I am now in my 6th month as a stay at home mom. We have embraced the new way of life. My life of working all the time, missing the kids, and feeling guilty all the time for doing anything but work or be with the kids seems like a million years ago. I think I have really adjusted from being an attorney to SAHM life and want to show how you can embrace being a stay at home mom.
About Me: Attorney to SAHM
As a brief background, I was an attorney for 10 years. I have a 4 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. With each pregnancy, I took a long maternity leave (6 months, which I know is much more than most people get), and then I returned to work. My children went to daycare, which was a great experience. My son flourished and I think has learned so much at daycare in terms of education and how to interact with other kids. My daughter was doing well socially but was sick constantly. I was at the pediatrician almost every single week for months.
Even when both of my children were in daycare, I was spending all of my time doing one of three things: working, taking care of my kids or sleeping. That was it. I didn’t have quality time with my husband, I never saw my friends, my house was a mess, and I was exhausted all of the time. My days became a cycle of work, kids and sleep. I felt guilty when I was awake for not spending time with my kids or catching up on work. I had no time to pursue the many hobbies I am interested in.
I loved being an attorney, even with the many stresses of the job. However, with the type of law I practiced, I had a lot of night meetings to attend. This meant I spent a lot of time away from my children and husband, I worked all day then went to meetings at night. During the pandemic, a lot of the meetings took place by Zoom, so I was home, but locked away in my office during my kids dinner time and bedtime routines. I was missing quality time with my family.
I liked my job, I had a wonderful husband and amazing children but I was incredibly unhappy. It was time for a change.
On December 1st, I started my new life as a SAHM. This has continued to be a big transition, and in Month 2 I dealt with different and unexpected challenges.
I feel like I need to have a short disclaimer here- I am not advocating for anyone to become a stay at home parent. This is just my experience and why I made the decision to stay at home. There are so many factors for you to consider in making this decision and figuring out what is best for your family. There may be a time when I go back to being a working mom, but for now, this is the right thing for my family.
Do I miss being an Attorney?
I do miss being an attorney. I worked hard to build my career, made a lot of sacrifices, and really dedicated myself to building a name of myself. There are many aspects of being an attorney I did not love, but I did love the actual practice of law and the niche area of the law I worked in. Building a name of myself in the industry I was in involved a lot of non legal work- like attending networking events, speaking at seminars and publishing articles about topics in the field was something I focused a lot on during the last few years in addition to the actual legal. I miss that aspect of the job because it was fun.
But, I think what I miss the most was getting to yell at other adults about things and have them actually listen to me. My current clients (also known as my children, ages 1 and 4) do not listen to me and do not care what I have to say. But seriously, it was exciting to know about an area of the law so well that I could speak about it endlessly with clients or people at seminars.
For very superficial reasons, what has become difficult to handle is the question “what do you do.” Saying I am a SAHM has felt weird. Yes, I am a SAHM and it is both an amazing, lovely privilege and a ton of work, but I have worked and built a career. For years being an attorney is what defined me. I am more than just a SAHM and have felt like I need to give my resume out to people who have asked “what do you do.”
But I realize that feeling of wanting to explain I am a SAHM- but also an attorney on break- is simply not necessary. Being a SAHM does not in any way take away from the 3 years I studied hard in law school or the 10 years I worked to build my career as an attorney working late hours, weekends, prepping for trials or researching some new problem for a client.
I am proud to be a SAHM and loving all of the little moments I get with my kids now. There is no shame in being a SAHM and I do not need to ever explain my past career.
Real Life Tips to stay sane.
As an attorney who was used to working a ton (literally) hours a day to being a stay at home mom, the hours are actually the same, but the mental stimulation is different. I miss the mental stimulation of work, the social aspect of being in the office or meeting with clients and the constant learning that goes along with the career.
Now, as a SAHM I do not have hours to spend learning a new language or studying up on something I just find interesting. I am still in survival mode with a one year old and four year old. I have to keep my mind from going crazy. This list of things I do every day to stay sane may seem simple, but honestly, you need to hear these things and follow them.
- Get dressed every day. Do not stay in your pjs. Get up, get dressed and start the day. I even like to put on a little make-up. I like how I look with a little make-up and feel good. Now, some days I do get up before the kids to workout. I know days I get up early and workout before the kids get up are always great- I feel good, I am awake and feeling ready when they are up, and the entire day goes more smoothly. Getting dressed these days is yoga leggings, but I am not in my pjs. Getting dressed before the kids means I am ready to go when they get up for whatever we do that day!
- Have a hobby. Any hobby. Reading (even if a page a day and/or a cheesy romance novel). Learn a language (use an app for quick lessons). Garden. Baking. Pick something, or try out a bunch of things to find your own special thing. I think this is key- have your own “thing” that you do just for you and by yourself. It can (and realistically may only be) something you spend 5 minutes a day doing before bed.
- Always be learning. I am trying to learn Spanish- I want to continue to grow and learn even if I am not in the practice of law (which involved constant learning). I am working through an App on my phone to learn Spanish. Realistically, 5 minutes a day is a lot with two young kids at home. I work on the App every single day, I think I am making some progress- and I am continuing to learn and challenge myself. I am sure there are studies out there about the importance of stimulating your brain health or to expand your knowledge of the world/culture/your horizons. When you are a SAHM your world can be limited- your daily life may just revolve around your kids- but if you are learning something, anything new each day, you are expanding your little world a little.
- Always be willing to meet new people. Outside of work, I have not always been great at meeting new people. So I am taking the old phrase young lawyers were told when job hunting- “always be networking” to my new life as a SAHM. I have talked to different parents at the grocery store or story time at the library- and I have learned so much. I found out about a dance class at another local library and about an inspect museum I never heard of that I think my son will have a blast. So the same advice I used to follow as a young attorney works as a SAHM.
Have you recently transitioned to a stay at home mom? Please share your tips for this big transition!
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