Seven years ago my colleagues went back to work for the first day of school and I didn’t. I was briefly distracted by the city of New Orleans being underwater and our abysmal reaction to that tragedy. But then, a few months in I began to feel an emptiness I hadn’t anticipated. When I quit teaching, it was not just stay at home with my babies, but to continue building the business I had successfully launched a year prior. I had a job, even though I was home with kids. So why did I miss my old job so much? It was a strange sensation and one that never fully went away each September 1st, but I learned to live with it then as I adapted to my new life as work at home mom.
I never considered myself a stay at home mom. For seven years I have worked doing something. In the beginning I sold cosmetics and managed a team of women who did the same. Then we moved and I started to write. It was for pittance mostly, but it was still work that someone was counting on me to do. Now, I still write and I edit am starting down the road of entrepreneurship again. I still wouldn’t call myself a stay at home mom. Yes, I’ve been home with my kids, but never as my sole responsibility.
Why then does if feel like I just got laid off from my job on this eve of Kindergarten First Day? Why do I feel like I have no idea what my purpose is anymore from 8-4 every day? I have a job. I have a few jobs actually and I still feel like I have no idea what to do at 8:01 Wednesday morning.
Of course, there is plenty to do. The house still needs maintaining, the business needs marketing, the writing needs written, but it all feels off now that I’m doing it alone. I wasn’t prepared for this. I’ve never been a stay at home mom. (Have I said that already?) I’ve always had to juggle my work around the kids at my feet and I thought I was looking forward to NOT having to do that anymore.
So why am I so sad?
For ten years I have had another reason to exist. For seven years I have had at least one of those reasons on or attached to my hip during most of my daily tasks. Now that my partners in crime are off doing bigger and better things, everything I have to do feels…terribly lonely.
Motherhood: the job from which, if you do it really well, you are inevitably let go.
As of Wednesday, my hours will be cut and I’m going to need some time to recover.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.