These notes of encouragement for moms are from Empowerhood, a series that originated in our newsletter and is now being turned into a podcast. Each week a REAL mama shares an experience within motherhood that changed them as a mom. It could be a mistake, a crazy birth story, financial difficulty, infertility, loss, abuse, addiction, a career choice, divorce, you name it. We all have a story and putting it out there for others to hear and know they are not alone is truly empowering. There is no shame in struggle, only learning and growth. When the words hit the paper you can let it all go. We are all in this together. Sign up here to receive these inspiring stories every Monday morning.
If you have a story that could encourage and help other mamas, please reach out to me. I tell each of my moms; you do not have to be a writer, or use correct grammar. Just say what feels true in your heart, and what might feel hard to put out into the world. The hard things always set us free.
Holly Rodriguez as our guest this week. Holly worked her dream job as prosecutor for the state of Texas in Children’s and sex crimes. When her husband then became a NFL coach, they not only had to move twice(once with an infant, the 2nd time during covid on a plane with two small children and a cat!). But she also had to leave the job she loved and stay at home with her two boys. Talk about encouragement for moms! Her story is so compelling and relatable… let’s dive in!
As an attorney out of law school I started my dream job as a prosecutor. My husband, who is a football coach, and I knew we would have to move, probably multiple times, because of his career. But for the first eight years of our marriage we were blessed to stay at the same school and me at the same job. I distinctly remember telling one of the other coaches wives at a tailgate, “how can you not work? I can’t imagine not having my career and being a stay-at-home mom.”
Fast forward five years, and I became a mother. Caleb was six weeks away from being born and my husband got that opportunity that every football coach dreams about…the NFL. He left immediately for the new job in Minnesota and I stayed for the first eighteen months of Caleb’s life in Texas. Although being alone, the work life balance wasn’t bad after having my son.
Once we were all together in Minnesota it quickly became apparent that I was not going to be able to continue working as a prosecutor and I just needed to work in any legal job that I could get. I had our second son, Jesse in Minnesota and was actually laid off when I was twenty weeks pregnant with him. During the four years that we lived in Minnesota, I worked three different jobs in three different legal fields, none of which I really enjoyed, and none of which paid me much money, but I felt that pressure that I couldn’t just give up my career.
Signs were telling me I should be home.
And so, with a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, 2020 came and COVID hit us, shutting down the childcare centers, and forcing me to work from home. Finishing up with my firm in Minnesota and caring for both kids all day really baptized me into the whole stay at home mom life, and it was hard! When we made a move to Arizona that summer, I had every intention of working in Arizona, but life had something different planned. I wasn’t able to get work as my Arizona bar license was delayed because of covid staffing issues.
My son started kindergarten that fall in person and we decided to only send Jesse to preschool part time since I was at home and it would save money. I got into the routine of hockey practice, baseball practice, school events and volunteering at their schools, and it was fun. I was happy. Who knew I could be happy without that traditional career I thought I always wanted. When my bar license finally came through in January of 2021 we decided to keep me home as it was the middle of the school year. But when May came, and we crunched numbers and really laid out how much money we would have to spend and how much time I would be missing with my boys, it made sense for me to continue to stay home.
“You plan and God laughs”
I can’t imagine not being able to be there at 4:45pm hockey practices, or not taking them to their hitting classes at 4pm during the week. Never mind be late to their 5pm baseball games. If you had asked me if this would have made me happy years ago, I would have told you I wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home mom and trust me when I say it’s the hardest job I have ever had. Getting to leave the house on some days and go to work a job I am passionate about would be a welcome reprieve from tantrums and housework and what feels like endless chauffeur trips. But being there when they get in the car after school each day and have them so excited to tell me about their days is the best feeling.
They say “you plan and God laughs” and I know God has had more than a few laughs at my expense, but I know that my most important work right now is at home with them. At one point working was what my family needed. Now realizing that I don’t want or need it “all” and that I am happy having had the opportunity to work my dream job, and now I have moved into a different phase of life, is completely freeing.
Advice for the tired moms out there
The truth is whether you are a working Mother or stay at home Mom, if you wake up every morning with the intention of trying your best to be better than you were yesterday, and you give motherhood your all no matter the circumstances, then you are a good mom. It doesn’t matter how your baby is fed, or schooled, all that matters is that they feel their mothers love. Stop sweating the small stuff and just show up for them, learn with them, forgive with them and grow together. Your presence alone is enough.
Stay tuned for more incredible stories that will be posted here each week. In addition, keep an eye out for the Empowerhood Podcast coming Summer 2023! Subscribe here to be the first to read these inspiring stories and also get limited time deals on all of our Pediatric Sleep and Women’s Health Programs.