April 26, 2013

I’m a Quitter

By Sarah
Introduced by Amy

Hey, friends...I'm so excited for the next two posts!  This first one is Sarah's perspective on being a stay-at-home mom. (SAHM...apparently, there's an acronym for this!)  The post after this one will my interview with a good friend, Tamara, who is my neighbor, a mother of three, and works full-time as a teacher.  

I really wanted to get perspectives from both the working moms and the stay at home moms, cause I think it's easy for people to make hasty judgements on mothers, both for working outside of the home and for NOT working outside of the home.  I say to those folks: Mucho take it easy! (Nacho Libre voice...if you already knew that, you get 500 points of coolness from me! Ha!)  Every family has their own set of different circumstances; they gotta make their own choices on what works best for them.  So, let's all be friends!  :)

Better appreciation and understanding always comes from listening to each other, so here are their stories.  Thanks for sharing, ladies!
I’ve never considered myself a quitter. In fact, I can count the number of times that I’ve quit something on one hand: quitting the saxophone after junior high, quitting varsity volleyball my senior year of high school, and quitting my job on the newspaper staff during college (there might be more, but I can’t think of any right now). I’m always afraid to quit because I never want to look back and think, “What if...” and then regret my decision.

But sometimes quitting is OK. In fact, sometimes it is the best decision.

That is why I quit grad school.

I had the perfect setup for going to school: both my husband (Lorin) and I were accepted to the same grad school, the buildings where we had our classes were right next to each other, and we didn’t need to take Miranda to daycare because we were able to alternate our class schedules.

We would take Miranda with us to school every day. When I was in class, Lorin would take Miranda down to his office. When he was in class, I would take Miranda into the physics building lobby and set up camp on the coveted blue corduroy couch (seriously, all the students waiting to go to class wanted to sit on this couch because it was the most comfortable place to sit compared with the other seating options).

Everything was great. I was able to do what I wanted to do while taking care of Miranda.

I loved going to class. I loved learning. I loved that I would be able to teach at the college level when I finished my degree.

To tell you the truth, it was hard. Yes, the coursework was rigorous and challenging, but that wasn’t the hardest part. Miranda and I would sit on that blue couch for hours as I tried to continually get her to go to sleep so I could get my homework done. I would get so irritated with her when she wanted my attention while I was trying to finish a paper or complete my reading. At the end of the day, I felt like a terrible mother because I was with Miranda all the time, but I wasn’t with her. I’m pretty sure I cried enough tears to fill a whole swimming pool that semester.

This is Miranda sleeping on the blue couch in the Physics building.

I remember having the same talks with Lorin about grad school over and over again. Should I quit? Should I keep going? What would people think of me if I quit? Would people stereotype me if I stayed at home with Miranda? Would people think I wasn’t smart or educated? Would I stink at being a stay-at-home mom? Would I hate it? I felt lost and confused.

Well, after the many talks, prayers, and tears, I decided to give being a stay-at-home-mom a test run. I talked to my master’s program advisor and told her I was going to defer the next semester. This way, I could see what being at home would be like without cutting ties with grad school.

When I made that decision, all the confusion and indecisiveness lifted. I knew that this was the right direction for me. As time went on, all those questions about what others might think of me if I were a stay-at-home mom seemed pretty insignificant.

I have now been a stay-at-home mom since December 2012, and I LOVE it. I feel like I can give Miranda the attention she needs, but I can also learn and pursue the things that interest me—just in a different way. I had planned on going back to school this coming fall, but I decided to quit permanently (at least for now).

Yes, that is right. I quit.

When I wrote the email to my program director to tell her that I was leaving permanently, I kind of expected to be sad. But I wasn’t. I was relieved and happy with my decision—just like the other times I quit before.

At school with Miranda!

Just because I’m not in grad school anymore doesn’t mean I have stopped learning, and it doesn’t mean that I’m only learning things about babies and motherhood either (even though learning new things in these areas are awesome). I make time to learn the things that I want to learn about. I look at my time now as an opportunity to explore areas of interest that I never had time for before. I check out books or read blogs about things that I would like to learn to do. Since I’ve been home, I’ve read up on gardening, painting, interior design, landscaping, sewing, blogging, and lots more. I’m always reading. I wouldn’t be surprised if I took some classes in some of those areas along the way. Maybe one day I might go back to grad school, I don’t know. For now, I’m enjoying being at home with Miranda and staying educated in my own way.

Thanks, Sarah!  
So ladies, it's your turn!  Stay-at-home mommas, we'd love to hear your story!   
Was it an easy decision for you?  And remember, please leave the judgments out, cause not all mommas can or choose to stay at home during the day.  In other words, we'd love to hear YOUR experience, but not a soapbox speech...and, I mean that in a loving way! :)  
(Oh great, I hope I didn't scare you from commenting! Haha...)


  1. It's hard to make decisions like that. I TOTALLY relate to the struggle. I remember wondering if I'd look like a failure if I stopped teaching. But, I knew I couldn't decide based on other people's opinions of me, so I made my choice to take a break from teaching, and it's working out for me and my babe! :) I do get to teach art lessons from my home, so I'm loving that!

    I'm proud of you for doing what you felt was best, even if it was a tough choice.

    1. Thanks so much, Amy! And thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story. I am really looking forward to hearing from the working mom. It is great to read about different perspectives.

  2. I totally understand the frustration of trying to do it all. I tell my husband all the time, I would love to work and I would love to stay home but doing both at the same time is going to kill me! And I always feel guilty about not giving my daughter the attention she deserves. I can't wait until we're at a point that I can be a quitter too!

    1. I think waiting for the right time to quit is very important. I knew I wanted to quit a couple of weeks before my first semester ended, but I am glad I stuck it out. Just keep hanging in there!

  3. Great post! I agree with Sarah that you can't do both and enjoy them both or give either the time and attention they need. My children are grown and gone now and have children of their own, but looking back I can say my decision to quit full-time nursing to stay home with them was the right one. I never went back to nursing, but took up new things as they came along and enjoyed them heartily!

    1. Thank you, Carole! I didn't know you did nursing! I also didn't know you were a stay-at-home mom. Very cool. You took up new things like...writing an awesome book!

      For anyone who sees this comment, Carole wrote an awesome young adult book called Refuge. You should read it!

  4. I love how you talk about educating yourself. That's what we need to do! We don't necessarily need an institution to be of value intellectually. I quit grad school one week before it even started. I knew that starting a family was right for us at that time. Here's to being a Mama and still expanding our horizons!

    1. SO true. It not only benefits us, but our kids see how important learning is to us! It's fun to learn about totally different things, now--stuff that I didn't have time for in college cause I was trying to graduate! :)

    2. Yes! And you know what Melissa, I feel so much freedom to learn to do things I didn't think I had time for before. I love it!

  5. Love this!!! People keep asking me if I will ever go to school (we live in a college town where practically everyone is going to school). Lots of women do it with 2 or 3 kids. They are my heroes. For me, when I am really interested in something I only want to focus on that. So right now that focus should be my children. School will come later I know, and I feel good About that decision but having to explain it over and over gets old. Just because someone quit school or hasn't started doesn't mean they won't finish or haven't thought about starting. I live reading your blog Amy!
    Rachel @ R & R Workshop


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