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I quit my job two weeks ago and took another. I’ll be working less at my new job, in a new area of the law. The decision was made quickly, decisively, and with little forewarning. I was as surprised as everyone else, because I was happy at my old firm. People always say they love their coworkers. But I really did. Folk like Berman, above. Plus I enjoyed the work, and the clients.

It feels weird when you get older and start making decisions that aren’t in line with what you pictured for yourself. As a kid, I thought I’d grow up to be the woman in the Charlie ad. Partner in a law firm. A smart suit, and good hair. Kicking my heels up as I crossed the street in my stilettos.

But the heart wants what it wants. And right now, it wants more of this.


My Finn is so tall. His feet are almost as big as mine. For months now, when I looked at him, I’d feel 50% lung-crushing love, and 50% sadness. How had I missed so much of it? When he slips into my bed for a cuddle and I wrap my arms around him and press my lips to the back of his damp head, he feels weighty, substantial. Like my regret.

More time for soccer practices, bike rides, afternoon cinnamon rolls. That’s the idea, anyway. As hard as it was to leave, the decision was a no-brainer. For me.

This post isn’t about justifying a choice. It’s about trying to explain the unexplainable. It gets me down when moms judge other moms for their choices–it’s brutal out there for everyone. There’s no judgment in my decision. And I hope there’s no judgment of me.

Don’t get me wrong. Extended periods of time with my kids still tend to give me a screaming headache and agita. And yet. The older they get, the more that’s changing. I like them. I want to hang out with them. I want to be there for this. For me, the rest can wait.


62 Comments Post a comment
  1. Janis Gabriel #

    : Awesome post. All is ok with me now:)

    September 20, 2013
  2. Radha #

    Wow. Love this. Crush away, sweet writer. Your little men will crush you back all the way. No judgement either. Not sure where all these warring mothers be; most that I know understand both sides intimately. And as Dr. Suess so eloquently said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”. Thanks for being awesome.

    December 3, 2012
    • I absolutely love that quote. Thank you for that

      December 3, 2012
  3. mettemia #

    I really do like this post as a homeworking mum. I love being there for my kids, and to be a part of their growing up. I think your choise is a helthy one…………………for you and for your boys. Enjoy life with your beutiful children ❤ ………….mettemia

    November 1, 2012
  4. Bryan Beel #

    Unexplainable? No! Look at the third photo in your post: that’s the explanation.

    October 13, 2012
  5. Ginger #

    P.S. That georgous photo at the end of your blog says it all – So much love and JOY!

    October 12, 2012
  6. Ginger #

    Bravo, Yoona! It’s all about balance, isn’t it? You are so right about following your heart!
    My mother is 86 and never had a job outside of raising 4 children. I stayed home until my daughters were 2 & 5. I was really ready to do something to explore my creative/business self. That’s when we started The Children’s Garden. It was intense to say the least, but being business partners, my husband and I were able to do what we called “tag-team parenting”. One of us was always there for the girls, or at least that’s how I remember it. The tricky part is knowing when that balance needs tweaking. Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes pretty big – like when we sold everything and moved from Portland to Sisters so the girls could experience middle & high school in a small town (while we still owned 3 schools in Portland!). That was a huge challenge with huge rewards. Now I have the joy of working with my daughters every day as they take over the family business – something I never imagined all those years ago. And I’m a grandmother and get to spoil my grandson mercilessly. So follow your heart and here’s one of my favorite mantras that got me through many a sleepless night – “Change is hard – Change is good”.

    October 11, 2012
  7. Susan #

    Hey Yoona – I heard that you had left SB. I look forward to seeing how the new gig works out, esp as it relates to time with the boys. Speaking of, I also thought the resort was a little overboard with the bird population, but did you know that you could take a tour, and then get little trading cards from the bird stars of the tour? Just ask if you want to borrow ours! 🙂 – Susan

    October 9, 2012
    • hey susan–how did you find out about the bird cards? be honest–did you seek out more bird activities? i have so many questions…

      October 9, 2012
  8. Jan #

    Congratulations to you! I’m sure it will be an adjustment that will be worth it for all of you. Be patient with yourself, and know what a gift you’re giving to your children, and yourself. With a 22 year old, and a 17 year old myself, I can truly say that while time definitely seems to crawl sometimes, on the Grand Scheme of Things their growing up and leaving happens in a flash! Being a mother is not for wussies, whether one works for pay, or not!

    October 8, 2012
    • thanks so much. nice to get the view of moms who have been where i am

      October 9, 2012
  9. I wish that I could do the same. At this point I am the main bread winner in our family which leaves me stuck. There is nothing that I would like better then to work less and spend more time with my 7 year old. The years are going by so quickly. I for one would question anyone who judges you on this decision.

