A year ago today on September 1st, 2010, I was laid off from my job as a Director of Product Development for ZipRealty. Though I consider myself lucky, the transition for me from being a working mother to a stay at home mother has not been an easy one. I always knew about the motherhood penalty, but to experience it since I went on maternity leave was quite something else.

I was laid off the same week I found out that I was pregnant. It was early, so this is not news that I had mentioned, but being my second pregnancy, I started to show pretty quick. 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. 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. 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 childcare 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.

Almost 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 make sure our son was looked after. We had to coordinate our phone and in-person interviews closely, and neither of us was able to say yes immediately to a particular time offered. 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 — I would slow down the pace of my job search while he full throttled his. We worked by placing his job search as the higher-priority goal. He was thus able to find a better job than he had before, just in time before the health benefits run out.

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. I learned to really separate the “urgent” from the important. When recruiters or potential employers don’t get back to me, I don’t dwell on it and ask myself why. Instead, I am glad that they did not waste my time from my children and my stash by dragging me through long interviews that forces me to go all day without food and pay out the nose.