How I found a career path I adore: stay-at-home mom

I stopped doing a job I really didn’t love for one that brings me profound meaning: motherhood. 

How I found a career path I adore: stay-at-home mom

It may be strange to think, but I never considered that quitting a job would lead me closer to one—or to myself. Only gradually did I learn that time at home could teach me so much about time in the office.

During my college years, I studied hard to obtain my degree, never giving a thought to marriage, let alone motherhood!

I was focused on getting a degree so that once I graduated I could work my dream job (never mind that I still had no idea what that might be).

Even when my husband and I got engaged, and basically right up to our wedding day, I was intent on being a career woman. I didn’t want to have kids, and even if I did, I told my husband, I was going to work at least part-time, if not full-time. I didn’t see myself giving up my professional life once I had kids, but rather continuing to work and building a career.

All my thinking changed when I got pregnant and was suddenly faced with the reality of adding a child to our family.

Throughout my pregnancy, I worked full-time at a nonprofit organization. While it definitely helped pay the bills, it wasn’t a job that I was attached to; the role had nothing to do with my degree, the work environment was not especially friendly and it wasn’t even close to my “dream job” (which, go figure, I still hadn't discovered yet).

Staying at home, I found out, gave me time to reflect on this aspect of my life a bit more and answer some big questions, including: What do I intend to do with my one life?

Soon enough, after trying to imagine what this would look like for us, overwhelmed with how in the world we were going to make it all work, I knew.

I knew I couldn’t keep working.

I knew I needed to be home with my first child. If we could make it work financially, I was going to stay home. I guess you could call it a motherly instinct.

While my mind changed about the whole SAHM thing, making it a reality was still out of reach; I would have to wait a while longer while we adjusted our finances. I had returned to work soon after my short maternity leave, but I was left with an ache in my heart.

During the day at work, I craved with all my being to hold my daughter in my arms, to simply look into her eyes—and to be there for her to look into mine.

I was grateful for my family’s help with babysitting, and they did such a splendid job. But I couldn’t help feeling it was meant to be my job and no one else’s.

I wanted to bear the burden of doing the difficult work of raising my child. I wanted to nurse her and introduce her to the rhythms of nourishment and life; I wanted to put in the hours to practice cooking and spend more time making a home not just for my baby but for my husband, too. I realized that I wanted a simpler, slower life.

My husband got a new job that could better support us, which also made us feel more confident about our decision. We re-budgeted and slimmed down on nonessential goods, such as cable and internet.

After more discussion, some practical planning and a leap of faith, we came to the conclusion that it was time for me to leave my job.

So I quit.

I stopped doing a job I really didn’t love for one that brings me profound meaning: motherhood.

I immediately felt a great deal less stress no longer having to juggle two jobs, as an employee and a mother. I had more time to bond with our little girl, I didn’t have to pump extra milk for the sitters and I took advantage of some obvious perks: lazing around in my pajamas all day long, napping during baby’s naptime, watching the tube, drinking coffee. My life is more peaceful and purposeful. It’s not always easy, but it brings me great joy.

Altogether I felt a new sense of freedom and vocation. I now had time to discover myself – and there was much more to uncover than I had realized: what skills I wanted to keep practicing or develop, how my values and priorities changed, and where my place was as a wife, mother and homemaker.

This season of personal growth enabled me to branch out and explore activities and endeavors that I never took the time to develop before, for example, blogging, photography, my faith, natural home solutions and the benefits of organic eating. I recognized how much I enjoyed the role of mother and continued to research new subjects that were of interest to me as it related to baby and motherhood, such as breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, appropriate milestone developments, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, how to embrace my vulnerabilities (see: Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly), and the realization that “homemaker” has many different meanings depending on which person, man or woman, you are talking to.

I was so relieved that I could take a break from a career that wasn’t meaningful to me. It was as if my previous disinterest in this SAHM life almost precisely set me up to experience the joy at the opposite end of the spectrum. This life as a stay-at-home mom, it is so good for me.

It’s funny how life clarified things for me. With all the distractions of my own limited desires washed away in the course of that year, I had that peaceful, clear, giving, so familiar and yet completely new desire: that this is my calling for this season of life, to be a mother.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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