    October 4, 2012
    • you may feel stuck but I imagine your kids are learning a lot about love by watching how you support your family. i do feel fortunate to have choices. thanks for the comment

      October 9, 2012
  10. Anyone who judges you a complete and total schmuck! As long as you and your beautiful family are happy and healthy that’s all that matters. I give you a lot of credit for being brave enough to make a change.

    October 4, 2012
  11. Great piece, Yoona. I reached the same conclusion about a week ago: A month after receiving my MA!! All that education and all my heart wants is to be mum. ‘All’? Sheesh! It’s the most important job in the world.

    October 4, 2012
    • isn’t timing a bitch? sometimes you have to go through something to know you don’t want it. at least you have your MA!

      October 9, 2012
  12. Akie #

    Congratulations! I know you’ll have a great time, & don’t justify yourself to anyone. Kids are great (boys in particular, I don’t have the patience for girls).

    October 3, 2012
    • for me, it’s not so much a lack of patience, as fear. i mean boys are scary in their own way, but at least it’s a scary i know how to deal with

      October 3, 2012
  13. Congrats, Yoona! I’m not a mom yet but I can still understand why it’d be a no-brainer for you. Enjoy your time with the kids! 🙂

    October 3, 2012
    • don’t have to be a mom to understand changing wants. although being a mom certainly gets you there quick. thanks for the comment

      October 3, 2012
  14. Gulgun #

    nailed it again, yoona. keep on doin’ your thing, sister. you write about issues so close to so many of us with candor, humor and relatibility. peace to you, g

    October 3, 2012
  15. Reblogged this on McKinley Milestones and commented:
    It’s true. “The heart wants what it wants”. Thanks for this awesome post!

    October 3, 2012
  16. This post brought me to tears! Thank you for sharing. You are an awesome mom! I’m relatively new to being a mom, but I too had to make a swift and fast job change. To be honest, it was a bit of a struggle for me, but “the heart wants what it wants.” And, It is an unexplainable feeling. Keep writing, your blog rocks!

    October 3, 2012
    • i like when new moms comment. because it takes me back to a time when i was so scared and never knew if everything would work out ok. i still freak out, but have a better appreciation for what’s worth the trouble. anyway. rambling a little. enjoy your baby!

      October 3, 2012
  17. A beautiful post. Huzzah to you for following your heart! Now go soak up every minute you can with those glorious boys.

    October 3, 2012
    • it won’t all be glorious. they’d probably prefer to stay at school actually. but huzzah indeed!!

      October 3, 2012
  18. Yoona, this made me tear up a bit, that one portion in particular about hugging your son. Best wishes!!!

    October 3, 2012
  19. Something I’ve been considering for some time now, been working just to cover nursery fees is dumb yet it’s what I do.

    October 3, 2012
    • yeah it’s the age old question. personally when it was working for me, it was worth the price

      October 3, 2012
  20. This is such a nice post. One of my goals in life is not to have regret but I sometimes look back in time and realize how much of that wow time I missed with my kids while I was busy at work. I now have young granddaughters and another opportunity. Congratulations to you!

    October 3, 2012
    • thank you! i’ve heard that grandkids are a good way to get a second run at past regrets. have fun with them!

      October 3, 2012
  21. Congrats — I’m so excited for you! And thank you for writing about the tough (or not so tough, for our hearts) decisions we must make as busy and working moms.

    October 3, 2012
  22. Fighting Reality #

    Congratulations and way to go on your decision 🙂 I’m not even a parent and this post somehow made sense to me. Maybe it’s because I’m going through a pre-midlife re-org. But doing what I need/want to do for myself and my family (at this point, me and my husband) began to look different from what I imagined for myself in my 20s. And the actions I’ve taken have made everyone else around me happier and I feel more in tune with myself and them in ways I didn’t feel before. Like there is a deeper attention and awareness, which makes life so much more rich. It’s made even more awesome by the fact that I have an awesome support network of family and friends.

    October 3, 2012
    • tuning in with oneself is what aging means to me. thanks for the comment.

      October 3, 2012
  23. sbt #

    Oh i love this! wonderful Yoona.

    October 3, 2012
  24. Israel Askew #

    SO good.

    October 3, 2012
  25. You don’t need my affirmation at all, but I think you’ve made a wise choice. If you desire more time with your kids, then placing priority on that and sacrificing other things is right for you. It is a real sacrifice, and it’s ok to grieve the loss of a good thing while embracing the great thing. Funny how some of our dreams lose their luster after children come into our lives, isn’t it?

