In the realm of social media, where we often showcase the polished highlights of our lives, I find myself contemplating the authenticity we sacrifice for the curated perfection we present. This morning, a wave of self-doubt and discouragement hit me, revealing the raw truth beneath the facade. Since departing the workforce in September, my emotional journey has been a rollercoaster, oscillating between passion, excitement, gratitude, and moments of feeling like I'm not doing enough.
Why do mothers often struggle with the perception that their role as caregivers is insufficient contribution to the household? Is it a byproduct of societal expectations, where women are anticipated to work as if devoid of familial responsibilities and mother as if employment is non-existent? Even opting to step away from the workforce, there persists a stigma surrounding the choice to be a stay-at-home mom.
As someone inherently inclined towards a workaholic lifestyle, it's easy to lose sight of the fundamental reasons behind my departure from the workforce. For years, burnout became a badge of honor as I juggled parenthood and professional responsibilities. Despite external success, internally, I was drowning. The turning point materialized during a hospital stay with my 18-month-old, battling a MRSA infection. Juggling hospital staffing coordination and answering calls with an infant at my side made me question the essence of my choices.
This reflection prompted my decision to resign, marking the beginning of my transition to the realm of stay-at-home mom life. Seth, my husband, supported my decision, but societal assumptions hinted at the expectation for me to seamlessly transition into another job. Unwilling to trade one form of burnout for another, I chose a different path – committing fully to building my clothing brand, BHD. The decision, right for me and my children, posed questions about its rightness for everyone. Shifting the financial burden solely to my partner brought forth both excitement and fear. The freedom to explore new avenues clashed with the uncertainty of not meeting past professional benchmarks.
Amidst these internal struggles, Seth returned home exhausted last night, and my hesitancy to express the challenges of balancing family and business stirred a sense of guilt. Was my desire to spend more time with my children merely an excuse for leaving my job? The feelings lingered into the morning, accompanied by self-doubt. A walk through flower fields with Savannah this morning brought some clarity. The innocent smile on her face reminded me why I left the workforce – to enrich my children's lives, prioritizing their memorable childhood over financial gains or professional success.
Contemplating whether to share my struggles, I stumbled upon a quote by @themumcrew: "Nothing else will ever make you as happy, as sad, as tired, or as proud as motherhood. For nothing is as hard as helping a person develop their own individuality, while struggling to keep your own." In that moment, I felt seen. I share my journey in the hope that someone else out there also feels seen. Whether you are a working mom or a SAHM, the foundations laid for our children surpass any professional success, and the reminder that "you are enough" is a sentiment worth embracing. After all, they only have one childhood, and making it memorable is what truly matters.