Once I quit my job, I thought my problems were solved. But it’s funny, because now I’m asking myself: Is the grass greener over here? Or over there? Surprisingly, I’m still not sure. I don’t have that answer. But, I can share 5 things I’ve learned since I quit my job.
A few years after my daughter was born, I started dreaming about quitting my job. Over the years, I have been envious of stay-at-home moms. I know. Envy is ugly. But I’m not perfect.
To be fully transparent with you; I was straight-up jealous. There’s a real truth bomb. From where I stood, it looked like they had it made.
I was fortunate for most of those years to work in a role where there was flexibility because I worked remotely. Still, the weight of trying to “do it all” was taking its toll. I felt stressed, anxious and spread thin. I didn’t feel like I had a good handle on anything.
But then, my husband took a promotion that moved us to a new town just a few hours away and allowed me to step back if I wanted to.
And believe me, I wanted to.
I Love Being at Home
So it’s been interesting, these past fifteen months. I love the flexibility I have now. I love that I can volunteer at my daughter’s school without potential work conflicts, or travel back home to help my parents at a moment’s notice.
When a friend comes to town at the last minute, I don’t have to ask off at work. If my husband wants to utilize some paid-time off, I don’t have to worry about my schedule. I’m free as a bird. These things are priceless.
Some things, though, have surprised me. Some things that I never expected:
It’s Lonely Sometimes
I’m truly an introvert, so it seems strange to say that, but I’m actually lonely. I do love alone time. It’s how I get my energy and recharge my batteries. Still, I miss conversations and connections. Also, I miss laughing with other people.
Even though “peopling” can be taxing at times, I do miss collaboration and working towards a unified goal. I miss using my brain to solve a problem or help a client. I miss being part of a team, where you can laugh about frustrations, build each other up, or drown your sorrows together over lunch or even a happy hour.
I’m Still Disorganized
It’s shameful, really. Initially, I thought my house would be clutter-free. I thought my days would run smoothly. I believed I would get errands done once a week, make breakfast with love each morning, always have the laundry done and keep everything in its place all time.
But no. Bills still pile up. I am forever running “back to the store” for something I forgot. (And yes, I make lists.) The house is not spotless. I’m not saying it’s worse than when I worked full-time, but I’m not sure it’s better, either.
Losing Weight is Still Hard
So, yeah. For years, I told my husband that if I just had the free time to plan and prep healthy meals and work out during the day, I would be in awesome shape. I thought that having this free time would make it easier.
Turns out, time isn’t my biggest obstacle. It’s my motivation and discipline. I work out. I eat healthily. Just not consistently enough. I’ve had to accept and face the fact that I am simply not doing the work. That’s the problem. It’s not about time. It’s about my choices.
Sometimes, I Feel Lost
That’s not necessarily to say I’m bored. But I do find myself feeling anxious because I’m not doing “more.”
What am I doing with my life? I keep feeling like there should be more. More of what? I’m not sure that I have put my finger on that yet. Fulfillment? Success? Impact?
I keep feeling like I’m not living up to my full potential. In fact, I know I’m not. But I don’t know what living up to my potential looks like at this point in my life.
My daughter is in school from 9 to 4. I want to be available to take her to school. I want to be here when she gets home. I want to be fully present to talk with her about her day, fix her a snack and get her going on homework while I start dinner.
That’s important to me and why I’m being selective about if and when I go back to work. So I have before and after covered. I’m here. I’m present. But those hours in between, when she’s at school, those are the hours where I struggle.
I Still Feel Guilty
I used to feel guilty for working. I used to feel guilty because I felt like I was falling short as a wife and mom.
I felt guilty for being distracted by the stresses that come with working in higher pressure jobs. I yearned for a life where I didn’t have to worry about outcomes and missing goals.
I wanted a life where I could wear yoga pants every day and leisurely wander the Target aisles with a Starbucks chai tea latte.
Then, I got my chance. I jumped on it. In doing so, I walked away from a significant income. It’s not necessary for me to make that money anymore, but I a) miss making money and b) feel guilty that I don’t.
I feel guilty when we have to say “no” to some things because we don’t have that second income. I feel guilty when I know a second income would pay for more experiences and do more for us as a family.
Because, who can’t use more income?
And about wearing those yoga pants in Target? I’ve found that while I enjoy wearing yoga pants, I’m bummed that I’m not able to leisurely wander the Target aisles with a Starbucks chai tea latte. Because, when I wonder around Target, I spend more. (Back to my point about more money.)
When I was a working mom, I felt like I was screwing it all up. Guess what?
I still feel like I’m screwing it all up.
(Okay, maybe not everything. But some things.)
There are still bedtime battles and morning melt-downs. I still lose my sh@!.
I don’t cook amazing meals and I’m still really freaking tired.
I still feel overwhelmed. It’s just a different overwhelm. Where I used to feel overwhelmed about having less time, now I just feel overwhelmed about having less money and not accomplishing things.
What I’m learning since quitting my job is that there is always a trade-off.
Time or money? Money or time? Experiences and things? Or peace and presence?
Is the grass greener over here or over there?
That’s a good question. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.