My Unexpected Journey to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Leaving the corporate world to become a Stay at Home Mom was an easy decision that surprised me more than anyone. If you would have asked me  about my career plans 7 months ago, right before Blake was born, I would tell you that I planned to keep working and building my career. You see, I’ve always had a job ever since I was 14 years old. The day I turned 14 and was of legal age to work in California, I marched myself into Baskin Robbins/Togos and got myself a minimum-wage job scooping ice cream and making sandwiches – I was ecstatic for a paycheck all my own!

I continued working through my high school graduation and then moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University where I found 2 more jobs that allowed me to put myself through college. At times it was difficult to juggle class, selling advertising space for SDSU’s school newspaper during the day and waitressing at night and on the weekends – but I managed to graduate in four years. The week before I threw my black hat up into the air and celebrated my college graduation, I had already received a job offer from a company in Orange County as an entry-level sales and marketing associate.  It was a great first corporate job and despite me living in San Diego, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I commuted to Orange County bright and early every morning because I felt lucky to have landed a job straight out of college.



As the years passed I continued to bounce around from job to job, pushing myself higher and higher, gaining more real-world experience and building more equity in myself. When I landed my dream job with Hyatt Hotels, I thought, I’ve made it – this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Flash forward four years later and I was running the marketing department at one of the largest properties on the west coast. Nice suits, a new slick car I bought for myself and an office with a view – I felt important, driven and had big plans to keep scaling that corporate ladder.

The point of all this is that working is in my blood, my DNA, and I’ve worked hard for everything I have.  I don’t know how to not work. So when Blake graced us with her presence last November, I honestly didn’t think my mindset would change all that much. I had an amazing job waiting for me and big plans for my future. And taking into account all of my hard work, since I was 14 years old, how could I turn my back on my self-bought education and all of the years I spent investing in myself?

It’s funny how becoming a parent makes you blind and awakened at the same time. Once Blake was born, something changed in me. I wanted to be there when she laughed for the first time, when she said her first word and when she took her first step – I wanted to raiser her. I could care less about my journey to success – I suddenly was blind to all of those years I spent building my career – they didn’t matter as much to me anymore.   This little family that Mike and I had suddenly created – this was where I was supposed to be. It was so crystal clear and I didn’t doubt it for a second. I was also extremely lucky that I even had the option of becoming a stay-at-home-mom. I know many mothers don’t have that option because of financial reasons or don’t want to put their career on hold, and I totally get it and sympathize with them – but everyone has their own journey.

The Journey is the Destination

I love the quote, “The journey is the destination”. Even though I had bigger plans for my career, I didn’t miss out on the destination – my journey was the destination – and a destination that led me to a beautiful life, loving husband and adorable baby girl.  Now, I still do some marketing consulting on the side and of course I run this blog as a creative outlet, (remember, I don’t know how to not work?) but my full time job is raising Little Miss Blake. And forget fancy suits and an office with a view – this is the most important job I’ll ever have.

Pre-order my book, From Boardroom to Baby: A Roadmap for Career Women Transitioning to Stay-at-Home Moms



stay at home mom

 

Rookie Mom Challenge #2: Join a Mom’s Group

A new week, a new Rookie Mom challenge complete! If you’re a new follower, then take a quick look here why I’m completing 52 weeks of Rookie Mom Challenges thanks to the Rookie Mom’s and their fabulous (and fun) suggestions.

This week Blake and I completed our second challenge – joining a Mom’s Group. Based on the helpful tip from the Rookie Moms I searched for Mom groups on Meetup.com. After typing in my location, one group caught my eye: New Moms with Babies Born in Late 2013/Early 2014. Check and check!

The First Meet Up….almost

I happily signed Blake and I up for their next meet up which consisted of lunch at Tin Leaf Fresh Kitchen (one of my favorite lunch spots which confirmed that I was truly in the right group here).

