Two months ago, I decided to leave my job. My husband and I decided we were at a point that I could stay at home if I wanted to. I took some time to think about this before I made the decision that I was ready to stay at home while my children are small. Why was this such a hard decision for me to make? I am a nurse practitioner here in town. I have worked as an NP for nine years, and prior to that, I was a nurse for four. I work most days of the week, sometimes weekends, and a holiday every now and then. I take night calls a few times a month. I love my job. I love helping people and I love that I am constantly learning. Since having my second child though, I have felt more of a pull to stay at home. I have had a feeling that the job to have right now is being a mom. This has been terrifying for me.
For many working moms, our identities are wrapped up in our “outside” jobs versus our “at home” jobs. When people ask what we do, we spout out our career. Most of the time, we don’t even mention “mom” in our list of job duties. Even though we all know that being a mom is a full-time job with overtime. At our day jobs, we are calling the shots and making the big decisions, and we are doing this with confidence and ease. We have gone to school for years or we have worked our way up into our position. We know what we are doing, and we are doing it well. Then, we leave our day jobs and come home to our second jobs. The second job is dirtier, more chaotic, and exhausting. Our second job is unpaid and many days, our hard work goes unnoticed. This job came with no training, no schooling. There wasn’t an orientation period. We are guessing the next move and hoping for the best outcome. Maybe this is why we don’t identify as moms first. Maybe this is why leaving my day job was a harder decision than I ever thought it was going to be. Leaving the ease of dropping my kids off to let someone care for them during the day to taking that responsibility on by myself.
So here I am, five days until my last day, and I’m wondering what will I be after Friday. I’m letting go of my one sure and confident identity as a nurse practitioner, and I’ll be taking on the solo identity of “Mom.” This will take some getting used to, but I’m ready to embrace it with open arms. I’m ready to put my career on hold and be available for my family. I’m ready for the sick days, the hard days, and the great days.
So, now when people ask what I do, I will say I’m a mom. For those working moms, I encourage you all to change your order on your career identity. Next time someone asks what you do, give yourselves the credit and say “I’m a mom and a (enter job title here).” Being a mom really is the more important of the two.