Am I Doing Enough?


Before I became a stay at home mom I worked for a start up company. In a lot of ways it taught me everything I know about how to run a business, but it also taught me the horrible habit of putting work first. At the time it was just my fiancé and our pups that I neglected, but then it became myself.

Work came first, that was what I thought was important. Put work first if you want to go far and have meaning; make my degree worth it. I was one of the lucky few whose parents paid for me to go to college, unlike my husband, who had to pay for his education. I felt like if I didn’t use my degree I was unappreciative and spoiled. I needed to go to work and make money. And because I worked so hard, I did climb to the top. I became the VP of Operations. I ran the show for the most part. It was my job to make sure everything happened. I felt needed, I felt important, and I felt like I had to do it.

But something changed when I became a mom. Seeing my baby’s face when I would leave her at daycare just ripped my soul apart. I would cry everyday and it just felt wrong. I’m not saying putting your child in daycare is wrong, it’s just not for everyone. No one told me that. I thought it’s what you did, and if you didn’t, something was wrong with you, or you must be incredibly rich and therefore didn’t need to work.

I never knew it was an option to stay home and raise your kids and I definitely felt like it was wrong for me too, but I wanted to be home and raise my children. I didn’t know that it was ok for me to do that. It didn’t mean I was a failure. Just because I went to college didn’t mean I couldn’t take a break. I wish I would have better understood this because I felt incredible guilt. At that time my husband just finished his degree so he hadn’t been working long and I never wanted to burden him with taking care of me, that was not what I planned for. I was and still feel like a very independent person. I’ve taken care of myself and didn’t need help. But I actually did, my mental health was definitely taking a toll every time I dropped my baby off and it really tore me apart. I wasn’t the same person. I couldn’t focus at work. I was always crying. I became so attached to my daughter that I didn’t connect with my husband or give him any of me, it was work or our baby.

Eventually, like a rubber band I snapped. My husband knew something was up and told me to quit my job. I couldn’t believe that he said it and meant it. He said, “don’t worry about the money, we will figure it out.” And for the first time in our relationship I let him decide for us. Although I was probably the happiest in my life to be able to be home with our baby, I realized the horrible feelin of guilt was still there. Was I doing enough? Was being home with our baby and raising her enough? Watching my husband pull extra shifts so we could pay our bills, was it fair?  I knew I couldn’t leave our baby and I constantly questioned my worth.

I would criticize everything I did and once again became depressed. My husband was at a loss. He would ask me, “aren’t you happy, you’re home, you’re free from that job and I’m here to take care of us.” I told him, “of course I’m happy, but I don’t feel worthy. I feel bad and I’m sorry I’m making you do this for me.” My Prince Charming said to me, “of course you’re worthy. We are so lucky to have you. You’re going to raise our baby better than anyone else and having her mommy with her is the best possible opportunity. Neither of us had this and I know how important it is to you, and me. I want to work for us, I want to support my family.”

So while I was stuck in a depressed vortex of feeling like I wasn’t enough, I wasn’t thinking about all of us, I was just thinking of myself. If I was going to raise our baby, I needed to be 100%. I wanted to teach her that just because I have a college degree doesn’t mean I can’t choose to stay home and raise a family. Having a degree isn’t an agreement to work in an office. I could go back to work later or use my degree for something else entirely.

I was enough. I was, and am, doing more than enough by helping figure out how we can live comfortably while I stay home and watch our baby. Although I have my down moments, I have to focus on the bigger picture and that is our family. They need me and I can make this work. This is what I was meant to do and it is more than enough!

Now please let me say that we are all enough! Working, not working, working part time whatever it may be, as long as we are happy and able to provide for our families the best way we know how. That’s what makes us enough. I may not be providing financially anymore but I am providing a happy, positive home where I can fulfill my children’s needs. I can support my husband emotionally and actually be there for him. This was something that I needed and I needed to know that I was doing enough.

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Erin is a mom of two beautiful little girls and a brand new baby boy. She has a bachelor's degree in Business Marketing from San Francisco State, and her career as a VP of Operations for a cosmetics company was her game for a long time. But once she became a mom everything changed, she wanted life to slow down and focus her energy on raising her children. She is fortunate to be married to a wonderful husband who is a frontline hero, Respiratory Therapist, at Kaiser. Being a stay-at-home mom has been such an incredible journey and she enjoys life’s great adventures. Erin enjoys reading, working out, being a foodie, crafting, and always a good laugh.


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