When last Thursday rolled around, I dressed Blake up in a cute little outfit, packed her diaper bag, brushed my hair (I know…crazy!) strapped her in her car seat and was about to load us into the car when I thought – let me just check to make sure it’s at 12 noon. Much to my terror, the meetup was at 12 noon – but on the following Thursday! Woopsies – I’ll chalk this one up to lack of sleep!

And with Blake in a cute outfit (and not crying) and mommy with makeup on (say what!) we called Daddy and met him for lunch instead – so not all was lost!

Baby Girl Outfit

The Real First Meet Up: The Sky is Falling!

Alrighty, flash forward to this week and the ACTUAL first meet up date with our group. Again, Blake=cute outfit, Mommy=makeup. Just as I was about to put Blake in her car seat to leave, she spit up all over my sweater and hair. For a good 5 seconds I contemplated changing my shirt and rinsing my hair but then quickly decided that if these other women DIDN’T smell like baby spit up, I would question their parenting – and with that, we got into the car and were on our way.

About half way there it started raining and my initial reaction was sheer panic. (Before you roll your eyes, please note: we live in San Diego where rain or any other type of “weather” is extremely rare). Thoughts running through my head: Blake’s never been in the rain, I don’t have an umbrella, she doesn’t have a rain coat, can my stroller go in the rain? After a very-hurried unload process, I had successfully locked Blake’s car seat into the stroller, covered it all with a blanket and began running through the rain to the restaurant. When we got into the restaurant I frantically peeled back the blanket to look at her and then smiled in triumph – dry as a whistle!

The Real First Meet Up: Stroller Chaos

We had all originally planned to sit out on the back patio of Tin Leaf where we could easily fit all of our strollers near a table, but, again – the rain surprised everyone so we were stuck inside, which was quite cramped. After about 30 minutes of trying to find a table that would fit the 4 of us and our (huge) strollers with babies inside – the manager came over and asked us to put our strollers outside because of fire code and something about us blocking the exit of the restaurant. Another 15 minutes and we all managed to unload our car seats, place them in upside down high chairs (this was a first for me) and wheel our strollers outside. Phew, what an ordeal.

The Real First Meet Up: First Time Moms

Everything was smooth and wonderful from that point forward. I so enjoyed the conversation with these other women (all first time moms too) and it was great to hear that they were all going through the same ups, downs, confusion and triumphs as I was. We all went around the table and told our birth stories, compared notes on baby development, the struggles and solutions with breastfeeding,  sleeping strategies and recommended baby gear brands. We even had time to talk non-baby for a few minutes – what colleges we attended, about our careers and where we go to get our hair done (you know – the important stuff). 😉 Best part of all – 3 of the 4 babies slept through the lunch (Blake included). I’ll take those odds any day.

I was very happy that I had a lot in common with these women, even past the fact that we were all first time moms. And with a new meet up date in our calendars (next Tuesday at the park), Blake and I headed sprinted back to the car through the rain – me all smiles and B still fast asleep. :)

Mommy Playdate
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Rookie Mom Challenge #1: Pretend You’re in Europe

I’m excited to announce that I am partnering with the site Rookie Moms and will be documenting some of the “52 Weekly Challenges for Rookie Moms”. I must say I’ve been a little hesitant terrified to leave the house and go out into the world on my own with Blake. What if she started screaming in public and everyone started looking, judging (look at the baby, look at the baby)?! When I came across Rookie Mom’s 52 Weekly Challenges for new moms to complete, I thought what better way to get Blake and me out of the house and push me out of my comfort zone just a bit. Plus, I always love a good challenge. :)

So, my lovely partner in crime, Miss Blake, and I will be completing some of these weekly challenges and I will be sure to share the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m happy to report that we’re starting out on the right foot because this first challenge was a great one!

