Ever since I stopped working for Big Tech, I found myself ever-stepping into a more traditional mom/wife role: I take my 2 boys to school and pick them up, I do ALL the cooking and the laundry and most of the cleaning, I handle 100% of the “school stuff,” I plan all of our trips and outings (this part is unchanged).
After 20+ years of being a ‘working mom,” now I’m a “not-so-much-working-mom.” The irony is not lost on me.
I have to say, I enjoyed the financial independence when I worked for a big corporation. If I wanted something, I bought it. When I was planning vacations, I never hesitated to upgrade to the “nicer” hotel - I knew we could afford it. For every major milestones, we celebrated at “fancy” restaurants, and didn’t look at prices.
In my less-than-financially-independent life….. I’ve become more aware. I book hotels when there’s a sale; I cook most days because, well, cooking is more economical than getting takeout (plus, it’s healthier), I decided to go on a “clothing freeze” for the rest of 2021 because, it turns out, I don’t need any more clothes.
I don’t feel like I’m a great mom (yet), but I no longer feel like a shitty employee. When I was working for a Big Important Company, no matter how much I worked, or how hard I tried, it just felt like it was never enough. I was always anxious, thinking about the next day, the next week, or the next quarter. Something big was always coming down the pipeline and I had to deal with it - I can’t drop off the kids on Tuesday; or I can’t cook dinner at all that week.
Now, I CAN. And I DO. And you know? I don’t mind. It’s not that I don’t want to work, I’m just working for US now. I’m working for my family, for my household, for myself.
In the years to come, I think I’ll become more careful with money. We probably won’t eat at as many fancy restaurants as we used to; or see as many concerts/musicals/plays; or go on as many vacations in Hawaii. We've cut back on cleaning services, and I'm certain more cuts will be made. And that's okay. We're trading the big paycheck for my time and energy, and for this moment in time -- it's worth it.
So this is the new life: a slower, calmer me. A less anxious/stressed me. A dropping-the-kids-off AND picking-the-kids-up me. 20 years ago I don’t know if this is the person I imagined myself being: a mother, a wife, with work on the side. Self-employment means I can choose if/when I want to work, and work more or less depending on what’s happening in my life/my kids’ lives. I tried to think back to my 20's and how I thought my life would turn out; and honestly, I didn’t imagine this. But I also don’t know what I expected.
Here’s to change and embracing change. Here’s to taking all the turns that life takes you. Here’s to having the courage to try something different, even if it’s not something I’d imagined for myself. Here’s to life. May we all find ourselves in interesting times.
[Editor’s note: I wrote this post on September 6th, exactly 2 months after I left my job in Big Tech. Another learning in post-working-mom life? Time is fluid. Things come up, kids get sick, social get-together gets pushed back, work happens [!] and boom, it’s the 3rd week of September. Oh well, better late than never, I guess.]
The day after I left Big Tech, we went to the beach!
More flexibility = more time seeing friends for lunch. We were celebrating my friend D's birthday - first time we've had a meal together since February, 2020
More time also = more cooking. Chicken taco night in our house (along with corn)
More time = more Zumba! I now exercise 5-6 times a week. Something I couldn't have imagined when I was working full time
More time = more eating. I been dying to check out Empress by Boon in SF, and finally got to do it in August (right before the mask mandate returned)
Even more home cooking: whole roasted chicken, sauteed bok choy, and roasted potatoes
I planned one last hoorah for us to visit The Great Wolf Lodge right before the kids went back to school
Then planned another family trip to San Francisco during Labor Day Weekend. The kids LOVED visiting the Bay Area Discovery Museum
Savoring the last of our summer moments at a friend's pool
Our go-to Monday meal: roasted salmon, bok choy, and rice pilaf
Took the kids to the Mountain View Harvest Festival and it was bubbles galore!
Now I do ALL the drop-off and and pickups from school. Bonus is I get to see this little guy in full uniform!
We are strong!