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On April 12, 2021, I made one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I resigned from my job of almost six years, trading my life of working outside the home for life as a stay-at-home mom. The decision to quit my job was not something I took lightly, it was multifaceted with so many different things shifting in and around me. 

As a mom working outside the home, I found myself growing weary of trying to balance work and family. As I progressed in my career, work demanded more of my energy. Oftentimes, I felt as if I wasn’t giving my best in either home or work. On top of that, I also wasn’t caring for myself well. As time went on, the work environment became more stressful, and I saw the passion for the work I was doing slowly begin to fade. I loved the people I worked with and the relationships I had built, but the work was no longer enjoyable. However, I had no idea what I desired to do next. 

As I was going through the motions at work, I was also learning more about myself, and the way I viewed myself was starting to change. It all began when I learned about the Enneagram. I remember sitting around my kitchen table with friends as they talked about their numbers. I was clueless and had no idea what they were talking about. I took a free assessment online (which I know now is not always the best way to determine your type), and I came to the conclusion that I was a 2 or maybe a 6. Who knows.

I didn’t really pursue it much more, but the topic always seemed to work its way into my conversations with friends. I marveled at how my friends had words to articulate certain things about their personality, so I eventually decided to read The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgram Cron and Suzanne Stabile, and I also started listening to their podcasts, Typology and The Enneagram Journey. Through those sources, I realized I actually identify more with Type 9, the peacemaker. 

I hated what I learned about Type 9.

Asleep to their own desires. Going along to get along. Conflict avoidant.

Maybe I disliked what I read so much because I knew all those things to be true about myself and I could identify how those personality traits and core motivations kept me stuck, chained to unrealistic expectations, and simply coasting through life. That led me down a path to really trying to identify what I wanted, what I cared about, what I needed. 

Through therapy, self-reflection, prayer, and many conversations with friends, I realized I was only staying in my job because it was comfortable. I didn’t want to rock the boat, disrupt my peace, or cause conflict for others, so I just stayed, ultimately falling asleep to my own desires. Those negative thoughts kept me in a place I didn’t want to be for far too long. 

RELATED: Dear Mama, Today You Quit Your Job to Stay Home With Your Babies

In hindsight, the thought of being a stay-at-home mom always loomed in the back of my mind. That thought slowly worked its way to the surface after having kids and even more as we began to navigate life in a pandemic, but for some reason, I never thought not working was accessible to me. I thought I had to live my life a certain way, follow a formula. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. Buy a house. Build a family. Get more degrees. Get a better job. Be happy.

Living life with those expectations was exhausting.

Trying to balance work and family seemed impossible. The scale was never balanced. It would inevitably tip one way or another. Even with creating good rhythms at home and boundaries between work and home life, I never felt at peace or settled. I always felt like I was striving for something. Something invisible and unattainable. It was tiringmentally and physically. 

After I had my daughter in 2019, I seriously started to consider how I could really make both realitiesmom life and work lifeactually work. No matter what scenario I imagined, a new, more flexible job, working closer to home, working remote, part-time work, none seemed to really feel right.

Deep down, I knew what I really wanted, but I continued to suppress it. Yet, God was faithful all the while. He continued to speak to me in so many ways. So many moments over the last two years began to confirm that I needed to be honest with what I wanted and make a decision. 

My own desires, my truth, began to spill out more and more in conversations with friends and in my own writing. The pandemic gave me the opportunity to be home with my kids and get a small taste of what the life I dreamed of could be like.

In more ways than one, I say that time at home together woke me up to my own desires. 

Earlier this year, I studied the book of Esther with friends and the big decision she faced to save her people spoke loud and clear to me. There were countless sermons, podcasts listened to, and posts read that spoke of taking steps and trusting God even when things were uncertain. The wise counsel of friends who knew me well spurred me closer to my next step. My husband affirmed my desire and showed me what was possible. My kids were excited about being home with me. My own growing discomfort at work propelled me even further. My own mental health became more important to me.

I knew I had to take a step into unknown territory to experience what God had waiting for me on the other side of my decision. 

At the beginning of April, I finally decided I wanted to quit my job. I figured I would resign in May with a three-week notice because it was a natural transition period that would allow me to ease into stay-at-home life over the summer before my son started kindergarten.

But sitting for that long with the decision to resign was absolute torture. I couldn’t look at or talk to my coworkers each day knowing I was holding on to this secret. It was causing too much stress. I needed to get it over with. So on April 12, filled with a mountain of different emotions, I resigned. It was the hardest, but best decision I have made in a long time.

I wish I could tell you that after that day I felt lighter and freer, but the weeks following were a struggle. So much stress had built up that I battled anxiety and panic attacks for weeks after. As I got closer and closer to my last day of work, I struggled with thinking about what would be on the other side of this decision.

The hardest part was not knowing what would come next. 

I found myself worrying about what it would look like to re-enter the workforce. Will I find a job? Will I have the experience and connections I need for the next opportunity? What’s the timing of that?

I had to remind myself that all of those things were not important at the moment. I hadn’t even stepped into the thing I was stepping into, and I was already focused on the chapter beyond. I had to constantly remind myself to rest in the uncertainty. Focus on right now. To look forward with anticipation but not speculation. I didn’t need to have anything else figured out. I had to take this transition in strides. As it comes. One step at a time. 

RELATED: It’s OK to Stay Home, Mama

Another challenge was overcoming the comments about my decision from others. 

“You’ll be bored.”

“I give you five months. You’ll be ready to go back to work.” 

“They’ll convince you to stay.”  

I found myself letting those comments get in my head and discourage me, but my friends reminded me I couldn’t let the words of others have power over me.

I knew what God was calling me to do at this moment, even if others didn’t understand. 

As of this month, it’s been about seven months since I made the leap and quit my job. I don’t regret it one bit. Sure, I’ve struggled to find my rhythm and have had many negative thoughts and emotions along the way, but it has been the best decision for me and my family.

We’ve seen God provide new friends, opportunities for connection, and meet our needs financially. It’s been such a blessing to have more space to breathe and just be. I’ve learned so much about myself.

Someone told me I was brave when I told them about my decision to quit. I never saw myself that way. But I now have evidence to prove that I am capable of making hard decisions. I am capable of listening to my own desires and forging a new path forward for myself. I am much stronger than I knew. I’m carrying all I’ve learned with me into 2022 and beyond. 

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Sierra Sullivan

Sierra Sullivan is a wife and mom passionate about telling stories to inspire and encourage others. After years of “balancing” life as a working mom, she decided to take a career pause to intentionally focus on her family. When she’s not chasing her little ones, she enjoys a hot cup of tea, reading, listening to podcasts, documentaries, yoga, and walks with friends.

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