Trading a Career for Mommyhood: 5 Power Tips

By Guest Blogger Brooke Menoni

I used to think I had the life. I was a Fashion Director for a national magazine, had private drivers, hair and spa treatments that were paid for, a closet full of designer shoes, front row seats to New York’s Fashion Week, celebrity filled parties and a pay check to match.

But, although from the outside my life seemed exciting and glamorous, it was filled with anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, and a constant need to prove myself to a group of people I cared little about. I knew deep down that this was not the path I was put on this earth to travel and I continually lived in angst trying to figure it all out.

About two years ago, while pregnant with my daughter and a 10 month old at home, our company announced that, due to the economy, our magazine would cease publication that week. While my counterparts around me cried tears of fear and grief, I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

You see, that very morning, I gave up trying to figure it all out. While walking to work, I prayed to God to clearly show me if this career was what I should be doing. Less than twenty minutes later, I was out of a job by no choice of my own and left to take a new road.

For the next two months I struggled turning down jobs I knew were great opportunities but knowing my heart wasn’t in it. When I searched my soul I knew I simply wanted to be at home loving my son with everything I had but, because I had spent so many years trying to please everyone but myself, I didn’t feel I deserved to do what I wanted to do.

One day while on the phone with my brother he said something that changed my life. He said, “Brooke, you have the rest of your life to work but, you’ll never get this time back with your kids.” At that moment I knew, I could continue working in a field that brought me material, surface satisfaction or, I could do something my heart longed to do and choose to take the path unknown.

I chose to take the path unknown and, two years later, I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have ever made.

It has been a struggle to feel security and love in a job that doesn’t deliver a pay check, there is no potential for bonuses and awards, and rarely gets a pat on the back. But, it has challenged me to look inside myself for inner peace and security instead of depending on outside sources that will never be able to deliver it.

My life no longer includes Prada shoes, perfectly manicured hands, extravagant dinners and being certain of what the next day will hold.

Instead, my life is full of adventure, exploration and discovery.

 

Finding true joy in the little things,

Realizing that fears I had buried deep inside are not so scary once brought to the surface,

Discovering that life is truly filled with rainbows but you have to brave the storms to find them,

And, being OK with just being us and just being me. Because there’s truly no other way to be.

Do I miss my old, fabulous life? Every once in a while but, then, I’m brought back to reality with giggles. And not just my kids’ giggles but, my own because, although I still have challenging days that make me second guess myself, I know I’m traveling the path I was meant to take all along. And I’m excited to see where it takes me next.

 

5 tips that have helped me make the transition from career woman to Domestic Multitasker:

1.  Put your oxygen mask on first.

It is one of the most important operational flight rules and with good reason. If Mommy isn’t taken care of, baby won’t be taken care of.

Don’t neglect yourself. I have a standing pedicure appointment with myself every two weeks and my husband knows he’s on daddy duty. It’s an hour away from my family but I come back a happier mommy. I also wake up an hour and a half before my kids so I can be guaranteed a nice, hot shower, an uninterrupted full cup of steaming coffee and time to do something I love most–read.

You might not be a morning person but carve out time for yourself every day even if its just five minutes. (I give you permission to let your kids watch Gabba gang one more time if it allows you a to catch up on your favorite magazine!)

2.  Speak up.

Many friends have said that they envy my husband because he is a very hands-on dad and will take the kids out on weekends so I can have time alone. But, that didn’t just happen because he read my mind, I spoke up for myself and told him my needs. (This also requires a husband that will listen!)

I feel strongly that parenting is a partnership. Our husbands have a requirement to do their part but, we are guilty if we harbor unresolved feelings and don’t speak up for what we need! And part of this is also asking what their needs are and making sure we are doing our part too.

In addition, ask friends for help. My husband and I live many miles from our families so we have to rely on good friends to help us out and it always makes us feel good to return the favor!

3.  Be careful who you surround yourself with.

My friend Suzanne gave me some great advice that was passed along to her. If you are the only one of your friends whose child is not sleeping through the night then you need to get new friends!

Life is too short to be a competition. Mommies need friends who will build them up and be a support system, not make each other feel inadequate.

4.  Stay connected.

Once you do find good friends, stay connected. If we only picked up the phone to call a friend when the kids weren’t screaming, dinner was made or we weren’t feeling frazzled, we’d never call anyone!

Wouldn’t it be nice if your girlfriend called and said, “Hey, I only have two seconds, I really want two minutes to talk but I just didn’t want to let any more time go without saying I’m thinking about you and miss you. OK, gotta run but sending you a big hug and, if I could afford it, lunch and a spa day just for the two of us!”

Makes you smile right? Stay connected not just for your friends but for yourself too. They need it just as much as you do.

5.  We choose our own way.

Just like you, I don’t want to experience pain and misfortune but, without them, we would also never know the real triumphs and joys (a.k.a rainbows) of life.

