Commitment-Phobe Who am I?
Quitting the day job is hard work
As I left work, people congratulated me on my decision to focus on my family. Some said they wished they had done the same when their children were young. I looked forward to leaving behind the heavy load of guilt that is carried by the working parent, but I knew that it would be replaced with another type of guilt. And I started to feel a strange sort of performance anxiety: What if I didn’t like being a stay-at-home mum?
After the initial excitement of having more one-on-one time with my daughter, doubts started to nag at me. I spent about a week online-window-shopping, late at night, obsessing about what clothes to wear for the role of mum. This was time I could have spent praying, reading the Bible and sleeping.
Now that I would be earning less, I found myself adding clothes to virtual shopping baskets and sometimes following through. This late night shopping spree was an attempt to create a persona through clothes – a uniform of sorts – because without the identity of work, I no longer knew who I was. I wasn’t sure that defining myself as a mother and nothing else suited me; in fact, it scared me. I had been working for money since I was 14 years old. I had come to associate work with who I was: “A hard worker”. Without that anchor, I wasn’t sure where my stability lay. …
This is an extract from the October 2015 edition of Reform.