Like millions of other Americans, the pandemic has been forcing me to work from home since March. While I am grateful to still have a job, I’m also a little bummed. I had literally just gotten back into the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for nine years when the coronavirus started.
I left my career after my child was born to allow my husband to focus on his career. After daycare and gas, it didn’t make sense for me to continue working. I absolutely loved the fact that I never missed out on a single thing while my son was little, but if you’ve ever been a stay-at-home parent, you know that it comes with its own share of struggles.
Although I had found a job as a writer, working from home, by the time my son started kindergarten, I still needed to be home for before and after school. We were financially stable, so this was doable. That was, until we got a divorce.
The divorce happened last year, and although I was sad and feeling overwhelmed with all the changes, I have to admit that I was a little excited to finally have a reason to work outside of the home again. Living on my own made it a necessity, and since my son was in school full-time, I was able to work without the help of a sitter.
I found a job working the exact same hours my son was at school, and it worked out perfectly for several months. Then, the coronavirus hit and the whole world shut down. If I had known that the last Friday I worked back in March would be my last “real” workday, I would have savored it a little more.
I know some of you may find that statement absolutely ridiculous, and I get it. Working can really suck sometimes. Even if you totally love your job, it can be stressful. But going from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom gave me a sense of freedom and purpose again.
I loved the work friends I made. I loved what I did. For nearly a decade, my world revolved around taking care of my child and my home, and while I wouldn’t change those years for anything, I definitely lost a bit of myself in the process.
I think it’s common for stay-at-home moms to crave what working moms have, and for working moms to crave what stay-at-home moms have. If you’ve never been a stay-at-home mom, let me tell you, you really start to miss that adult interaction. Work friends are a real thing and they are absolutely wonderful. It’s a definite trade off to be able to spend that precious time with your children, but still miss that connection with other adults.
So here I am, back to being a stay-at-home mom. But now I’m a divorced stay-at-home mom who is also working full-time from home and doing remote learning. I mean, it just keeps getting better and better.
I know I’m not alone in this. Everyone’s lives have changed. Whether you’ve been an essential worker this whole time, lost your job, or started working from home, this pandemic has affected all of us. This “new normal” is anything but normal.
We all do what we have to do. We make money however we can because the bills need to be paid. We take care of our kids because they are little humans who rely on us. We lose our cool sometimes because the world has completely changed and none of us really know how to deal with it.
I’m doing this whole stay-at-home mom thing again because it’s just what needs to be done. I am able to work from home and have my son participate in remote learning, and I am very grateful for that, but I still miss the job I had to leave in order to do that.
There will likely come a time when I will work out of the home again, so for now I’m going to savor these extra moments with my child that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. I’m going to try to embrace being a stay-at-home mom again, even though it was not a part of the original plan.
If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught me, it’s that you can make plans and stress about those plans all you want, but when it comes down to it, life is going to throw you some major curve balls. Whether it be something as big as a pandemic and a divorce, or as small as a new layout at your favorite grocery store, you have to just roll with the punches.
What we have planned for ourselves isn’t always what life has planned for us. Right now, life wants me to be a stay-at-home mom again. While I thought this stage of my life was over, I’m going to make the best of the second time around.
I will always believe that stay-at-home moms have one of the toughest jobs around. Their paycheck consists of lollipop kisses and piles of Dreft-scented laundry. It is one of the most undervalued professions there is. Shaping tiny humans into adults and sending them out into the world to succeed and conquer is no small feat.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Many stay-at-home moms do it all on their own. I know, because I’m one of them. To all of the stay-at-home mamas- whether by choice or by necessity — know that your job is essential. In fact, it’s probably the most essential job in the world.