Through trials, both big and small, I have learned that I have no control over the events that take place in my life but, we all have full control over how we will respond to and learn from them. And, more times than not, that means being a little more creative in our thinking.

–Brooke Menoni

I’d love to know your thoughts on this topic? Did YOU trade a career in for motherhood? Are you currently a working mom and dreaming about being a stay-at-home mom? How do we figure out the right path for ourselves? What do you do if you are working out of necessity and not choice? What then? Share with our community.

xoxEDxox

30 Comments
  1. I really loved this post. I threw in the towel on my OWN BUSINESS a few years agpo. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I gave up a lot for my kids, but don’t regret it for one moment. I have since reinvented myself, and rediscovered my passion for writing. Sometimes it’s hard to take the leap of faith, but a risk worth taking. 🙂

    1. I enjoyed this post as well. I, too, left my job (after close to 20 years in the work force) to be home with my children, who at the time were 12 and 9 and the eldest was beginning high school. Three years later I am still home and do not regret making that decision. Ella

  2. This blog post hit so close to home. I left working away from home after 8 years, just a few months ago. I kept dreaming of the day I would have the opportunity to come back home & be a mom!
    We had to move to a new city to be able to do it this way, but I’m so grateful to be able to be home now. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I TRULY believe in all of the tips, especially #1 & #4! I make sure I have a 30-45 minute “timeout” bubble bath every night & since we moved to a new city/state, I email my best friend every day – & make time to chat too! It’s not always the easier “job” but it’s the most rewarding & I can’t imagine doing anything else! 🙂

  3. Love the post! So true! Although I am now a working mom, I once stayed home. It was great and I truly believe that duiring that time, I build a strong relationship with my sons. Both my sons understand that I now need (single mom) and want to work. When I am tired, they both look at me and say: mommy, go rest for a little bit. We can take care of ourselves. Love them soooooo much for that!

  4. Great post. I work from home, have a flexible job that is usually nice, but deep down really wish I didn’t have to. My heart breaks a little every time I take my kids and put their precious selves in someone else’s hands so Mommy can work. It’s very inspiring to read about women who managed to take that leap! Blessings on your beautiful family!

  5. Absolutely loved the blog.

    I was in the same position but while I was still single in London, England. Working a high flying executive job that required 18 hours of my day. I had no life – work, hotel, work, hotel 6 days a week.

    My closest friend called in October and said she hadn’t seen me since my birthday in May. It took me a few more weeks to decide that I didn’t want to do this anymore but because I had specialised myself in the field, I knew, if I went job hunting, I would end up in the same position again.

    So after handing in my resignation and pottering around for a month or so, I decided to travel to India. Something I had always wanted to do but never had the time. After convincing my university professor to write a letter stating that I was going there to work on my thesis, I got a 2 year visa and haven’t looked back since.

    I learned how to relax, something that was very hard for me. Then life took me on a completely different route. I learned the art of henna while I was backpacking and haven’t looked back since.

    The thought of working in an office is enough to send shivers down my spine.

    Since then, I got married, am a mum to two lovely boys, moved to Canada and living a very different life style to what I had ever imagined. I have the gift of spending time with the kids before and after school while they’re growing up. An opportunity I would never have had if I had continued with the corporate lifestyle.

    I love my life eve though it get hectic and busy during the summer but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  6. I hear this story a lot, and I appreciate it, but I’m also kind of amazed by it. I knew before having children that I was going to be the one to quit and spend the days with them… but it was too hard for me! I had to go back to work to save my sanity – kind of the opposite situation. So I’m always amazed when I hear smart women who actually choose to stay home and don’t go NUTS. I’d be interested to hear more on how you can color and play with paint and stay sane! I just find parenting to be mind-numbing.

    1. Thanks Cathy. And, I was always the mom who said “I’d NEVER want to stay at home” so I can relate to finding you sometimes figure out you really want to do the opposite of what you thought! I do believe that some moms are better working moms! Not everything is for everybody and I’m SURE you are an amazing mom. You are providing for your family and that says a lot. — I also get so much inspiration for activities online. If you have a few minutes to scour the web (Pinterest is a great place to start! I also have a number of activities on our family’s blog for bath time even.) you may find some fun things to do with your kids that don’t involve some things you’d rather not do (maybe getting messy and painting?). Keep doing what you’re doing and feel confident in knowing that, regardless of what anyone else believes, THIS is the right fit for YOU and your family! 🙂 Brooke
      http://mylittlehappies.blogspot.com

  7. An excellent piece many can relate to. Some of us choose, while others find the choice foisted upon them. As a former career woman who burnt herself out on 12-hour days for years, I was only too happy to take off my pumps and stay home with our only child. I ended up becoming the woman I’d feared – the stay-at-home, HOMESCHOOLING housewife! What a horrific thought, right?

