Changing My Career Path Changed Motherhood for Me

Changing My Career Path Changed Motherhood for Me

After a big career change, one mom started looking at her kids in a whole new light.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

A year ago, I was a staff writer for a popular website. I commuted into New York City twice a week from the ’burbs, and the other three days, I worked an eight-hour day from home during regular business hours. I also was pregnant with my second child. For all intents and purposes, my setup was great. I worked with a group of smart, funny women, and it was amazing to get to spend the time that I would have been commuting with my toddler daughter. (Also, as I mentioned, I was pregnant. And pregnancy = exhaustion.)

But instead of thanking my lucky stars for having such a flexible job, I did something kind of crazy: I quit.

Now, when I say "I quit," what I really mean is "I went freelance." Being a freelance writer is a beautiful thing in the sense that you get to make your own hours, and you get to create your own schedule. But, as with many things in life, there also are some downsides. You get zero paid time off (including a maternity leave), and you never leave your house.

I wouldn't change my decision for the world, as I get to be with my kids all the time. But also, I'm with my kids all the time. To be completely honest, most days I'm not sure if I feel more like a working parent or a stay-at-home mom. I do a good chunk of my work at night when my children are asleep, and I have a babysitter for a portion of some days.

But, other than that, it's the kids and me. And to be perfectly frank: It can get a little maddening at times.

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Before I had my son a few months ago, everything ran incredibly smoothly. I had allotted time for work during the day, and then, at around 3 or so, I'd stop and my daughter and I would spend the rest of the afternoon together. But, as any mom knows, things can change oh-so-quickly with kiddos. Since then, my daughter has stopped napping. Throw an unpredictable 6-month-old into the mix, and things can get pretty crazy. I'm embarrassed to admit that I thought that being a stay-at-home mom was an easy gig before going freelance. From what I gather, it's so not.

But of course, there's been an amazing upside to my shift also. I feel so much more present with my children now. Before, when I was working for other people, I jumped out of bed each morning in order to be available for emails and phone calls. I had a responsibility and commitment to the website that paid my bills. But now, since I make my own schedule, I take more time in the morning. I snuggle with my daughter in bed before moseying down to have coffee. I no longer check my email when I'm with my kids out of fear that I need to get back to someone from my work right that second.


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Still, my work and home life are very much mashed together right now, which, I'll be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of. But, I've come to realize that having more control over my work life allows me to have more control over the kind of parent I am. And I like being the parent who isn't constantly looking at her phone.

There are some (OK, many) days where I feel like a frumpy, stereotypical suburban housewife/stay-at-home mom. Occasionally, I look longingly at my husband pulling away for work in the morning while my two kids are carrying on about one thing or another in the background. And sometimes, when I'm pushing my toddler in a stroller while wearing my baby in a carrier at 4 p.m., and I'm still unshowered, I wonder what the heck happened to my life. But I still wouldn't change my decision for the world.

Being fully engaged with my kids and being able to do things like head to the park for a break in the middle of the day beats getting dressed up for meetings and adult conversations any day of the week. And I think my kids would agree.

How has a career decision shaped your home life?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

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