Working Outside the Home :: Adjusting to My New Normal

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I walked into the house and called out “hello” to my husband and children. As I made my way into the kitchen, I smelled dinner cooking. There were completed homework papers on the table, the dirty dishes had been washed, and the boys’ lunchboxes cleaned out and ready for the next day of school. I made my way upstairs to yet another discovery. The laundry was almost done. Two loads were complete and one more was in the washing machine.

As I changed from my work clothes into my comfy clothes, I felt grateful that all those things had been completed. I was happy my husband had been able to get all of that done so I wouldn’t have to do it.

And yet, I also felt sad. 

I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would I be sad that my husband took care of all those things for me? After all, it’s less I need to do after getting home from working all day.

But, you see, that’s it right there. I’m working all day now…

I used to work from home. I absolutely loved it. There is nothing like setting your own work schedule and being able to take care of your kids and household all at once. I could work and do laundry at the same time. I got to drop off and pick up my kids from school. Coffee dates and playdates were still feasible. I know working from home isn’t for everyone. But for me, it was an ideal situation. 

Things are different now though. I recently got a new full-time job working in an office all day. It’s a regular nine-to-five kind of job. It’s a great job and will help our family financially. But it’s a whole new normal for me; for my entire family. 

My husband has really stepped up. He has always been incredibly helpful around the house, but since taking this job, he’s had to take on more responsibility. He works full-time as well, but his work schedule is a bit more flexible than mine. It allows him to drop off and pick up our boys from school. He helps them with their homework and gets dinner started. If laundry needs to be done, he’ll throw in a load or two before I get home. 

And I love that. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband who takes care of all of these things so that I don’t have to. 

But, truth be told, I kind of miss it. I miss the conversations with my boys in the car on the way to and from school. Even though it can sometimes get frustrating, I miss helping them with their homework. Cooking is one of my passions and so I miss making dinner every night too. And, really, I just miss all that time I got to spend with my family. 

Maybe it’s the control freak in me. But, then again, maybe not.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve partially built my identity around taking care of my family. Maybe it’s because it’s so heartbreaking to hear my six-year-old tell me that, “We don’t have enough time to play anymore since you’re working mommy.” 

It’s possible I just don’t know how to be a full-time working mom. After all, it’s been six years since I’ve worked full-time outside of the house. Maybe I’m just not one of those career moms who thrives working outside of the home

It could be that it’s because I’m just not used to it anymore. But, it’s my new normal. And like it or not, it’s here to stay. 

It’s going to take me a while to adjust to our new lifestyle. A long while perhaps.

But I’ll get there at some point. Until then, maybe I’ll ask my husband to save me a dish or two to wash. 

Are you a full-time working mom? How do you feel about it?

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