I knew I was going to become a mom. I had 9 months to come to that realization, and by the end, the jabs in the ribs I was trying to fall asleep were a constant reminder of the excitement (and unknown) ahead. I knew that, Lord willing, I’d come out of the hospital with my daughter.
What I didn’t realize is that the old me was left somewhere inside those hospital walls.
Motherhood rocked my world. It cracked the shell of who I was (and hey – I liked her a lot), and left me desperately trying to figure out – who am I now? I’ve spent the past two years trying to figure that out, and I am left with only one conclusion: we are ever-evolving, and that’s a good thing. But evolving is much more difficult than standing still.
When Calla was born, priorities shifted. I had a 10 year career working in software development. I debated whether to return to work after my 12-week maternity leave, and ultimately decided against it, primarily because I felt like my job wasn’t challenging – I felt like I was settling and collecting a paycheck.
I knew I was capable of more, and I was fortunate enough that I had the option to quit if I wanted to. I was very torn about the decision (honestly, I’m still not sure if it was the right one. I’m still not sure if there is a right decision. Just 2 hard ones). I decided to quit and “figure things out”. Little did I know that I’d still be figuring things out 2 years later.
Turns out the stay at home mom thing was the hardest job I’ve ever had. As an extremely independent person, it was so hard to have someone needing me so much. I used to love going networking events after work. I’d be gone from 7am-9pm out and about while I was working. Those were some of my happiest days. Staying home was a 180 from that, and it was a shock to my system.
I knew I wanted to return to work, but I wasn’t willing to be away 40+ hours a week. I ended up negotiating an IT consulting position that worked out well – I was able to work part time, hourly. The only catch is that the pay wasn’t steady since client work ebbed and flowed.
During that time, the RV/travel idea hit me like a lightning bolt one day on the couch. Something was missing – we weren’t living our lives in alignment with what’s important to us. Tim was building a gigantic, expensive shed to store more crap that we didn’t need. I could feel deep down in my gut that the shed project was all sorts of wrong, and it was a common topic of bickering for Tim and I. We had a two car, two story garage. Why did we also need a shed? We joke about it now, because that shed basically became a symbol with everything I felt strongly against.
So we decided to make the RV leap – we risked it all for a lifestyle we weren’t even sure we’d like. Sold the house, bought Trudy, renovated Trudy…and left for the lifestyle we are currently leading now.
The RV transition brought along yet another career change for me. With Tim still working on the road, I had to be the main caretaker for Calla. There is no childcare available with this kind of lifestyle! I picked up some freelance SEO work, but despite having that, I was again feeling my identity crisis in full force: without a “real job”, who am I?
10 months later and we are still living in our RV experiencing life on the road, and I am still unsure what the future holds for me career-wise, identity wise. I’m hoping that you read our post on our business idea – I’m scared, but excited about what the future holds. Maybe that will be part of my future identity, who knows?
I’ve been so fortunate to have space open in my life after I had Calla – space to explore what’s important to me, the mark I want to leave on this world, to evaluate if how I spend my time is lining up with my priorities. This has led to a life I’ve never imagined, traveling around the US in our tiny home.
I can’t tell you what my career is. It’s very strange to be void of such a defining characteristic in our society. I’ve learned that I am more than my career – but I’m still not sure how to define myself when people ask the question, “So, what do you do for work?” And that’s been really hard for me.
I’m starting to wonder if an “identity crisis” isn’t a crisis at all, and is instead an opportunity to redefine yourself. Without motherhood shattering the old me into a million pieces, I don’t believe I would have ever had this chance. And I’m rebuilding my definition, one piece at a time.