Monday, October 17, 2011

Who Am I?

I'm having an identity crisis.

Transitioning from full time working mom to stay at home unemployed mom is harder than I thought.
I thought for sure that gathering up my nerve and bravado to say the words "I'm quitting" was going to be the hardest part.
As it turns out, it was the easiest.

I only stayed home for the minimum 6 weeks after each of my babies before heading back to work.
When my oldest was born, the boutique I ran was relocating and even though it had only been a couple weeks since his birth I toted him in his carry seat almost daily to help with the move.

I like to work.

I just recently realized that I had come to hate my current position and resent the way it tapped into my personal life.
When Hurricane Irene came tearing up the coast towards us, I had to work the day of her imminent arrival.
I watched in awe as people shopped for clothing as if it was any other day.
Arguing about coupons, knocking stacks of folded clothing off of tables, and then making their way to the cash registers asking the cashiers "Will they let you go home early?"
All the while I wanted to scream at them, "If you weren't here then MAYBE we could go home!"

I was dumbstruck that the mall I worked in insisted they wouldn't announce a "closing" and getting my boss to authorize an early close was like pulling teeth.
When my boss finally gave the ok the rain was already torrential and customers were actually complaining that we were closing.
My main concern became getting the kids who worked for me out of there and home.
Then I had to face almost an hour drive home SOUTH which was where the storm was coming from.

That was the turning point for me.
I felt like a puppet whose strings were manipulated by my employer and employees when they should be in the hands of my husband and children.

But now that the clock only dictates the times my husband and kids come and go, and every morning instead of thinking: 
"What the hell am I going to wear today?"
My brain scrambles with:
"What the hell can I do all day in order to feel wholly satisfied and know I am contributing to this household?"
I love having the time to cook and bake and keep my home in order and I know that matters most to my family.
But deep inside the ambitious, working girl is wondering what's around the corner. 

blazer: vintage, thrifted
tee: jcrew
jeans: express
heels: thrifted jcrew


  1. I totally understand how you feel Eleanor! Some days I long to go back working again. I was also in retail and really miss the buzz!! Thanks for the lovely comments today I find it hard to dress sometimes, being in my forties...Don't want to look like mutton dressed as lamb!! You are doing what you feel is right just now and I admire your decision!! Have a fab week:)

  2. Hi Eleanor,
    Every single thing you do at home adds more to the foundation of your family. It sounds like you're enjoying it but maybe having a hard time with the slower pace!
    I am having lunch on Wednesday with a friend who just quit her job, she is at loose ends. If you were closer you could meet us and we could strategize!
    I stay home and work very part time for my husband's business, just bill paying and stuff. I have projects going on at home all the time, I bake, I meet with friends for walks, I exercise at home. I clean! I love the pace but I am used to it.
    Wishing you a good day, xo.

  3. hi eleanor,this is my first time commenting on your blog.
    i really enjoy reading your posts. i can imagine how different it is for you to stay home.
    i stay at home and enjoy it,but sometimes i feel i miss the "outside"life.
    i love to see all your OOTD and your beautiful clothes!

  4. Oh if only I can quit and stay home for a while. As they say, the grass is always greener on the other side. But knowing me, I would get really bored after a while and would want to do something, anything productive. I'm trying to tap into my artsy side (photography), sporty side (bicycling), and domestic side (baking - not very good at it). Anyway, I'm still trying to find myself at my age and I hope I do some day.

  5. Oh, and the outfit looks awesome! I would so wear that. :)

  6. I think new opportunities tend to arise when you least expect them - I think you should enjoy your rest time while you've got it. I was unemployed for six months a few years ago (company went out of business) and I so wish I had done more with my free time then!

  7. I know how you feel. Enjoy your free time!! Very cute outfit.

  8. I know how you feel. I made the decision to stay at home with my kids until they were in school all day- but it has been the hardest thing I have ever done.

    I constantly feel like it was a waste to get my Master's degree, as I don't use any of that anymore.

    But- when I am feeling like I just can't take it anymore- I think: "On my deathbed, will I have wished for more time at work or more time with my family." Then, I gain perspective.

    I think you should start some sort of business on your own! Like style consultant...I would hire you in a second!!!

    I hope you have a great week, and just know- there are those of us who are right with you trying to deal with being at home and feeling like we are missing out on the outside world!

  9. I can only imagine how different it must feel in your new position. And I hear you about liking to work. I think it's just a mindset of what we do defines who we are, but it couldn't be further from the truth. I love what Dani said about building a foundation, so true!

  10. Very elegant look. I am especially a bit smitten over the shoes.

  11. Hi Eleanor! This is such a thought-provoking post that truly hit home for me. I've been thinking a lot about how we define ourselves through our careers and through our familial identities. I am in a career that is completely different than I ever would have imagined (even a few years ago), and I think my sense of self has adapted because of that. In my relationship with the BF, he occupies a much more traditionally "female" role, while I occupy a more traditionally "male" role. For two+ years, he was unemployed while I started on my career. Although he's working now, there was a significant time in our relationship when he was the one who was at home during the day. He settled into a routine of cooking, cleaning, and taking care of his parents' house. He is much more nurturing than I am and is very skilled at keeping a household in order, whereas I've settled into the role of being the one who spends long hours in the office. I've wondered how this dynamic affects my identity as a woman and how it will affect our identity as a couple and a family. I find myself asking questions like "Is it fair to him? Is it fair to our future kids? Who do I really want to BE and how can I make that happen?"

    All that to say, I very much appreciated this post and think you have really hit the nail on the head with these questions. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    It sounds like the workplace events around Irene opened up a new perspective and catalyzed your decision to leave your job. I hope you are able to enjoy this new stage in your life and that it provides the possibility for new and different experiences!


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