Recently, I’ve gone “back to work” which, for a lot of moms, is a huge deal. I put it in quotes because I’ve been working this whole time; actually, more than that. I’ve been a small business owner. However, I’ve now made the transition from working at home back to working a full time, 9 to 5 job. And while I enjoy my new employment, there are some not-so-enjoyable things that have gone along with it. This, I’m certain, is to be expected of any sort-of-major life change. My own emotions and process during the adjustment were one thing, but what I hadn’t expected was the feedback I’d be receiving from outsiders. So lets explore that, shall we? Yes, we shall.
Going back to work – from working at home to working full time: my transition back to the “normal” workforce, and the opinions I never saw coming.
For the past six months, my clothing boutique has allowed me to be a work-at-home parent. Let’s get one thing straight: I had never really even considered becoming a parent, much less becoming a parent who didn’t work a “normal job”, so this foray into quasi-SAHM territory was, at first, unsettling. (SAHM, for those of you who aren’t in any of the ridiculous mommy groups on Facebook, is short for ‘stay at home mom’.) But things happen, as they often do in life, and I like to consider myself fairly adaptable to new situations and obstacles.
Another thing I’d like to just say, for sure, is that working from home is not for the faint of heart.
It requires a very large amount of dedication, passion, and determination that – let’s be honest – some people just don’t have. If you don’t really truly enjoy what you do, you better not even try to do it from home. There is nobody there to check your work, to hold you accountable to deadlines, or to make sure you show up on time (or hell, even show up at all. Feel like taking fourteen straight days off? Why not?! There’s nobody around to tell you not to!). Fortunately for me, I 100% enjoyed running my own boutique, and did a pretty great job of it – if I do say so myself. (I do.)
However, as I said before, sometimes things happen in life that we aren’t expecting, and certain adjustments need to be made to keep the ship oriented and sailing smoothly. (I’m not sure why I’m using nautical references now, but let’s just go with it.) My most recent adjustment has been to accept a full time position with a pretty fantastic company and go back to work, and reenter the professional working world.
On a personal level, it took me a while to get used to the transition. I struggled for weeks with the heartache of not being able to work from home anymore; not being able to set my own hours, make my own decisions, or really immerse myself in the day to day happenings of my boutique business the way that I had been able to for the last six months. We constantly hear about how courageous and important it is to make it on your own, to break free from the shackles of corporate ladders and do something for yourself. Follow your passion, live your dream, BE YOUR OWN BOSS! I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t always work that way.
Gradually I’ve gotten over the initial heartbreak of losing the freedoms that working for myself once afforded me. And, interestingly enough, I’ve truly come to enjoy my new position just as much as I enjoyed working from home.
But let’s get to the part that I didn’t see coming, which was the complete and total outpouring of support and love from my friends, family, and community.
It was almost overwhelming. I’m not even sure why it was so unexpected. Maybe because I received so much support when I left my original full-time job to stay home and spend more time with my son. It’s possible that I believed that I wouldn’t be able to go back on everything I’d said and done and reenter the working world without some people looking down their nose at me. It felt like failure, like breaking a promise, like backing out of a bet. But now, I’m not sure why I ever felt that way. People have been coming out of the woodwork to wish me well and congratulate me. It might not sound like much, but honestly it has been incredible. I fully believe that I would not have been able to overcome the heartache of moving back into the workforce with such relative ease had it not been for the outpouring of love and support I encountered. And for that, I am truly and honestly forever grateful.
We don’t always see these major life changes coming. We don’t always have a good handle on reality (especially if you’re like me and prefer to live in best-case-scenario dreamland). Sometimes, these shifts catch us off guard and totally throw us for a loop. They can leave us reeling, and without a strong safety net to land on, we can really end up falling into an emotional abyss. I know that sounds dramatic, but whatever – it was true for me, and I know I can’t be the only one. So I guess the real point of this post is just to explain my situation a little bit better, and to say a big fat THANK YOU. Thank you to my friends both near and far, to my family who I love dearly, and to my community and supporters in my little corner of the internet. I would not be where I am right now if it weren’t for all of you.