Finally Quitting The Worst-Paying Job I’ve Ever Had

I’m going back to work today. I feel like I’ve written variations of this entry a million times on this blog. There was NikkiZ’s maternity leave, then the first day back after my layoff, and now AndyZ’s token, “I’ll miss you, kid!” entry. So, here it goes:

I’ll miss you, kid.

This time is a bit different. This is my third bought of being a SAHM in the last three years and I can tell you this honestly and openly: I’m a crappy SAHM. I lose my patience easily, I depend on the television as a babysitter too much, I get stressed out that no one ever notices how much I actually do during the day, and I have severe anxiety over not contributing to our financial well-being.

And also? Being a SAHM is the hardest job – physically and emotionally – that I’ve ever had. I am more worn out at the end of a day alone with the kids than I’ll ever be after a day at the desk. Emotionally? It is really taxing because I feel guilty if I’m not playing enough, or teaching enough, or loving enough. But if I try to do all of those things enough? I lose my patience and end up yelling…ENOUGH. And then the guilt rolls back in.

I am happy to go back to a job working with someone who actually acknowledges work I do. I mean, damn those toddlers and their inability to actually appreciate my labor over laundry and meals! And the infants? Can I not get a “Thank You” after a diaper change once in awhile? No – there is definitely an advantage to an office where a boss (if you have a good one) notices the work you do. You can actually go to bed feeling fulfilled and appreciated, instead of RUN OVER BY A DAMN SEMI.

So, while I’m going to truly miss my kids and I’ve already cried several times over the thought of leaving them a daycare today, I’m glad to be going back to work. I am not cut out for being a SAHM and I’ll always put those of you that do it on a high pedestal of tolerance and patience that I’ll always aspire to have. I don’t know how you do it without killing your kids or your spouse, but I’ll always be a little jealous that I couldn’t do it and love it. And a whole lot of guilty.

I’ll cry a bit today because I just love my kids that much. That even though I’m miserable a lot of the time, and worn out, tired, depressed and anxious – I’ll still miss being with them all day. I’ll miss taking LilZ to and from school, I’ll miss painting with NikkiZ, and I’ll miss cuddling with AndyZ. But I know for a fact I’m a better Mom when I’m not home all day. I have always done more good with those 3-4 hours at night than I could ever do with an extra 9 hours during the day. I cherish more and I yell less.

But I’ll still miss those little life-suckers.

38 thoughts on “Finally Quitting The Worst-Paying Job I’ve Ever Had”

  1. superrelish – Melbourne – Who am I? Well I am a mum to 6 year old boy-child and 4 year girl-child and wife to man-child. I chose not to be defined as 'only a mum' and I work part-time. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mum and most of the time it is great fun but it is not only who I am. I know that I am a much better mum when I am not a mum 24/7. Work gives me an additional serving of sanity, sprinkled with stress and complemented by a paypacket. All in all, life is pretty good.
    del says:

    Thanks for making me feel ‘normal’. I am glad to hear that I am not the only mum who doesn’t cope well with the whole SAHM deal. I mean it is totally sucky that you are going back to work and will miss the insanity, but it will be the best of both worlds – you will be happy to go to work to escape kid insanity but very happy to get home at the end of the day.

  2. good luck at your first day off!!! I am sure your children have appreciated having you around, and now they are going to appreciate that time with you in the evening a bit more!

    Nice coloring on the page!

  3. Good luck going back to work! Your kids are well taken care of and LOVED. If LilZ is any indication of the kind of person your two little ones will grow into, then we’ll all be fortunate. Your kids will be FINE, and you’ll flourish with the adult interaction! Yay Zoot!

  4. Good luck on your first day back. I think the kids are awesome, and there’s no one right way to do things.

  5. Good luck today. Last Monday was my first day returning from maternity leave. I did fairly well, after having a major emotional breakdown on Sunday. It is quite an adjustment, especially mornings. Yet somehow we get through it!

