I quit my 9-5 after my daughter was born. Here’s why.
Disclaimer: This is my story, based on my motherhood journey—no one else’s. I recognize that not every mom wants to quit her job, and many simply don’t have the option. I honor it as a privilege every single day, and fully understand that many moms are the best versions of themselves when they’re able to work outside of the home. This blog is a safe space for honesty and vulnerability, and each person’s story is different and beautiful in its own way. There will be no mom shaming here.
*Featured image photo credit: David Smith
Now, let’s get to it:
When I was just a few months pregnant, I remember staring out the office window of my full-time job wondering what life would look like in the near future.
I did this often. Like any soon-to-be mom, I had visions of what motherhood would be and daydreamed about the special moments I would share with my daughter once she was born.
As I stared out my office window on those days, I couldn’t picture a scenario that didn’t include spending my days with my baby. Immersing ourselves outside in nature, sporadic adventures to the park when cabin fever would inevitably hit, baking cookies and making messes. It felt like a calling. And anything else felt… off.
It’s important to emphasize that I didn’t hate my job. In fact, I actually quite liked it. I loved the people I worked with, and to this day I still consider some of them my closest friends.
As a Writer & Editor at a university, I worked hard to be a valuable member of the team. My colleagues knew they could depend on me, and we worked well as a team. Even before my first job in the marketing industry, my husband and I studied relentlessly in college to ace exams and excel. We skipped invitations to parties and probably took school way too seriously. I immersed myself in resume-building activities and career preparation, and it all paid off once I finally entered the workforce.
And while I was busting my butt to make a name for myself and earn that degree, I never pictured a time when I wouldn’t be a full time employee.
Until I was ready to become a mother…
It was an odd, uncharacteristic feeling to have. I’d become someone who very intentionally and primarily defined herself as a working woman, and had developed a type A routine in most aspects of my life to foster that identity. In hindsight, too much of my self-worth was rooted in my career—and it definitely fed into an unhealthy need for external validation from others. (But I didn’t know it at the time… I’ll touch more on this later.)
And now, with just a few short months away from welcoming a child into the world, I wanted to become someone new.
I felt an intense urge to rebel against the very life I had worked so hard to build. I felt it at the very core of my being. Like a switch flipped and all my previous aspirations were replaced with doubt.
I hadn’t even met her yet. But the thought of giving birth and returning to work just months after she came into the world filled me with dread and gave me an instant lump in my throat.
I hadn’t even experienced the intensity of labor and birth and the undeniable payoff of precious, new life that a woman experiences the moment she becomes a mother. And already the thought of leaving her each day made me feel sick to my stomach.
I knew in my heart that returning to work just didn’t feel right. I knew that returning to work would mean I’d be staring out that same window, daydreaming about the same baby—only this time it would be after we had finally met, and my longing to be with her would only grow in intensity.
And I was right.
Once she was born, there was no going back.
Even in the weeks following her birth, when the darkness of postpartum depression and postnatal insomnia crept in—and the thought of being with my work friends for just a day felt like relieving escape—my mom heart knew I belonged at home with her.
In October 2017, shortly after my daughter was born, I resigned.
And now, I can finally say I don’t regret it a bit. Our days together are so fun and full. I finally feel the alignment I was searching for all along, and it just feels right.
The identity crisis I went through after I quit my job and entered depression—and the rebuilding of a new career— is another story for another post.
Until then, thanks for reading. ❤️
Has your gut ever called you to switch life paths—and did you listen? If so, I want to hear about it.
Love and awkward hugs,