Our next guest writer went from being a working mom to a stay at home mom in the blink of an eye due to the pandemic. I know so many out there wonder what this transition is like and I am so grateful we have someone willing to share her story. Everyone, meet Samantha! Below is her story as a stay at home mom.

When my now-husband and I were dating, we were intentional about discussing what the future might look like.  We talked about careers and future careers and future family and even future work life balance and priorities. We touched on the fact that we both wished to be as present as possible in the lives of our children and that I had hoped to be able to work part-time or stay home and raise my babies one day.

Fast forward to 2016, we get engaged,married, and buy our first home. Our son was born in 2018 and, at 3 months, we tearfully dropped him off at his first day of daycare. He did great! His teachers loved him and we loved getting pictures of him with his cute little buddies and the adorable painted footprint art projects. My husband and I shared the responsibility of drop-off and pick-up. We were in a groove!

I don’t want to sugar coat it. There were definitely hard days (weeks? months?). There were days when our baby was sick and we had meetings to attend. There were evenings when calls ran over or traffic was horrible and we were late to pick-up.  It certainly wasn’t easy. We missed a few milestones and felt guilty for being exhausted after work when it was our only time with him. The weekends were precious and we soaked in every minute.

When we found out we were pregnant again, we discussed the possibility of me staying home with two. We figured we would get our daughter on the waitlist for daycare and sort the rest out once she was here. We were due June 2020 and couldn’t wait for her arrival!

Cue: COVID-19.

Also Cue: Me being furloughed.

I remember getting the call. It was St. Patrick’s day. “You are being temporarily furloughed due to the pandemic.” I mean, it made sense. I planned conferences and my workload for the past 10 days had basically consisted of clients frantically calling to cancel or reschedule their meetings. But then, why was I so sad? I had wanted to stay home with our growing family and now there was no decision that had to be made. Here I was, a stay at home mom with even a little extra “time off” with our oldest to soak it all in before baby sister arrived! What perfect timing.

Day 1: Make homemade play dough. That was a bust.

Day 2: Order craft supplies on Amazon. Spent a small fortune.

I instantly felt so much pressure to be the crafty mom and the chef mom and the musical mom and also have our house meticulously cleaned and organized.  I spent every nap time searching the internet for an activity we could do that week or setting up a craft for us to do once he woke up. It was exhausting and honestly, I wasn’t having fun. And I felt guilty that I wasn’t having fun!  Then one day, it rained. And we had huge puddles in our backyard.  We went out in rain boots and he stomped in puddles for what felt like hours. He was belly laughing and soaking wet and having so much fun. And I was laughing and having so much fun too! That’s when it clicked. This was how it was going to be.

The blessing of me getting to “stay home” was that my children were going to get to “stay home”. It totally shifted my mindset. We weren’t going to have to rush out the door each day.  We didn’t need a curriculum or agenda.  I was sure they would learn their ABCs, eventually.. I realized I didn’t need to do a daily craft or know all the nursery rhymes or have a seasonal sensory box constructed. I just needed to create a space where my children could play and have fun and we could learn how to do this whole “growing up thing” together.

Admittedly, this has been hard as a bit of a perfectionist, type-A planner. It was a big transition from days filled with sales goals and event run-of-shows to hanging out with a 1.5 year old tiny boss. But we made it! And now I have 3 tiny shadows that make me laugh and force me to slow down. They have made me a more patient and content person. I have never felt more loved, but I also have never used more dry shampoo.

Do I get stir crazy sometimes? Yes.

Are there moments I think I will lose my marbles if they ask me for one more snack or to change their outfit for the seventh time that day? Yes.

Are there times I feel like a sweaty camp counselor and then I see a mom drive by in a pretty work dress with her hair done and I feel a pang of jealousy? Yes.

But as “they” say, the days are long but the years are short. I feel so lucky to get to soak it all in. I know I will cherish this season of life but also, if you see me in the Starbucks drive-thru buying a $7 drink and bribing my children with cake pops… we are just surviving over here.