My first day back at work after my maternity leave was like a breath of fresh air. The six weeks I had spent away had been filled with sleep deprivation, the stress of new motherhood and lots and lots of crying (from the twins and from me). For at least four of those six weeks I felt like my life and myself had been sucked from me and going back to work was a welcomed break. I felt horribly guilty for these feelings (mother guilt is awful isn't it?), but thought perhaps I was just one of those women who was a better mom when she had a break from her kiddos for a little while.
But as my boys continued to grow, when they started to smile at me and the wonder of new discoveries started to shine in their eyes, it got harder and harder to go to work each day (even though I was only in the office three days a week). Motherhood started to become something I enjoyed and meeting the needs of our household (cooking, cleaning and being a helpmate to Devin) became something I longed to do more than ever before. I also began to realize that eventually, the meals, the baby-sitting and the extra help that friends and family had so generously lavished on us after the twins' birth would eventually dwindle and somehow I would have to mange my family responsibilities and my full-time job all on my own. It would be too much and I knew it.
But "Jen the Designer" was such a huge part of my identity. It was who I was and how I introduced myself to people. (Okay I didn't actually say, "Hello, I'm Jen the Designer," - pretentious much? - but you know what I mean.) Being a graphic designer at an agency was a "cool kid's" job and I was good at it. But now I had this competing identity of "Jen the Mom" that, while I resented at times, was becoming more and more important to me. At the same time, I was afraid that "Jen the Mom" would completely swallow up any other identifying qualities that I had and I would completely loose myself.
Then there was the money issue - how could we double the size of our family and half our income? We'd always been frugal, but by choice, not by necessity. There is a big different between the two. Plus, I felt huge guilt at the thought of quitting my job and putting the full financial burden on Devin's shoulders. That is, until Devin (who watched the twins on Mondays) was just about at the end of his rope as "Mr. Mom" and I asked him, "Which would be less stress on you - finding another part-time job or staying home with the babies on Mondays so I can still work?" Without hesitation he replied, "Finding another part time job. Jen, you are a better mom than I am."
So, after a few more weeks of wrestling with my guilt and identity issues, I put in my resignation at work. Starting February 1st, I will have the blessing and honor of switching careers to become a full time mom and wife. I will also be able to assist Devin more with his photography business and pick up some freelance design work here and there. My heart is so full of joy at this decision and while I know it will mean some sacrifices, adjustments and changes, I'm confident that it will be worth it and will be something Devin and I will never regret doing.
The day I finally decided to quit my job, I came across this quote and it made my decision firm: "If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. No one said it would be easy, they only promised that it would be worth it."