Celebrated that mommy is now going to be available to my kids whenever they need me. Celebrated that I won’t have to miss any school functions and have others fill in. Celebrated that I won’t need to feel guilty for calling out of work when someone is sick or has appointments. Celebrated that we are blessed to have my dream become a reality and I can become the stay at home mom that I have always wanted to be. Terrifying?…Yes…. Amazing?… Absolutely!