Mourning My Work Identity


As with most parenting choices, working or staying home is a decision you have to make based on what is best for your family. When I found out I was having twins, it didn’t fit with my pre-parent vision of having one baby sometime during the winter or spring, taking the rest of the school year off from teaching, and returning to work in September (oh, young, naïve me!). I questioned whether I could leave not one, but two babies at daycare while I went to work. Would paying for childcare for two infants even make sense financially? Are these going to be our only children, or will I have another chance to stay home in the future? When my twins were born in July, I decided to take the whole school year off for maternity leave. Staying home with the babies felt like the right choice for me and made the most sense for our family.

I recently received paperwork asking if I’m returning to work in September, requesting another year off, or resigning my teaching position. Since I became a mom, I’ve known in my heart that I need more time at home with my babies, so I am requesting another year off — which may or may not be granted. Even though I’ve been sure of my decision for some time, it surprised me how bittersweet it was to fill out the form saying I won’t be back at work in September.

All year, I’ve been calling myself an elementary library teacher who is on maternity leave. As I filled out my paperwork, I realized I’ve become a stay-at-home mom. With this revelation, I am finding myself mourning my work identity, even if it’s only gone temporarily.

Being a library teacher was really important to who I was before kids. I enjoyed going to work every day and talking about books, reading with the students, and teaching kids how to be researchers. I had amazing colleagues who supported me, mentored me, and became good friends. My job was also my hobby. At home I spent a lot of my free time planning interactive lessons or creating materials and activities for my students, connecting with other librarians on social media, or blogging about teaching in the library. I presented at state and national conferences about the things going on in my library, and I loved networking with other librarians. Everything work-related came to a pretty abrupt halt with the arrival of my babies, and I’m just now realizing that I miss that part of my life.

Despite some hard days (hello, teething!) and missing my work life now and then, becoming a stay-at-home mom has been the right choice for me. I love being with my babies all day, watching them master new skills and learn about the world around them, and taking them on little adventures (even a trip to Target is an adventure with twins!). I’m too busy to ever be bored, especially now that the babies are mobile and the weather is getting nice enough to spend time outside. I really can’t imagine being away from them all day, but now and then I still get a pang of longing to be a library teacher again.

For now, I’m going to embrace my stay-at-home-mom identity. I’m going to focus on enjoying my babies, meeting and connecting with other mamas, and exploring new creative outlets, like writing and sewing. I know the library and teaching worlds will be there when I want to return to them.

If you’re a SAHM, how did you adjust to your new identity?



  1. Jess, Enjoy it now as long as you can! They all grow up so fast and off they go to Russia! It really does go too fast! We have them for so short of time so the longer you can enjoy the better! Just tell Ben to work 2 jobs!!!!!

  2. Jen,this is a great decision for you. When your kids are older you will go back to being a library teacher and it will all fit in nicely. You might have to play a little bit of catch-up, but who knows maybe we will have flexible scheduling by then and a whole new maker space environment will be more realistic .( notice I still said we.) I am in another stage of life and it is still hard for me not to be there every day although I love my retirement life. But while Felicia is out I have reprised my library life and embraced it again. It feels good .

  3. Good for you Jess. You won’t regret the decision. There are always careers but there aren’t always all the firsts for your babies that you will share. Your babies are so precious.

  4. So glad you wrote this. I kept wondering when I checked your library blog if you had decided to become a stay at home mom. I have loved reading your library blog, and I’ve learned a lot from it.

    I know you miss your career, but your precious time with your little people is the best! I’m glad you chose the right path for your family and I look forward to reading about your library adventures in the years to come.

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