Today I finally, officially ended my Maternity Leave and resigned from my full time job. I talked to my boss on the phone, wrote and sent my resignation letter and it's done. Now all there's left to do is a bunch of tedious paperwork, but it's a relief that it is all final and out in the open.
Before I was pregnant I didn't think that I would want to be a stay-at-home mom, (SAHM). When I was pregnant I started to consider the option, but still didn't really picture it. After having my son, I went through the motions of calling daycares, in preparation for returning to work. I considered if I wanted to return to the same job or try something else in the company or work somewhere else entirely.
About half way through my Maternity Leave it dawned on me, as I thought and thought and planned, that going back to work, wasn't going to work for me now. I didn't tell most people though, because it wasn't a final decision. It was almost like I wanted a door left open just in case I changed my mind. It became more and more difficult to picture the new daily routine of returning to work and not being with my son during the day.
The best way I can sum it all up is that I realized I could probably do a job outside the home and be a mom, but I couldn't do them well. It was a personal decision, and everyone's is different, but this was mine.
Throughout my year of Maternity Leave there were habits that were part of my daily routine. They were so routine that I didn't even think of them before. When I finally decided not to return to work, I thought of 6 daily habits that I'm happy are no longer a part of my life right now.
1. No small talk or elevator chats: I'm surprised at how bad I've become at small talk now. It must be because for a year the majority of my day is with my son. Although I try to talk to him all the time and narrate what I'm doing, it's not like talking to adults. Now when I'm at any event with adults where I have to start conversations it's more challenging to think of topics and keeping the rhythm of the conversation going. I'm glad I don't have to stutter through those elevator chats when I'd get stuck with my boss, or bosses' boss and try to think of something witty to say.
2. Being "on" all the time: When I was in the office it felt like 9 hours of being "on". I didn't feel like I could truly be myself, and I always felt on edge. Someday's I found this really exhausting and I know not everyone feels this way, but I definitely did. It was a feeling that at any moment some major issue would come up and I'd have to be ready to tackle and solve it right away. Sometimes I feel that with my son too, that I can't relax because I'm always watching him and making sure he's not getting into any trouble. The difference is I feel like I can be myself, however wacky that is and I won't be judged.
3. No heels: I used to wear heels in the office all the time, especially when wearing a suit. During my commute to work and on my lunch hour I loved taking off my heels and slipping into more comfy shoes like Birkenstocks. Since I wore heels daily I got used to it though, even though many of them hurt my feet. Now, I'm almost always in flats and other comfy shoes and enjoying it a lot more. When I have to put heels on for a special event it really takes getting used to again.
4. No ironing: I used to have to iron my clothes for work almost daily, depending on what I was wearing. I hated it. I hated it so much I bought a handheld steamer that made it easier to steam out wrinkles while your clothes were anywhere - on the back of a chair, on the bed, etc. My steamer stopped working around the time I started my Mat Leave, a sign perhaps? Recently I had to iron a pair of pants and was thankful this isn't a daily task anymore. The ironing daily task has been replaced with many different mommy-related tasks.
5. Warm breakfast and lunches: I have to say, I'm a sucker for a warm and substantial breakfast or lunch everyday. When I was working I'd try to make a warm breakfast before I left at least a few times a week. Lunch was harder, so I'd bring in frozen dinners or get something from the food court about once a week. Now it's a treat to be able to try new recipes and have a warm lunch anytime my son will cooperated long enough for me to whip one up.
6. Commuting: Commuting, this I don't miss. I used to have to illegally park my car in the overflowing train station parking lot, just so I could take the overpriced and overcrowded train. Now there is talk that the train company may charge monthly fees for the privilege to park there, making it more expensive to commute downtown. Trekking from the train station on my 15 minute walk both ways among the crowded streets won't be missed either. I find it harder and harder to sit in traffic now too, especially when my son is in the car and might have a meltdown at any moment.
Does a year, a habit make? A year doesn't sound like a long time but it is. Many of my old habits have slowly died. They've been replaced with habits that all centre around my son, and I am thankful for that. I'm blessed to be able to stay home with him for now and decide what I want to do next in terms of work. Once in a while it is fun to go back downtown and remember "the old days", because some of those days were good. But, these days, even the frustrating days with my son are better than any bad day I ever had at the job I left behind.