If you’ve been reading MIS for the past few months, you know all about my “Diary of a Working Mom” series. It’s very near and dear to my heart because I’m a working mom and these women are my tribe!
But over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories I want to share on here, and while working mama stories will always be #1 because that’s my personal vantage point, I want to show the various sides of motherhood and what that means to different people. For example, today we have my good friend Jenny sharing her SAHM story (more on that in a minute). I also have a momtrepreneur lined up to do the same in a couple of weeks.
If I’ve learned anything at all in the past 14 months, it’s this – my mamahood circle needs to/should include mamas from every walk of life, professions, age group, etc. If you want in, I want you here! Regardless of our story, we all have a lot to share and give. And when it comes to the SAHM vs. the working mom debate, it’s not something that should be debated IMO. We’re all doing the best we can for our babies and ourselves. Every mother’s decision is her own, and she shouldn’t be judged for it! PERIOD.
That thought is what brings Jenny to MIS today. So…I don’t know how to give this introduction any justice but I’ll try! Jenny and I have known each other for 16 years! We met my freshman year of college (her sophomore) and it was honestly friendship at first sight. We both ended up majoring in Finance and taking a ton of classes together and the rest is history…16 years of history to be exact.
Jenny’s little boy Noah was born a little over a month before Kaiden, so now we’re sharing the motherhood major as well! Jenny (and her husband/our good friend Jimi) is the most down to earth, funny, and relatable (she’s also #marriedtomedicine) person I know. She’s an open book when it comes to any questions I have, and she doesn’t hide the fact that while this journey is an amazing one, it’s hard! And you guys know, I appreciate that more than anything!
I could honestly go on and on about Mrs. Malik, but I’ll let her do the talking instead!
1. Share a bit about you – family info, pre-baby work life, Jimi’s profession and how it impacts you, etc.
Hi MIS Community! My name is Jenny Malik, my husband’s name is Jimi, and we have a 15 month old named Noah. Prior to making the decision to stay at home with Noah, I worked as a Financial Consultant with CDC on various projects in Atlanta for 7 years, and then switched gears and became an Operations Manager at Raymond James in Albany, GA for almost 4 years. Jimi is a physician who is currently completing a one year Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. We’re thankful because this fellowship has allowed us a little more time together as a family and we hope that the next job will allow for the same. As a Hospitalist Director before fellowship, Jimi worked at least 2 weekends a month, 12 hour day/night shifts, and many holidays,leaving him less time with us. Although the fellowship is busy with weekday and weekend call, Jimi is able to see Noah at the end of the day because he gets off of work at a more reasonable hour so that makes me incredibly happy.
2. How long have you been a SAHM and what prompted you to stay home with your baby?
I have been a SAHM for 15 months since Noah was born in May 2017. There were a lot of different factors that went into our decision for me to stay at home, but I think the biggest one was quality time. Jimi and I always talk about how when we’re on our deathbeds, we won’t say that we wished we had worked more, received that promotion, or made more money… instead, we will wish we had more time with the people we love.
3. Walk me through a day in your life.
There have been a lot of fluctuations over the course of Noah’s short lifetime on what a “normal” day looks like, but our day now typically starts at 6:30/7:00am. Jimi will get ready for work and will be there by 7:30am on most days. Now that Noah is 15 months, he’s a lot more interactive which makes the day go by more quickly and, in general, is a lot more fun. I’ll be honest, newborn days went by really slow for me, but I do miss the cuddles :). We’ll play, read, dance, sing, or run errands when Noah isn’t taking one of his two naps. When he is napping, I’ll try to take care of things around the house or relax for a bit (cook, clean, laundry, vacuum, watch a show, bake, etc.). The evenings get busier because once Jimi comes home from work, we’ll have family dinner, Noah’s bathtime, play/read together, and Noah’s bedtime at 7:45pm. Jimi and I will spend our uninterrupted quality time together after Noah is in bed. We’ll catch up on the day, eat dinner (if we haven’t been able to already) and if we have time, watch something together. That time with Jimi is one of my most favorite parts of the day.
4. In your opinion, what are the biggest advantages of being a SAHM?
I have really enjoyed having quality bonding time with Noah and being able to witness his first milestones. I’m also a bit of a control freak, so I like having the ability to adjust his schedule (as best you can with a young child) in case there’s an off nap or something doesn’t go quite as planned. I don’t feel rushed at the end of the day or on the weekends in that I’m able to get more done around the house during the day so that when Jimi is off, we can hang out as a family and not spend as much time on housework.
5. On the flip side, what do you consider to be the biggest disadvantages?
I have found that I can definitely get bored and miss the social interaction with other adults. Hopefully I don’t lose my ability to talk to people! If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?!? 🙂 I miss being mentally challenged like I was in the working world. I find that I always have to be “on” in that there’s no real break and you can’t leave at 5:00pm everyday. I sometimes worry that I’m not teaching Noah all that I can, or should, be teaching him. Since I’m a first time mom, I find myself having to read or talk to other moms about when kids are supposed to do certain things like use spoons to eat or potty train. There’s so much to teach these little babies!
6. How do you handle mom guilt?
Even though I’m at home with Noah everyday, I still feel mom guilt if I go out without him… it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. In these moments, I try to remember that it’s important for me to have some time for myself and it’s equally valuable for Noah to get one-on-one time with Jimi or family and friends. Thankfully, Jimi is always great about encouraging me to get out and enjoy time for myself.
7. How do you carve out me time? What does me time look like for you? What’s your guilty pleasure?
Although it’s not just “me” in this instance, I love date nights with my boo. I also enjoy a relaxing mani/pedi, baking desserts, girls nights, and watching a tv show or two. I just finished seasons 1 and 2 of Man in the High Castle and can’t wait to see what happens in season 3 this fall! Guilty pleasure – I’ve stepped up my online shopping game since I can’t always get out to the mall these days. Oh those simple joys in life… 🙂
8. What advice would you give to someone considering being a SAHM?
It’s a tough decision to make, but if you’re willing and able to (whether that be financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc.), you likely won’t regret the decision to stay at home with your child. You may love staying home and you may not, and either way, it’s okay. You’re still a great mom. At the end of the day, you have to determine what is best for you and your family. A phrase that I’ve heard over and over again since becoming a mom which I have found to be true in my limited experience is – “Days can be long, but years go by quickly.” This saying applies on good days and bad, and I personally am trying to embrace it one day at time. This experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone in so many ways, and I look forward to seeing how our family continues to grow together.
Thanks for the opportunity to share a little bit about my life as a SAHM and the life of the Maliks! 🙂
Thank YOU, Jenny, for sharing your story! Noah and Jimi are so lucky to have you!