The End & The Beginning

{photo: www.teachone2one.com}

In the category of Life-Changing News, I have this for you:  Tomorrow is my last day of work.  

What some of my friends and family already know is that I recently decided to leave my job.  And I didn’t take another one — at least not one that pays. 

However, my new full-time responsibilities are pretty big, complete with two new bosses.  Here is their most recent management headshot.  

And, just like that, I’m out of full time Corporate America. 

I lie.  It’s not “just like that.”  I’m not crazy enough to do this on a whim.  This took a lot of consideration, mental wrestling, soul searching and, at times, wine.  Because, for almost 20 years, I have gotten up and gone to work every single day.  I had great jobs.  Some may even say I was pretty good at what I did.  And I thrived on my work.

For a long while, anyway.

After my son was born in 2007, I knew I was going back to work.  It wasn’t even a question in my mind.  And I sorted it out pretty well, overall.  There were many moments of stress, but the pros outweighed the cons of the whole balancing act.  I felt accomplished, both at home and in the office.

My daughter came along in 2009.  Things got harder to balance.  I’m not sure if it was a sheer incremental equation (two kids > one kid) but certainly other factors were at play.  My husband took a new job at that time and could not be around as much to help out.  I had been promoted, which was great, but also meant more responsibility.  Then we moved out of the city for more space, and that meant a longer commute — which resulted in seeing our kids even less. 

Hmmmm.

Gradually, things started to feel less rewarding and more like a situation hanging on by a thread.  But I had always done this – I had always made this work — so why wouldn’t I continue?  This is what I do.  This is who I am.

Or maybe it’s not anymore.  The voice of doubt started to slowly creep in.

There were increasing moments of questioning how my life was playing out.  I felt like I wasn’t doing any one thing exceedingly well anymore.  I felt like I was missing out too much at home.  I felt like the sense of reward and accomplishment from my career was no longer nearly as self-defining.

I waffled about this for a long time.  Waffling is exhausting, let me tell you.  It’s also not my strong suit.  And then, one day, I just stopped waffling and took a leap of faith.

Am I scared?  Yes.  Scared of losing that piece of myself from the professional world (can you really “always go back?”).  Scared of scaling back our income. But, most of all – and I hate to write this because it sounds horrible —  I’m scared, after being out of the house for 50+ hours each week, that I won’t be a good full-time mother. 

But, despite these things, I know in my heart it was the right decision. 

I don’t want to miss everything.  I don’t want my son to accidentally call me by the nanny’s name a couple of times a week.  I don’t want to feel like I’m about to have a stroke whenever trying to balance both sides of this equation. And to the many women who juggle this balancing act, I wholeheartedly salute you.  Likewise, to the women who stay home with their children, I am so utterly impressed by what you do.  I hope I can do it just as well.  Oh, and please say hi to me in Starbucks or at pre-school, even though I have always been that mother who was never around much during the week.  I swear, I was doing my best.

Just because it’s the right thing for me to leave, it doesn’t make it easy.  I’ve been working for a long time, but my current job is one where I really feel like I grew up and got a real career.  Where I learned amazing things from super-talented people. 

When I started there in 2004, there was a gaping hole in the Earth across the street at Ground Zero.  Today, progress takes its place.

Then, I had a boyfriend.  Today, that man is my husband and the father of our children.

Then, I lived in Manhattan and went out to dinner at 10pm.  Today, I gladly call the suburbs home and pass out on my couch at 10pm.

Then, I knew I was joining a fabulous company with a great group of people.  Today, I am proud to call many of them my very good friends who I will miss seeing every day.  Some of them, I will always, always know.

A lot has changed in those seven years, but maybe what has changed the most is me.

So, goodbye suits.  Goodbye, office. Goodbye (and good riddance), NJ Transit and PATH Train. Goodbye, Blackberry. 

Most of all, goodbye to that part of my identity.   The part I always thought played a big role in defining me, but no longer will.  The part for which I’m so grateful but I just don’t need as much anymore.

Hello to new adventures and to making up for lost time.

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Comments

  1. Jen T. says:

    I applaud you. And while I was never as in love with any of the jobs I had pre-kids as you were, I can honestly say that I never regret staying home for a minute (even though there were days when I wished I had a job to go to!).

    With Emily two years away from HS and Ryan starting middle school next year, it’s hard to believe that it goes so, so fast. But it does. And honestly, as much as I love the ages my kids are right now, we are having way too many “last times” lately :(

    Good luck in your new career…call if you need me…I’ve been there. And we must do lunch soon :)

    xo

    • fordeville says:

      Aw, thanks so much. I can’t even think about how fast it goes. I can’t even believe you’re telling me your daughter has high school on the horizon. How is that possible when we are eternally 22?

  2. Good luck!! What an exciting change. Can wait to read all about it.

  3. Love this and so well written, however I am sad that you will leave the working Momma ranks for my own personal satisfaction and entertainment mostly via Twitter. Congratulations on taking the leap. You’ll be great I’m sure.
    Enjoy that special extra time with your kiddos! I’ve had a lot of moments where I feel like I have missed on important things with Mia and not been the Mom I should be because I work (and surrounded by family and friends that stay home). There has been guilt that I’ve felt and tears that have been shed and times where I wonder if she’ll know me less than the ones that watch her during the week. But this is our life and the path we have chosen. We’ll make the most of it :)
    Cheers!

