A year ago on September 1st, 2010, I was laid off from my job. I always knew about the motherhood penalty, but to experience it since I went on maternity leave was quite something else. The transition for me from being a working mother to a stay at home mother and home manager has not been an easy one.
I was laid off the same week I found out that I was pregnant. Being my second pregnancy, I started to show pretty quick. I was getting a lot of interviews and constantly busy, but I was pretty stressed out. I had to give our nanny notice, only just after we were getting into a good place with childcare. To make matters worse, I had not completely lost all the baby weight that I had gained from my previous pregnancy, so I definitely looked pregnant. After several pretty intense interviews where I went on second and third round, I was still getting nowhere even though I was interviewing once a day on average when phone interviews are counted. Job searching when you have a young child is very difficult — I had to scramble to find child care because of the haphazard schedules that interviews come by and it was also expensive. Going on interviews, especially ones that lasted all day, became very draining financially, and it was also draining on my positive energy when I encountered interviewers who are less than ethical, professional, or kind.
A month later, my husband was also laid off from his job, which made me more stressed out. My health insurance now had an expiration, and given my condition, it would be pretty hard to get health insurance otherwise. It was also difficult to juggle two job seeking schedules and made sure our son was looked after. We had to coordinate our phone and in-person interviews closely so that employers do not hear the baby screaming in the background, which sometimes cannot be prevented, plus neither of us was able to say yes immediately to a particular time offered. It was frazzling for both of us.
My husband, being the great husband that he is, told me to slow down and not get so stressed out about looking for a job. He wanted me to have a more relaxed pregnancy and we needed to change up our job search strategy. So we decided that I would slow down the pace of my job search while placing a greater focus on his. We worked by placing his job search as the higher-priority goal and pushing it to higher gear than previously. He was able to say yes immediately to job interviews without hesitation about child care issues. It worked out — he was thus able to find a better job than the one he had before, just in time before the health benefits run out. I gave birth to our second child, a daughter, on Memorial Day weekend.
I was always organized but being a SAHM took that to a new level for me. Being a good mother required that I become more flexible and go with the flow. Being a mother of two children under two is a level up from being a mother of one! Being a home manager took my project management skills to a new level. I learned to really separate the “urgent” from the important. And I am still learning.
This blog is about my journey from someone who has spent the majority of her adult life in market work of a paid professional to someone who is performing non-market work. This is a chronicle of my experience, learning, and discoveries along the way. Because I am a mother and a wife, there will be some motherhood and marriage related stuff here, as being a stay at home mother and housewife gives me a different perspective to home management.