    Wrong. I treasured the simplicity, fed my soul, bonded with our daughter and enjoyed every moment of re-discovering a part of life I would have otherwise missed. Today, our happy daughter’s a post-grad student & off on her own. I’m now a revived entrepreneur, doing exactly what I love: publishing children’s books & music, developing an animated sports character and sharing my thoughts with the rest of the world through my own Maura4u videos and blogs. I’m even authoring a book – Mastering the Art of Happiness.

    Had I not taken that time off to spend that “fearful” time at home with my daughter, I might never have found my otherwise elusive Life. Thank God for Burnout!

  8. I love this, in theory, but there is no way that many of us could afford it. I hear that we could “cut back” and “make sacrifices,” but alone my husband can’t pay the mortgage. It is very frustrating and why we don’t have children. 🙁

    1. I can imagine that must be very frustrating feeling that way and I wish I had good answers. 🙁 Would you consider being a working mom? I did it after my son was born–I only took the 12 weeks of maternity leave that my company granted and then went back to work. I honestly never thought I”d stay at home but, circumstances played out differently. I truly believe you can be a working mom and STILL be a terrific parent. It’s about the quality of time spent with your kids and not the quantity. 🙂 Best of luck to you! Brooke

      1. Thanks, Brooke, for the encouragement. We’re still tossing it around. If I can figure out how to work just part time, I think I’d do it. I’ve got to change something though because I don’t feel like there is enough left at the end of the day to give what I’d need to. Haven’t given up yet.
        Thanks.

  9. I too left a pretty fabulous job when I was pregnant with my first….now 5 months along with my third and don’t regret being a Professional Mommy the slightest bit! I’ve become a better person bc of it and will have memories worth more than any paycheck. You are an inspiration! xo

  10. I too left a pretty fabulous career when I was pregnant with my first…now expecting my third in 4 months and I have not the slights regret for becoming a professional Mommy! It has made me a better person and given me memories that are worth more than any paycheck. You are an inspiration! xo

  11. Brooke- I so enjoyed reading this post and seeing the pictures of your beautiful family! I think that it is so incredibly important in life for all people (men and women) to find their path and to have the courage to stay with it (working outside of the home, raising children, FT/PT, etc). I have found that this is one of the hardest decisions in a woman’s life and one that I constantly re-evaluate on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. As a part-time-outside-the-home-working Mom I sometimes feel like I get the best of both worlds. Maintaining my career which I love (and going to the bathroom alone sometimes!) and then being at home with my amazing little boys on a few other days a week. Less time at home often makes me a more focused and attentive Mom since I know that my time is divided in two worlds. Truth be told, when I am at work I sometimes wish I was at home and have deep regrets for missing any moments. But then on some days at home I think to myself that I wish it was a work day! There is no perfect answer and so often this choice is dictated by many other factors outside our control. I am so happy that you are able to make this choice and that you are living the life that you want. Thank you so much for writing about this and for giving some tips and thoughtful advice- much appreciated!

  12. I really enjoyed this post – Its what so many of us say we want to do, but instead, we end up afraid to take that first step. Big Kudos to you for not only stepping out for your beautiful family, but for yourself – for feeling the angst and doing it anyway. Keep inspiring!! and Hope to see another of your posts here again soon

  13. Great post! Every time we get together, it is evident how much thought you put in to planning whatever the event may be. Even if it is just to hang out. Your kids are awesome..you are awesome…and Dave is not so bad himself 🙂

  14. I loved reading about Brooke’s choice to be a full time mom. There are so many problems that children have to face today; having time with parents allows them to become “grounded” before they need to face the world alone.
    Brooke, keep up the good work; and keep the blog posts coming!

  15. Beautifully written and truly inspiring! Thanks for sharing and providing some very valuable tips that I’m sure we all could appreciate and learn from. Enjoy the journey, you’re an amazing mom!

  16. Brooke, this is an excellent piece and should be required reading for working moms and their husbands. You made the right choice – hopefully your kids will turn out as well as my daughter!

  17. Brooke, what an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing. The greatest gift is to be able to appreciate and experience all the good things life offers and to really feel lucky with what you have. Being fulfilled in both career and family is truly a blessing.

  18. What a beautifully written post Brooke! I found myself brought to tears while reading it to be honest. Whether you can afford to be a stay at home mom or not..family is what I truly cherish the most. You have balanced everything so well and I continue to be inspired.

  19. Excellent blog post. Thanks for sharing. I thought your brother’s advice was powerful! Also, this post helped me understand my wife’s transition from interior designer to full time Mommy.

  20. Brooke, you are so lucky to have that opportunity to stay home and be with your kids! I envy you! Your brother is right and having 3 kids of my own, I know they really do grow up so fast! I don’t thing this is a decision you can ever regret – the time you share with your kids is priceless and I’m sure they love every moment of it too!

  21. This is so inspiring and brought tears to my eyes as all of your posts do! Every mommy should read this whether she is staying at home with the kids or working. And I love the 5 tips….I’m going to try hard to follow them!

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