    Hope all goes well for you. Enjoy actually getting to go to the bathroom and eat food in peace. 🙂

  6. Thank you for putting into words how I feel as well. I am lucky enough to be in Canada where we are granted a year maternity leave which I cherished every moment….of course knowing that at the end of it all was adult conversation and the feeling of accomplishing something at the end of the day when I returned to work. I love my children, I also love my job and the people I work with…now I have every weekend with my boys, which is just enough time for me to realise that I’m looking forward to heading to work on Monday morning 🙂 Have a wonderful first day back, your babies will all be there when you return, looking for that wonderful hug and kiss.

  7. yeah for you!
    we beat ourselves up over staying home or working. but you gotta do what works for you and yours. that is the only way to keep your (and your family’s) sanity.
    it was hard when I left mine at daycare the first time. but like you, I know we were all better off for it.

  8. Add my name to the list of moms who are not cut out to be SAHMs. I was very fortunate to be able to phase in my back-to-work schedule, starting with around 4 hours a day for a week or two and gradually working up to a full 8 (with time off at noon to go to the baby’s daycare home and nurse).

    I love my kids, and I don’t consider myself a “bad” mother. I never felt guilty about going back to work (Men don’t, do they? Then why should women?). I think they’ve all turned out great (oldest just got married and has a nice job, middle is a junior in college, and youngest is going away to college in just under 2 weeks–eek!). I think they’ve learned and benefitted from every caregiver they’ve had, so I embrace the whole “it takes a village” concept. I was always in charge of who was taking care of my kids (or rather, my husband and I), choosing them for their strengths and the opportunities they’d offer. I think they got a great deal.

    Yes the morning and evening routines will be hectic and chaotic for a while until you get it all figured out (and as soon as you do, something else will change 😉 ), but for us it was totally worth it to expose the kids to other people and other enriching activities (even if sometimes it’s just playing with other kids or other toys) and give us some time away while feeling like we were doing other important work.

    Taking care of kids is important, of course–but if you’re not that good at it? Employ some (good) professionals!

  9. I really get what you are saying. I didn’t have much respect for working moms until I became a SAHM. I love my kids dearly but there are times when I feel like I have done nothing for the past 10 years. Good luck!
    And totally unrelated…As a fellow HP fan I thought you might enjoy this:

  10. can I get an “amen”? Because you articulate the swirly thoughts in my head very well.

    I love that NikkiZ’s barrette is upside down. When I bought (presumably) the same set I took them all out and snapped together the match pair. Except in too many cases it’s the same barrette, not the mirror. So poor Audrey has one upside bunny/poodle/bird on one side of her head.

  11. Thanks for sharing this. My husband and I are beginning to think about having kids, and since I work full-time now, I’ve started thinking about whether I’ll want to keep working or stay home. It’s just good to hear someone else’s story, and get another viewpoint. I don’t think you should ever feel guilty about a decision like this. You are doing what’s best for you and your family. You should be thanked and praised for that, not get beaten up over it! Can’t wait to hear how it all goes!

  12. Have a great day today! (after the hard goodbyes, of course)

    It’s such a good feeling to know what kind of lifestyle fits you best, isn’t it?

  13. “I have always done more good with those 3-4 hours at night than I could ever do with an extra 9 hours during the day. I cherish more and I yell less.”

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! Thank you for

  14. crap, didn’t mean to hit enter. ANYWAY…

    thank you for putting how I feel so beautifully, so it doesn’t come across sounding like a crappy mother who doesn’t want to be with her kids because that’s SO not the case. You’re absolutely right, some families just do better when mommy works outside the home.

  15. I always at admire your ability to say I want to work outside the home, even though I love my kids, I don’t want to stay home with them everyday. Because I think the most importan thing is knowing yourself, and taking care of yourself because if you can’t do that then you can’t e the best mom you need to be.

    I love these posts and how you don’t whine and cry about how you wish you could stay home but financially you can’t yada yada yada. It takes some balls to just say I love my kids and I love my job. And both make me a better person.

    Because being a Happy Mom/Wife is the first step in being a Great Mom/Wife.

    It’s hard to be a Mom these days somehow we are expected to contribute to the home financially while staying at home full time and loving both and obviously you can’t work a forty hour week and stay home full time.

