Life Beyond School: Motherhood

As most of you know, my college career is coming to an end on April 26th. And I couldn't be more excited. Nervous. Lost.

I haven't even graduated yet and I have this feeling that I'm forgetting a homework assignment or that I should check my email to make sure I didn't get a last minute announcement from my professor.

I've been really thinking about life after college and transitioning into parenthood. Two very big steps with only a few weeks in between. As you can imagine it is slowly overwhelming me. Up until now my life has been focused on visible, obtainable goals. A life filled with deadlines and expectations clearly outlined in digital and hardcopy. My work has been evaluated in black-and-white fashion based on a rubric, and then I am given a grade based on my performance.

It was so easy to compare my work to the work of other students in my class.
It was so easy to see success and improvement when I was given a raise or was accepted for a better job.

Not only have I been in school for the past 18 years of my life, I have also been working regularly working 1-2 jobs since I was 15 years old. My resume slowly accumulated more and more experience, and my credentials and compensation increased with each job.
Although it was hard work, it was nice how grades, pay, and resumes made it easy to measure my success and compare my work with the work of others.
Those are both clear-cut methods of comparison. Easy to measure how much I was worth and how well I was doing compared to the "average" of my peers.

Parenthood is very different. Although I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom (SAHM), I am finding it hard to let go of my former method of measuring success and realize that motherhood has completely different ways of measuring success.
There will be no deadlines, syllabi, rubrics, or grades. There will be no salary, raises, or bonuses.

My academic and professional careers that were filled with comparison and competition will be obsolete in the world of parenthood.

I am not writing this blog post to whine or to try and justify mine or anyone's choices.
I want to be a SAHM because it's what I want to do and it's what I know will be best for our family. I'm not saying it will be easy, though. I can sympathize with women today who find it hard to find fulfillment in staying at home based on the criteria we've been judged with our whole lives.
It is not easy to switch from one mentality to another.

There are probably many of you that have never felt this way and many who have. It's a deeply personal subject that I think women avoid discussing, especially in the LDS culture. Any mention of having mixed feelings of staying at home puts you right in the middle of radical working mothers and die-hard stay at home moms. A place where you don't want to be. I wish we could openly discuss our feelings without the threat of being attacked. There is nothing wrong with discussing how our culture affects our opinion of motherhood and our identity as a mother.

Personally, our culture that is focused on academic and career success has affected me. Not in a bad way, just in a way that makes it necessary for me to change my mindset and make a formal transition to parenthood.

I am so excited to be a mother and I am immensely grateful that our circumstances make it possible for me to stay at home with our baby. I wouldn't have it any other way, but I will be the first to admit that it won't be an easy transition from one mindset to another.

However, judging from the amazing examples in my life (mother, aunts, cousins, in-laws) I sure as heck know that it will be more than worth it.


  1. It's a shame the way our society works. I've always wanted to be a SAHM too, but the biggest thing I'm scared to do if and when I do become pregnant is to tell my boss, a self-motivated woman who worked through two pregnancies and all through motherhood, and who has done so much for me careerwise, that I won't be working anymore.

    All the best with finishing up your schooling and your transition time! :)

  2. I love this so much. #1- I have this fear of feeling incredibly unfulfilled if I were to be a stay at home mom (still a tough decision that thankfully I don't have to make right now) #2- I'm glad I'm not the only one! #3- I never considered how the "grading scales" of society have affected the way I view fulfillment. Totally eye-opening! No wonder I have that big fear! It's the way I've been working for 18 years!
    You are seriously awesome and I'm so excited for you!

  3. I transitioned from a 40 hour work week plus a part-time job on the side straight into a stay-at-home mom. It is a big transition, but TOTALLY worth it! The first time your child says "Momma" or "I Love You" without having to say it first... That is your raise and promotion. No amount of money will compare to the love your child will show you and the love you have for your child. There are definitely lonely days and days I wonder what it would be like working full-time again, but then I look into the eyes of my little ones and think, they are only this age for so long and then they are grown. I have to enjoy and soak in every precious moment. You will love being at home.

  4. Umm...yeah...when I graduated pregnant and jobless, I didn't know what to do ith myself. I seriously just sat for hours...I think I played some old school video games? I cross stitched? Don't worry. You'll get used to it. The thought of going back to school now makes me want to vomit.

  5. Hi I'm David! Please email me when you get a chance, I have a question about your blog!

  6. Jessica. I have thought about this before... I was just asking Chaz, "How will I know if I am doing a good job and being a good mom?!" To me it's a little overwhelming to think about. Thankfully, I still have a little bit of time to figure things out more. :)

  7. Thank you for your comments! I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one, but mostly I'm glad to hear such positive experiences with motherhood :) I am just so excited to be a mother and have the opportunity to have the greatest influence on my little one!

  8. Comparison will always exists, especially in motherhood. Weather it be how your child sleeps, eats or starts to walk compared to your neighbor's child. It's interesting to note how many general conference talks there are that include not comparing when it talks about motherhood and womanhood- because it's a problem. But I am so excited that you are excited to be a Mom. It's beyond amazing!

  9. Jessica, I loudly applaud your decision to be a SAHM. As a LDS and a foster mom, I still struggle with feeling the "satisfaction" of staying home to care for the boys. I don't have a career I've trained for so I can only imagine it would be that much harder for you. But just the idea of giving up my own self-satisfying pursuits to help these little guys (that yes, need it so much!) is something I still work at being content with. It's a process! But the days I see the boys happy and content, I know I've made the right choice and more importantly, I feel a confirmation deep inside that He's pleased. :) Best wishes with your transitions and much love!