Why I quit working

I was very lucky to be able to work at home up until just before Rachel, my third, was born. In some ways, it was the best of both worlds: I only had to put in a few hours a day, I helped with our expenses, I got the opportunity to exercise my mind and (kind of) associate with other adults (though I don’t know of blog comments “count,” especially with some of the ugly conflicts there that still bug me).

On the other hand, I almost never regret leaving the “workforce.” I liked my job and my boss, but I was spending waaay too much time on the computer. It hasn’t gotten all the way better, unfortunately, but I’m glad that I don’t have to be online for those hours a day anymore.

Over on the Power of Moms recently, I read an article about Telena Hall, who went from full-time WAHM to mostly SAHM. She still receives some resistance for her decision, but I think she has a great perspective on the working/nonworking debate:

I continue to work on a much smaller level and I still associate with the same women who were once my peers (and are now my superiors). They continue to encourage me to work more and move back into management. They often remind me of the money I can earn, or influence I’ll have in that position. I have to remind myself that I have the greatest influence over my children, and that one day they will grow up to influence the world. I came to realize that quantity time could not be replaced with quality time. My children needed BOTH.

There are many wonderful opportunities we can pursue as moms and as women. In stepping down from my position was I saying it is wrong for a woman to work? Not at all. It was simply a matter of dividing my time and prioritizing accordingly.

Telena concludes, quoting a church leader, “A woman need not sing all the verses of her song at the same time.” There are seasons in our lives, and after reviewing her priorities, she decided that this season was the time she needed to be with her young children, and maybe in another season, she might return to working—or not.

For me, it wasn’t a big change in my schedule to free up those hours—but it made a big difference in terms of my stress levels (for a while). I continue to struggle with some things I miss—like feeling valued, etc., which is kind of funny since I know my boss valued me, but we didn’t have to communicate all that often—but I know that putting my family first, above a nebulous, difficult to achieve and easy to lose “feeling,” is the best bet I can make right now.

What do you think? What are your priorities? How have you changed your schedule or life for them?

Photo by Sean Dreilinger

5 thoughts on “Why I quit working

  1. definitely always a struggle to find that balance. i used to envision myself really making a difference as a teacher–kind of freedom writer style. then when i actually had the opportunity, i found that all our efforts were undermined by their situations at home, and i realized how absolutely valuable a mother’s contribution really is. i was eager to be a sahm. but, once there, i found myself still missing the feeling of being an intelligent accomplished woman. so i started a master’s program. luckily my program is very flexible on both hours and how many classes i take each semester. i usually don’t have conflicts with divided attention while my girls need me. it does have an impact on my stress level though. it will be nice when i am through. i think now the biggest challenge is just not enjoying my children’s needs to play with me constantly. that probably sounds awful, but what i mean is, i can only play duckies or princesses or trains for about 5 minutes before i’m really tired of it. the request “mamma you wanna play with me?” comes constantly, and i’ll admit i often find excuses. a couple of weeks ago, I had a tender experience that really brought home the reason WHY I need to spend time with my lil ones. I was on the computer, searching for possible dance classes to enroll Gwen in, she was asking me to play with her, and I kept saying, “not right now honey, just a minute, this is for you, you’re really going to love this, I’ll play with you in just a sec” yada yada yada, you get the idea. When finally she came and placed her hand on my knee, looked up at me plaintively, and said words I’ll never forget: “Mamma, you need to be my best friend. Right? You play with me like a best friend?” I was so absorbed in priorities that I thought were for her best interest, that I missed the point of what she needed most: a mom willing to be a best friend through TIME spent together. I’m still working on it, but that really reminded me that yes, I can have things I want to do or study to bring me fulfillment as a woman, but finding fulfillment as a mother cannot happen if I’m divided with other things. For me, it is all about timing of activities. Nap time and bed time are when I try to focus upon me and my other responsibilities. But when the girls are awake, I am striving to make it about THEM.

  2. I smiled when I read that title. I use to say the same thing when, truthfully, I put in 14 hours a day selling on Ebay.

    Now, it’s Ebay and 3 blogs.

    So, NO, you didn’t quit working! Your workplace just changed locations. You’re still doing a Super Job!


  3. Way to go, Jordan! I really love the quote about not singing all the verses of our life’s song at the same time. I’ve been thinking about that concept so much lately – but kind of in the reverse of you. Because I don’t have anyone else to care for, I’ve made the choice to sacrifice a lot of “free” time to start pursuing longtime dreams – getting a Master’s degree, working two jobs so I can finally get out of debt and afford lessons I’ve been wanting to take, focusing on vocal and dance training so I can compete for good parts in theater. Honestly, I haven’t done this as much as I could have earlier because it seemed so extravagant and self-centered. Surely I *should* be doing something else, right? I always felt guilty if I were to do that – but then I accept that as much as I’d rather be caring for a husband and kids, that’s not my path for now, and instead I have the time to do what I want. The time for marriage and family will come later, and that’s okay.

    Everything in its season. You can return to the workforce someday, but you’ll never get that precious time with your babies again. There’s not a better decision than that!

  4. I stumbled across your blog today from your article on Power of Moms. It was so fun to see your reference to my article there. And I loved what your had to say on the same subject.

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