Rookie Mom Challenge #1: Pretend You’re in Europe

Getting out of the house…

This first activity challenged Blake and I to go to a local cafe and leisurely drink coffee and people watch, as if we were in Europe. Sounds simple enough, so we began our excursion. As with any outing, I have to mentally plan out how I’m going to get Blake in her car seat and into the car, pack the diaper bag, fold up the stroller and put it in the trunk of the car, and lure the dog out into the backyard (with a bone of course), all within a 2 minute time frame before Blake starts crying and realizes she is in her car seat. (If only there was a hidden camera watching this debacle every time). Thankfully, today’s execution was smooth and we successfully left the house all in tact. Blake only cried for a few minutes before the movement of the car put her to sleep: success!

Rookie Mom

Vanilla Latte, s’il vous plaît…

I chose Cafe Ipe to act as our “European Cafe” since they have tables outside and a great breakfast and lunch menu. I was also extremely happy to learn that they offer almond milk in their lattes – this fact alone will keep me coming back here on a weekly basis! I successfully ordered my latte and a turkey sandwich (in a to-go container and cup just in case Blake stared wailing and we had to abort the mission FAST) and we sat outside on the patio with Blake in her stroller.  Miss Blake slept through the entire thing, leaving me time to people watch and enjoy my almond milk vanilla latte and the best turkey sandwich I’ve had in a long time.

Mommy Project San Diego   Mommy Project San Diego

Ocean Views…

Half way through my sandwich I had a great idea to push my luck a little further and walk up the hill behind the coffee shop to take in some views of the ocean that just happened to be about 2 blocks away.

Luck was on my side today because she slept through the little walk as well and we hung out at the lookout point enjoying the views of the beautiful Pacific. It was one of those moments I’ll always remember – the first day I successfully took Blake to see the ocean, just the two of us.

Rookie Moms

Thank you, Rookie Moms for getting us out of the house – if it hadn’t been for you, we might have missed this view today…

Rookie Moms

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To My Baby Girl…

To My Sweet Baby Girl…

The colors and textures of your nursery are not just any design thrown together; each piece is a symbol of my hopes and dreams for you and your perspective on life as your grow:

Baby Girl's Nursery Inspiration

ANTIQUE WHITE * RUFFLE PINK * SILVER BLING

ANTIQUE WHITE

* I hope you never forget your roots.

* I hope you stay down to earth and never think the world owes you anything.

* I hope that if you want something, you work hard to obtain it.

* I hope you’re not afraid to get dirty, go camping and play sports with the boys.

* I hope you appreciate the small things in life that money can’t buy.

* I hope you never take sunsets, beaches and the ocean for granted.

* I hope you don’t take yourself or this life too seriously.

* I hope you’ll never judge anyone at first glance.

* I hope you keep your balance – life will try to teeter-totter you in extreme directions.

* I hope that if you end up regretting something, you find a way to fix it enough so you can find peace within yourself.

 

RUFFLE PINK

* I hope that you make wishes on shooting stars, dandelions, and pennies tossed in fountains.

* I hope you handle this life with grace, through the good times and bad.

* I hope, when you are young, that you believe in fairy dust, magic wands and all things make-believe.

* I hope you keep your manners and poise – it’s amazing how far they’ll get you in life.

* I hope you notice and appreciate nice gestures by others.

* I hope you are optimistic and always look at the glass as half full.

* I hope you keep a sense of class and dignity about you, always.

* I hope you recognize natural beauty.

* I hope you build a strong enough wall around your heart so you don’t get taken advantage of, but a weak enough wall so the right person will be able to tear it all down.

 

SILVER BLING

* I hope you have a diva side (just to keep others on their toes).

* I hope you have just enough edge to take the leap.

* I hope you dance when it rains, laugh when you fall and speak your mind when it counts.

* I hope you have a fiery side, only when it’s necessary.

* I hope you chase your dreams.

* I hope that you define your own success and then stop at nothing until it’s obtained.

* I hope that you never let anyone kill your spirit.

* I hope you have confidence but not arrogance.

* I hope you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in.

* I hope you know that you’re as good as any boy, probably better.

* I hope you never settle.

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