    Why do we feel like we admit defeat when we (very reasonable) choose to either stay home or work outside the home? And do you think our husband have this sort of inner turmoil or societal pressure to do everything?

    Because I don’t.

    Happy first day of work…i’ll send you an extra box of tissues…(being sad about leaving your baby? Means you love him, and miss him and nothing else)


  16. As a full time SAHM for the last 6+ years I understand what you are saying. It is, most certainly, not for everyone! Be proud that you are doing what is best for you and your family. We’re all different. Enjoy your 1st day back and your first evening at home cherishing!

  17. I agree 110%. SAHMs are awesome and talented and should be applauded. I am too type-A to be good at it and I would just end up beating myself up constantly.

  18. “I lose my patience easily, I depend on the television as a babysitter too much, I get stressed out that no one ever notices how much I actually do during the day, and I have severe anxiety over not contributing to our financial well-being.”

    Oh honey that doesn’t make you a crappy SAHM, it just makes you like the rest of us!!!

    BUT you are lucky to have a job you enjoy and childcare you feel good about. Enjoy your return to work!

  19. Amen! I honor those who have the patience to have their kids with them all day. I have to plug my ears up by the end of the day to keep my brain from oozing out of my ears.

  20. How can AndyZ look that BIG already? He’s seriously growing, yo.
    Good for you to acknowledge how you are at your best. That’s a great thing. Kids whose parents love them–that is the goal. You are terrific.

  21. Good luck back at work! Are you going to be breast feeding AndyZ during school hours like you did Nikki Z?

  22. Good luck today Zoot! But all I really want to say is love the new look and love the Buffy musical reference even more. Anya = awesome.

  23. “I have always done more good with those 3-4 hours at night than I could ever do with an extra 9 hours during the day. I cherish more and I yell less.”

    Ditto, thank you. Just started my new outside-of-the-home job today and WOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! already I am so much happier. (Then I always have to add, “not that I don’t love my kids,” like a guilty mom mantra.) I LOVE them. But I also love getting paid and not having a 6 and 8 year old yell at me because I’m “playing wrong.” How can you play wrong?

    Have a great week, Zoot.

  24. Your little “life suckers” are super cute; I’d miss them, too! I think it’s great that you know how much you enjoy working out of the home, and even if you do feel some guilt (which I don’t think any mom should feel…well, inside the norm of “not feeding the kids to the pet gator” sorta mom), you know you’re giving your kids your best, which is all that really counts.

    So, suffice it to say, I hope you had a great day.

  25. Sing it sister. I’m in the same boat as Rebel – one year mat leave. I’m two months in and I love having my year with my little ones… but by the end of a year I’m ready to go back to work. I think it’s great if someone can stay home; I wonder if I can convince my husband to be a SAHD?

  26. You are a good SHAM. It is the hardest and most important job you will ever have. Do not be so hard on yourself. You are doing a very good job. I applaud you and your husband.

  27. Good luck! I bet you are a better stay at home mum than you give your self credit for!

    Enjoy work.. But enjoy when you come home the most!

  28. AMEM Sista!

    I have worked since my first (now 5YO) was 6 weeks old. As of April I became a full-time SAHM & it’s killing me! Ok, I’ve had a few health issues that are really the problem, but it truly is the hardest job ever!!! That being said, I had 5 years to really think it over and know that it was really what I wanted, so when we realized we could afford it I jumped at it.

    That being said, my 2YO had gotten super attached to me so she is started a pre-school 2 days a week (3 hrs a day) because I agree w/Margie, “it take a village” and LittleSpeak needs to be reminded that other people can kiss boo-boos and give her time outs too (not that that’s all I do all day). I just think it’s really important for kids to realize that the way mom or g’ma does it isn’t the end-all-be-all to everything. The sooner they get that the easier their lives will be. Here’s the greatest part: I will have TWO FREE MORNINGS now!!! Ok, I’ll probably volunteer in 5YO’s kindie class one of those days, but still!

    If I had been able to be a SAHM from the beginning I would appriciate it and would probably be clammering to get back to work.

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