    October 3, 2012
  26. Ashleigh #

    This was beautifully written and I love it. So honest and it’s great that you made the choice to do what is best for you and your family. Love that.

    October 3, 2012
  27. I am deeply happy for you to have the freedom to make such a change in your life and (hopefully) on your own terms. I agree:Moms ought to be allowed to spend more time enjoying their decisions and less time fretting the shades of difference between how each one of us is able, or willing, to allot time to any/all our jobs…being a parent….earning an income…both, or neither.

    Lean into being around more while you enjoy it and feel free to ease back if/when that feels the right choice to make. Long live choice!

    October 3, 2012
    • this is spot on. i’m hopefully not closing doors. just wedging a heavy doorstop in there

      October 3, 2012
  28. Kristin #

    Love love love. So happpy for you…..

    October 3, 2012
  29. I made the same decision not quite two years ago. The only difference is my kids were 15 and 17 and so the weight of the regret was a little heavier because I had given up so much more of their lives.

    But you know what I’m learning — as I stand on the cusp of 50 and one kid has left home and one has less than two years left? There’s time for a kick-ass career after the kids leave! Why did no one tell me this? Really . . . I think I might have my most productive, most impressive career achievements AFTER the age of 50. Lord knows I’ll have plenty of time on my hands to focus. I don’t know why we as women don’t talk about this. Don’t sweat your child-rearing years, Yoona. Soak up the “motherdom” and know there’s life — a rich, fulfilling life — after they leave home.

    October 3, 2012
    • dude. joan. i envy empty nesters. in a real, visceral way. every time i see the toyota venza ads i start drooling

      October 3, 2012
  30. LaToya Hunter #

    Love it!

    October 3, 2012
  31. Mary #

    I love this… was just introduced to your blog a few months ago. I am a mom of 4 month twins so the mom thing is new to me but I completely identify with your thoughts. Thank you.

    October 3, 2012
    • hi mary. i went through a lot of stages of feeling compelled to be at work and not at home. by my fourth month of maternity leave with tate i practically ran into work sobbing with relief. i have friends for whom the decision to be at home was clear as day. i envy them their conviction sometimes. thanks for
      reading, and enjoy those babies.

      October 3, 2012
      • Nat #

        Nothing wrong with choosing to go back to work, either. 🙂 The wonderful thing about fighting for equality is that we can choose any combination of options – home, work, varying percentages of both. If this seems like a good idea to you, that’s awesome. I wish moms and non-moms alike would stop smugly judging each other over stuff like this – some would probably criticize you for possibly limiting your career progression in favor of parenting, while other people write horribly offensive newspaper articles about how the new Yahoo CEO is a terrible mother for cutting her maternity leave down to a month and working from home while she’s on it, and how moms can’t possibly do anything more important than stare at their babies 24/7 the minute they pop out so she clearly has terrible priorities (with a healthy dose of insult to her husband, who – the author claims – cannot possibly be as good as a mom, even if he takes the maternity leave instead of her to look after their kid, because he didn’t birth the child). But to me, both you and she made the right decision because it’s what you respectively wanted to do.

        As to regrets, I can tell you from experience on the OTHER end of this equation that my husband and I were both mostly with our respective grandparents when we were little while both of our parents worked, and we both love our parents intensely, made sure to buy a house within driving distance of both pairs, and we visit them every weekend (if not more often) and we’re pretty adamant about them coming to live with us when they’re too old to live alone anymore, even if we have to build a few extra rooms onto the house.

        So, if you’re at all worried about your kids feeling neglected or resentful, I can tell you I never did – it’s not about how MUCH time you get with your kids, but how you spend that time. My husband and I appreciate that our parents did what they loved – their jobs – and worked hard so that neither of us ever had to worry about not having food, or new clothes, or how to pay for college. The time we spent with them was great, so it didn’t matter that we didn’t see much of them during the work weeks. They modeled wonderful, healthy adult lives for us, and gave us some great perspective from an early age – that not everything is about us, that there’s an entire world of people out there all doing amazing things, that you should never feel guilty for doing what you love and doing it well, that professional pride is just as important as parental pride, and that family isn’t about who spends more time with you, it’s about something less easily defined than proximity or logged hours. So whatever you choose to do and whenever you choose to do it, whether you end up staying home entirely or going back to a packed work week or anything in between, as long as they know they’re loved, they won’t care if you have to work late. 🙂

        October 4, 2012
      • my mom worked when I was growing up, and I always got the sense that she wanted to work, to have something of her own. and watching her made me want the same for myself. i absolutely agree that “good” parenting happens any number of ways

        October 9, 2012

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