Five years ago, I left my full-time job as an editor at a publishing company to go to Korea to pick up our daughter HJ. She was 15 months old. I had waited over a year for her to come home, and I was more than ready to be a full-time stay-at-home. At the time, I thought there was nothing else that I wanted than to be home with my daughter every possible moment.
We had a lot of help from family and friends during that transition home, but for that first year, I was still a very anxious, first-time mom trying to survive from moment to moment.
I still remember how challenging it was to even try to figure out when I could take a shower. I actually called my dad to come over and watch HJ, who was napping, so that I could take a shower without worrying about what would happen if she woke up and started crying. That’s how crazy I was during those first few days.
A few months later, when the dust had settled, I realized that I really wanted to start working again, even if it was just at a freelance level and from home, so that I could keep my skills up and keep my brain occupied with thoughts other than sleeping, pacifiers, attachment, feeding, and whatever various baby/toddler concerns were going on at the time.
I don’t know if it was the combination of post-adoption blues, the shock of becoming an instant parent to a toddler, or simply lack of sleep, but I can honestly say I was not a great stay-at-home mom. Even though I had never thought of myself as an extrovert, suddenly being at home with just HJ made me feel more isolated than ever before. Many other experienced moms had warned me about how difficult it was being home full-time, and yet, maybe I thought I was different? Turns out they were right of course!