So in the last month, we’ve had a few exciting things happen and a few big changes. The biggest change, is what today’s post is about. Not only was it a massive life change, but it’s resulted in what I needed most; a ME change.
In case the title didn’t give it away, at the end of June I left the working world and became a stay at home wife. Now of course there are so many things one has to consider when making the choice of leaving work, but sometimes the reasons that seem most irrational are the ones that make the most sense.
After having a couple months to get used to being a stay at home wife and being able to figure out what next, I’ve had a lot of time to think, reflect and most importantly plan. The process I’ve been through, is what I wanted to write about today.
Ever since I was able, I’ve always had a job. There’s something about working and earning your own money that just gives you a sense of responsibility, confidence and overall independence. I love the feeling of working hard and being paid for it. It also makes it so much more worthwhile when you get to spend your hard earned money! (There’s gotta be at least something to look forward to!)
At the beginning of this year, my husband and I sat down and had a really good talk. A few areas of my overall health were in decline and I wasn’t able to fix it. I was losing myself, I was constantly sick and overall, my husband felt he had lost his wife. After much discussion, we narrowed it down to what the biggest contributing factors were and how we could start to fix it. Once we really thought about it, me working, while having 2 incomes was helpful, wasn’t worth what I was having to deal with and ultimately what my husband was having to deal with. Once we decided that I would need to leave work, my anxiety went overboard. I was so worried about how things would work out with 1 income, how I would leave my job, what I would become being at home all day and so many other things. My stress levels were through the roof and I immediately started doubting that leaving was the best thing for me.
From the time we decided I would leave, until the time I actually put my notice in, 2-3 months had passed. Finally, I had a breakdown and that was it, we sent my notice in that night. Sending it through was so hard and I had the worst feeling in my chest as I wrote my notice and sent it through. I felt this overwhelming feeling of not only relief, but of letting people down, of what was to come and one of my worst fears-the unknown. Once I had sent it through and the feeling sunk in, I started to feel a lot calmer and my heart and mind were at peace. Not only that, but I felt a lot more positive that I would finally be able to focus on myself and get better.
I suppose many would oppose the decision we made for me to leave; I mean the world isn’t getting any easier to live in. In some ways, I guess you could say the odds are stacked against our generation. The cost of living is higher, the employment rate is dropping, taxes are increasing and overall many of us struggle with the cost of day to day life. The expectation of skills is constantly evolving and the requirements for successful employment are forever becoming more specific and sometimes unattainable for people our age and younger. In all honesty, my husband and I were blessed to be in the position we were in. However, in saying that, sometimes there are things more important than money and worldly wealth. In this instance, my personal being and the marriage we shared far outweighed any negative of me leaving my job.
It took a while to get used to; all I could think about when I was at work was all the time I would have, the sleep in’s to come and the energy I would suddenly gain. However, what I didn’t consider was the major adjustment and the shock to my natural routine it would prove to be. In some ways I think I hit an even lower point than where I already was. My body shut down and I spent days in bed sick. I wasn’t able to muster the energy to even get out of bed to get in the shower. I wasn’t able to find motivation to eat, to do what I loved and to even do anything at all. I lay in bed and slept all day, and wasted my time being unproductive. I dreamt of all the things I could do, and then did nothing.
With this sudden change in my routine, I no longer felt I had purpose. The stresses carried with me while working, were now transferred into stresses of being at home. I felt I needed to contribute in some way, but what I was doing was nowhere near as important or beneficial as what my husband was doing everyday. I felt like I had failed him; like I had nothing to offer anymore. I felt stressed because of the lack of input I had and most of all I was frustrated at how lazy I had become. I didn’t like myself before I stopped working, and I sure as hell didn’t like myself now.
Here I was, finally able to really focus on me and my health, and all I was doing was making it worse. My poor husband had to come home every day and see his wife, his best friend withering away, practically non-existent; and I couldn’t even find the energy to change. I guess I was stuck in a depression. I had a feeling of wanting to be more, but not knowing how, when or even what to do to achieve it. I know I’ve written before about wanting to be more, but it’s like that fire I had burning, was suddenly extinguished the minute I had any chance of really pursuing it. I looked in the mirror and even more so than before, didn’t recognise who was looking back at me. I was stuck, and I couldn’t get out.
It’s a funny thing when you know you are in a bad place, and then your circumstances change and the focus of your thoughts and feelings don’t improve, but instead shift to the new situation. I always thought that as soon as I finished, everything would change and I would suddenly be magically ok again. I didn’t anticipate the prospect of being the same, or even worse than before. Of course, my countenance and appearance changed because I was no longer physically drained, but inside I was still the same. I was in a funk and I needed an out.
A couple nights ago my husband and I sat down and had a really long talk. While I didn’t enjoy it at all, something good came out of it. It was like the fog lifted and I could suddenly see everything- where I was, where I wanted to be and the start of how to get there. We argued, we disagreed, we got frustrated but at the end, we were closer than we had been before. I might go so far as to say, closer than we have been in a really long time.
It’s amazing how the love you have for someone can both harm you and save you. Let me explain: I’m the wife who holds in her feelings because I don’t want to hurt my husband’s feelings. I will sit on my thoughts and will act the opposite of how I feel. My husband is the opposite. He will let it all out and does so because he knows it’s better to communicate rather than not. Holding in my feelings for the sake of his, is what harms me the most. It drives me insane. I start to get angry, frustrated and completely change my approach towards everything; in a sense I give up because sharing my feelings isn’t worth the possible argument or hurt feelings. It’s better I’m hurt than him. On the other hand, my husband can’t do that. He needs to share his feelings about everything because he loves me too much to hide it away. He wants us to improve, to be better and that can only be done by reflection and learning. While his words sting for a bit, I know in the end it is what I need to hear. This is how my realisation came about.
I had been so busy holding in everything I was feeling and dealing with it on my own, that I failed to see just how much I was hurting my husband. I failed to see just how much I had lost myself. While my intentions were to save him, I did the complete opposite. During our talk, he let me have it. He told me everything. I won’t lie and say it didn’t hurt, cause it did, but it opened my eyes to exactly what I knew I had been doing, but simply failed to see. While it hurt, it saved me. I believe only someone who truly loves you, will tell you the whole truth, regardless of how it may affect you, but know exactly how to fix what the truth can do. Some of you may disagree, but it works for me.
It took me exactly a month to get out of the hole I was in. It took me a month to finally get out of bed and live. It took me a month to realise the kind of wife I needed to be and how I could start achieving that. I won’t lie and say I know I’m completely out of it, because I know I’m not. But I will say that I know that every day starts with a goal and as I achieve each one, I’m one step closer to becoming the person I really want to be, and in turn, being the wife my husband misses so much.
For anyone wanting to leave work, I applaud you. It’s a tough decision to make. For stay at home wives, mothers, husbands and fathers, I take my hat off to you. It’s an art in itself to be at home and stay motivated and determined. It takes courage, willingness, an amazing amount of determination, motivation and planning and it takes a lot of support. My journey is my journey, it may not be yours. But if it is similar, and you are in that funk, know you will get out of it, and it will get better. Take it day by day and give yourself something to work towards or look forward to every day. It can be something as small as getting out of bed and showering, to cleaning the house, working out and so much more. Find out who you want to be and do whatever it takes to be that. I am, and I’m excited for you to see.
If you have any experiences on leaving work, I would love to hear them! I’d love to hear how you’re doing and what works or worked for you.
Get out of bed, put a smile on your face, and make today your own.
Until next time,
Mrs Yolo xoxo