After I gave birth to my baby girl in July 2022, I went on a two-months maternity break. During that time, not only was I recovering from my caesarean section, but I was also itching to get back to work. I have always been a career-driven person. My friends joked that I was always busy doing something new, never in the same spot. So, when I decided to quit my job less than two months after returning to work, it was a surprise, even for me. I never thought I would be quitting my job for my baby, but here I am, putting a pause on my career.
For a couple of weeks before making this decision, I was going back and forth in my head.
Are you seriously considering this? How will this affect your family financially? What's going to happen to your career growth? How long do you plan to stay at home? Are you sure this is not going to affect your professional growth?
Even up until the day I told my ex-manager that I was quitting, I still had some sort of doubt in my head. But, I went along with that decision.
Yes, I could’ve made it work.
A lot of working women return to their careers after having kids. My mum was one of them – she was a full-on professional and corporate woman, and she was good at it. I knew that if I continued and chose to stay with my job, I could make it out OK. We could make it work out. I could’ve still figure something out and made it work.
After all, my mum made it work, and a lot of my friends made it work. So why couldn’t I?
But I chose not to.
I chose to quit my job for my baby.
I chose to put a pause on my career.
I chose to put my baby first before myself.
Am I doing the right decision? Who knows?
Maybe this affect my career growth negatively. Maybe I get so accustomed to being a stay at home mom that I forgo all my career ambitions and just feel comfortable with what I have now. Or maybe, I’m just more cut out to work than staying at home. Who knows?
But is that really a bad thing?
I chose to quit my job for my baby, and that’s OK.
I heard some whispers around me when I decided to quit my job. It was a relatively well-paid job with a lot of growth potential. I was good at what I do, and I had a pretty good future in front of me.
One comment that I heard about my decision (though it wasn’t said directly to my face, but instead to someone close to me) was on how it was such a waste that I am quitting my job and leaving my career behind to stay home for the baby.
To a certain extent, I can understand how some people may view this as a waste. After all, it’s a modern world where women professionals are killing it in their careers. There are daycares and nannies who can take care of our babies when we work.
But I decided that I wanted to put my baby first, and if that meant putting a pause in my career, then so be it.
Making that decision was hard, but I stand by it.
Sure, our financials took a big hit when I decided to quit my job. I was earning quite a lot, and we were moving into our new house with a new baby. Expenses are going up, and me quitting my job meant readjusting some of our finances and commitments.
(side note: Alhamdulillah for supportive families that allowed us to take this route. Not every family will have the support or privilege to do this, and I am very well aware of this fact).
But it was still one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life and one that I will make again and again.
Nothing beats waking up in the morning to the sweet smile on little Aina’s face and seeing her grow right in front of me every day. Of course, I miss working and meeting my colleagues and sometimes staying at home drives my brain mad. I miss adult conversations during the day, which drives me nut and causes me to binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy just to fill the void.
But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What about my career growth?
Well, the fun thing is – career growths are super flexible, especially in these times. Gone are the days that you have to chase vertical career growths to be considered as successful. And, in my line of work (education or coaching), there are a lot of things that I can do remotely.
My coaching business can still be done from home (more to come soon, we’re working on launching it properly in a while!). I can still find opportunities for remote, freelance consulting work that allow me the flexibility to work from home and on my own time.
But, for now, I want to take it a little slow. I want to enjoy the time with little Aina while she is still little. I want to take a break mentally (especially since I’ve been so career-driven in the past few years), and I want to let myself rest. While I will still pursue my coaching business and find contract remote roles, I won’t push myself as hard as I used to because I realized how close to burning out I was. I was constantly pushing myself, over-performing, and over-delivering at work that I feel tired and losing myself.
So, for now, my career is on pause.
Quitting my job for my baby was not an easy decision to make. But I stand by it and fully support anyone out there who made the same decision – whether by force or by choice.
Whatever your situation is, just remember one thing. You know yourself (and your family) best, so stand by your decision and do what’s best for you.
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