From Registered Nurse to Stay-At-Home Mom

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stay-at-home mom
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Two months ago, I had my last day at work. As a hospital nurse for seven years, the hospital was my second home. It was a bittersweet saying goodbye. I didn’t set out to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to work throughout my children’s lives, and that’s what I did for several years. I worked part-time while my husband worked full-time. Life changed. We had two kids. A global pandemic hit. My husband went to grad school. Through it all, I held onto my job. It felt like I was holding onto kids’ putty that was slipping out of my hands. I switched my schedule, hoping that would help. I worked less hours. Yet, I was barely holding it together.

Driving to work at 6:30 am one morning, I started to question everything. I had been up nursing my baby that night, only to wake up at 5:30 to go to work. We had just survived a bout of sickness. This was a common scenario at that time. On that chilly morning, the fog hitting my windshield, I asked myself, “Is it better to let go than to hold on?” This question echoed in my head. It echoed in my head as I went about my day in the hospital, in pain because I had gone several hours without pumping, a common issue breastfeeding nurses face. Area hospitals are short-staffed. “Is it better to let go?” It echoed in my head as I woke up the day after a 13-hour shift, my body aching, gathering up the strength to get up and get my preschooler ready for school.

In the silence and in the noise, I knew the answer. It was time to let go. This is not a sad story of a mom who could no longer work. My husband supported me in working. My voice is among many voices of women—the voices of women who say no to the idea that we have to do it all. There’s a growing population of stay-at-home moms. Many moms didn’t return to work after the pandemic. I wonder if we may return to the 1950s when few women worked.

I have felt a tremendous peace in letting go. I now wake up and look at the week ahead, excited to plan our days and enjoying flexibility I have never had (within the confines of nap time and bedtime). I’ve even started running, something I haven’t done in years. My baby is my companion, riding in the jogging stroller as I run. I know other women have similar experiences because I’ve read their stories. I share my story because I was afraid, too. I was afraid to let go of the title of a registered nurse. Afraid of what my new identity would be. It’s been two months since I left the workforce, and I can honestly say I’m glad I did. There may be a time when I return to work. For now, I am enjoying my sweet babies and bringing back the parts of myself I had forgotten.

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