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Melissa. It’s such a hard balance — somehow, we all figure it out. Hopefully, this next step is the right one for my family.

  4. Congratulations! What a huge change. Good luck with your new job. And if you want to grab a midday coffee with the little girls, hit me up. :)

  5. Exciting news! I do made a major change after #3 and decided to work part time (which was a huge change from my major career full time job).

    Definitely challenging in ways that I never thought and since my kids are older I am finding more of the “quality” time that I thought we would have being “schlep time” to their activities and breaking up fight time. But honestly it was a great change and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Congratulations on the embarking on this new journey!!

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks so much! The Schlep Factor is evident even with small kids — it’s crazy. But rumor has it that it will get warm here eventually — and breaking that cabin feve should do wonders around here.

  6. Patty says:

    Congratulations! :)
    I admire you for being brave enough to make this change. I’m sure it was difficult but the rewards will last a life time! And besides your two new bosses are REALLY CUTE! :)

  7. Jen says:

    Congrats Kim! And welcome! You will be a FABULOUS full-time mother. I really enjoyed reading this and thinking about you ‘hanging up’ the train pass for now. I agree – it’s very scary to make the change. And I’m not saying the job is easy, but boy are the rewards huge. For me it has taken great patience, both with the kids and with myself. It has taken me a year (I can’t believe it has been a year!) to really settle into this role, but I’m glad I made that leap. You are so right – it is a huge leap of faith. Congrats again and I’d love to get together despite the distance!

    • fordeville says:

      Jen — Thank you so much! Great to hear from you, and so glad to know all is well Post Corporate Life on your end. I have no doubt it’s going to be challenging — many days, more challenging than the workplace — but I’m ready for the change. Hope to see you soon!

  8. Jessica says:

    How exciting for you to start a new chapter in your life. I decided about 2 weeks before I was supposed to go back to work after I had my second child to quit my job. I struggled with many of the same feelings you did. I have been home now for almost 2 years and I don’t regret my decision at all. I hope you enjoy your new role as SAHM.

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Jessica — I’m excited. So nice to hear from moms who did this and never looked back.

  9. Barbara says:

    I admire you! I don’t think I could leave my job to be a full time SAHM, at least not yet. I still find it hard to do the balancing act, but the cons have outweighed the pros for me!

    • fordeville says:

      I give you a lot of credit. It’s a tough balancing act. That’s great that you are able to make it work — hats off!

  10. I wish you much happiness, Kim. Make sure you have some time scheduled into your week for adult-only activities. Try to make it into the shower at least once every three days, and absolutely no mommy jeans.

    Nine years ago, my husband and I decided to make a similar move. I was not cut out for full-time mommy, so I went back to work 2-3 days per week, and he sold his business to his partner and became a full-time dad. Lots of things are opposite in our house, but it works for us. And he can get away with the mommy jean look. Sort of.

    • fordeville says:

      Margaret, thank you so much. I promise to take all of your advice to heart — and if I am found in mom jeans, you have my permission to stage an intervention.

  11. Alexandra says:

    I have to tell you, as excited as I was to become a SAHM, I was not prepared for the isolation I felt the first 2 months.

    By ten weeks, I was OK.

    But, the first 10 weeks? I felt very sad.

    Just in case, we’re here on twitter, bloggyville, and gmail.

    Just in case.

    • fordeville says:

      I can totally see how that can happen, and I’m glad you pointed it out. Thank you. And I will stalk you electronically at the first sign. Seriously, thanks for your honesty — it’s great to get all perspectives on this.

  12. anna says:

    i left my full time job five years ago (cannot believe it’s been that long) but have had a very easy work-from-home part-time job for the last three, which has been great.

    i think one of the best things about leaving a “real” job (in addition to seeing the kids, of course) is that is eliminates a whole list of things to remember and be responsible for – freeing up your brain for important stuff like birthday party rsvp’s and kickball schedules.

    anyway, it really is true what everyone says, enjoy every moment… they do grow up so fast.

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Anna. I am really hoping that the feeling of impending brain implosion will subside soon. You’re right — it was total mental overload.

  13. Luisa Megale says:

    Can I have a selfisg moment from all of this support – I will miss you at work. Simple. Howver, bless Fordeville Diaries for my ‘fix’ of all crazy things Forde.

    • fordeville says:

      I am grateful for your selfish moment — thank you. And rest assured, I will continue to bring the crazy.

  14. Brenda says:

    Good for you. It does take a big inhale of breath to make the decision and stick to it. Any change is hard, but I suspect this one is the greatest because it involves redefining the who in who the heck am I now. Being a Mom is the hardest job – ever- but we girls/woman have other dreams that follow us around until we figure it all out.. Best to you on this next chapter.

    Brenda

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