There was a point in time about two months ago where I made a decision not to go on a business trip because I didn’t have to, and things would be so much easier at home if I didn’t go.
I passed onÂ a golden opportunity to shine in front of senior managementÂ so that I could helpÂ my husband set up my son’s ginormous plastic kitchen.Â The moment I made that decision, I felt the weight of all the mommy guilt I’ve ever known lifted off of my shoulders and I was as happy as I’ve ever been since I had my son.
I knew then that the working thing just wasn’t going to work anymore.
There also was a point in time two days ago, after having SpaghettiO’s hurled at me (I experienced a whole new meaning to “uh oh, SpaghettiO’s”), when I read a client e-mail that said, “too bad you’re leaving us, we’re really going to miss you” and thought, “what the hell did I just do?”
The working thing wasn’t working anymore, but would the stay-at-home mom thing work better?
I think so.Â But if you’re neurotic and nervous like me you can never know if you’re making the “right” decisions.Â All I could do, I told myself, was weigh all the options (including not being able to buy everything on winter sale right now) and do what my gut told me.Â That I want to retreat from corporate America and stay home with my son.Â
With no regrets.
Some people may think I’m making a huge mistake.Â Others may peg me as part of the opt-out revolution, justÂ wasting my hard-earned degrees.Â I’m going to think of myself as semi-retired.Â Taking an extended honeymoon from conference calls, deadlines (of the client imposed kind), performance reviews, management headaches and just about anything that forces me to dial in, strategize, plan or “noodle.” (G-d I HATE that last word.)
Instead, in my retirement, I’m going to put on makeup when I want to, eat breakfast with my son every morning, hang out at Gymboree and catch up on the latest style of sneakers (how’s that for stereotyping!?) I’m going to figure out how to fill my days with playdates, home cooking, story time and lots of cuddling.Â I’m hoping I can turn around my son on that last one.Â He’s not so into cuddling.
I’m not going to wither away into Wisteria Lane, though.Â I’ve still got a few things up my sleeve.Â But I’m going to say no to the distractions that were making me feel that I was doing neither the mom nor the work thing well.Â I’m going to stop juggling, and balancing, and doing whatever it is that was barely keeping my head above water for the last 17 months. And the thing is, as I enter my last day as a working mom,Â I feel more optimisticÂ about my future career plans, whatever they are or aren’t,Â than I ever have.Â
I know that I’m extremely lucky and fortunate and blessed to have this opportunity and I’m not going to take it for granted. I’m going to seize it and channel my inner Bree Van de Kamp.Â No! I’m not setting performance goals for myself anymore.Â I’m just going to be me.Â Mom of a toddler, wife of a lawyer.Â
With no regrets.