My Thirty-Something Identity Crisis

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Here I am in my thirties and I’m still hearing this inner voice asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Deep down, I’m realizing that I’m still trying to figure it out. I am trying to find that sweet spot, that “perfect” job where I can be a mom and be doing something I truly love. Ryan’s mom from “Ryan’s World” made it happen, maybe there’s luck for the rest of us.

Ever feel like there’s more out there intended for you? Do you have a wish for yourself that you’ve never even said out loud? Feeling like your meant for something more? Well, now I officially sound like an infomercial, but this topic has been on my heart and I want to share my thoughts with you.

Growing up I guess I had a pretty basic career plan:
Step 1: Decide what I want to be
Step 2: Go to College
Step 3: Work 9-5 Monday through Friday
Step 4: Retire 50+ Years Later

Well, after accomplishing steps 1 through 3, I’ve found that becoming a mom really threw a wrench in my plans. When I had my daughter I continued to work as an elementary school teacher. The hours were great, the stress level was low, but so was the paycheck. After baby number two came along, I just couldn’t justify working and spending the majority of my paycheck on daycare. I loved having a career because it felt like my own little world and I wasn’t just labeled “MOM”. Sometimes, it felt easier to take care thirty second graders than the isolation of being home with just one baby. Please don’t judge me on this, it’s just how I felt. The guilt was real too and I didn’t want to miss out on spending time with my kids. But, at the same time I wanted to have something for myself. It’s another one of those back-and-forth things we as moms torment ourselves with. I’m guessing most of you can somewhat relate. When I was working, I missed being at home, and when I was at home, I missed working.

Fast forward to right now and it’s been my first year stepping back from teaching and spending my days at home full-time with my kids. Am I grateful that I have the opportunity to be home with my kids? Absolutely. Do I love it? Well, the answer isn’t so black and white. The response I feel like I’m supposed to say when people ask how I like being at home is “Yes, I just love it so much.” But really sometimes I just want to tell them how in reality I’ve turned into a human jungle gym, professional mac and cheese maker, and quite honestly finding myself in the middle of an identity crisis.

There is no easy balance being a mom and having a career. As moms, we have got to support each other. A mom who stays home is not “better” than a mom that also has a career. A mom who stays home is not “less than” because she isn’t bringing home a paycheck. A lot of moms are working more than one job because they don’t have any other options, and are still incredible moms. And let’s not dismiss the added chaos of the pandemic we’re dealing with. We are all great moms and we are all doing the best we can. Now, more than ever, we have options to create balance in our life that we find ourselves lacking.

Shoutout to the moms out there who have landed that rare unicorn job they love and fulfills them instead of drains them. All I’ve got to say is “You go Glen Coco!” (If you know, you know, if not…please disregard). But, a little louder to the moms out there still trying to figure it all out. Don’t give up on trying to figure it out! I still am! And I’m just planning to take it one day at a time.

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Kristen is a midwest-minded mom who moved from Nebraska to Arizona in 2010. She met her husband, Alex, in high school and after finishing college they made the move to the desert to start new roots in Mesa. Formerly an elementary teacher, she is new to the role of stay at home mom and still trying to adjust to the changes and new levels of exhaustion that have come along with it. Growing up in a small town is a big part of why she loves the East Valley. Finding humor in motherhood keeps her life sane in the day to day with her sassy, but oh so sweet toddler Amelia and blue eyed, baby boy Cohen. Trying her best to embrace the chaos of life with little ones, she loves a good home DIY project, date nights, and traveling with her family. She is a latte drinking, toddler chasing mom who loves to surround herself with other moms who dislike laundry, decaf coffee, and changing diapers as much as she does.

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