I Quit My Job to Stay Home with My {Teenage} Baby

The inner debate as to whether to go back to work or stay home after having a baby is a complicated and stressful one. The decision depends on a number of factors and sparks many questions within a family. Can we afford it? Do I want to delay my career? Do I want to pay daycare costs? Can I leave my baby? How will I balance it all? Will I get bored staying at home? Will I be thinking of my baby all day while at work? The list goes on and on. I went through all of these internal debates after the birth of my daughters Faith and Fiona. Ultimately, I decided to go back to work and was a working mom for a very long time.

Recently, I had to make that decision again. At age 45, after being in the work force for 25 years, I was faced with the decision to work or stay home with my baby. In the end I decided to stay home with my baby. Oh, and did I mention, my “baby” is a freshman in high school?

stay at home mom

I made the decision to be a stay at home mom while my girls are in 3rd grade and high school. Choosing to stay at home with your kids is a very personal decision, and women make this decision for a number of reasons. I support all women’s decisions, but for me, the decision to quit at this stage of my life felt right. I was an executive director at a non-profit, and a registered dietitian. My job had a lot of stress and demanded a lot of my time. I was often working late and on weekends. I liked the work I was doing, but it was consuming most of my time.

I found myself coming home and not wanting to engage with my family at the level I should. My 8-year-old is still at that age where she can come snuggle on mommy’s lap and snap me out of my “work mind” through her giggles, warm body, and incessant chatter. However, there was this other elusive creature inhabiting my house. She was tall and beautiful. She was moody and quiet. She was like a temperamental ghost, floating around the halls every once in awhile only to disappear into her room.

As anyone with teenagers knows, getting a conversation out of them is like digging for gold. You work and work trying to find a little gem, and once in awhile you uncover something valuable.

However, those times are few and far between and I was missing more of them because of my demanding work schedule and subsequent mental and physical exhaustion.

stay at home mom

In December my daughter decided to transfer from private school to public school mid year. This was a decision that she had put a lot of thought into, and while my husband and I were nervous about her transferring from a school of 400 to a school of 1700, we supported her. I also knew that this was going to be a challenging transition for her. It was her first “adult-like” decision that she made for herself.

My little “baby” was taking a step into adulthood.

This is one of many steps she will be taking in the next 3½ VERY SHORT years before she goes away to college, and I was likely going to be witnessing it from the sidelines as a stressed-out 60-hour-a-week working mother, too tired to engage with her. This terrified me, especially with all the pressures that young women face today:

What was she doing online?

Does she want a boyfriend?

Does she HAVE a boyfriend?

Was she eating enough?

How are her friendships?

Does she feel pressured to drink or do drugs?

I realized that answers to these questions may or may not be offered up freely from her to me, but I knew for sure that there was a better chance of her coming to me about these things if I was simply in closer proximity to her.

Quitting my job was not without stressors and complications.

It was not without some serious questions about my identity, my husband’s increased responsibility, and our finances. It was a transition that required a lot of planning and sacrifices. It is also a privilege that I know everyone does not have, and I do not take that for granted. However, in the end, there was no question that this was what I needed to do.

Now I am here in the morning to make her a smoothie and drive her to and from school. More often than not, while we are making those rides in the car, she’s got her nose in her phone and gives me one-word answers to my questions. There are lots of “eye rolls” and exasperated sighs coming from her. I’m far from a “helicopter” parent now, but I do try to engage. When she comes home from school, I am there to greet her. Most of the time she mumbles something as she plops her backpack in the middle of the floor and runs upstairs to her room.

There has also been more enforcement and “groundings” because I am more aware of unacceptable behavior. This means more slamming of doors and “no fairs” and stomping around. But other times, she sits down and chats with me about classes, politics, and friends. I also noticed that she texts me more throughout the day. She knows she will get an immediate response to a joke or funny meme she sends me.

At night, I’m not so exhausted and I can sit with her in her room and watch a movie or a TV show.

stay at home mom

Don’t get me wrong; she still is like a beautiful, elusive, temperamental ghost floating through the halls of our house, but now the ghost oftentimes has to pass through me simply because of the proximity of my presence. And sometimes, on the very best of days, she’ll take my hand as she passes by and invites me into her world. It is during those moments, that I realize that my decision to quit my job and stay home with my 14-year-old “baby” was the right one for my family.


Anissa Bourgeacq
Anissa moved to Johnston in 2016 after living in Iowa City for more than 20 years. She has two girls, Faith (16) and Fiona (10). She and her husband, Patrick, have been married for 21 years. Anissa is a registered dietitian and works for Sanford Health. For fun she loves to clean, organize, read, and binge watch Netflix. Her vices include watching the “Real Housewives” franchises and doughnuts!


  1. Thank you for your article. It’s the struggle I’m dealing with right now… having four kids ages 15 down to 5, I’ve been at the same company for over 20 years and now wondering if I can make that change for my family. I feel like I can’t give 100% to either family or job with all the directions I go every day. It does feel weird to think I could retire in 10 years but that I may just quit now. I always think the more informed you are, the better decisions you can make. I will keep thinking and talking through it with my husband to help decide. You are right – a few short years once they are in high school!!

  2. Thanks so much for the great article! I am currently struggling with the decision to leave my career of 15 years to stay home with my 8,5 and 4 year old. My job is relatively flexible but still demanding. I cannot focus as 100% on work or the kids and it’s a constant inner struggle. As many already mentioned, I feel I’m entering a stage where they need me more than ever and I should be more available to them. Instead I’m frazzled, unfocused and mentally exhausted all the time. We would have to make a number of sacrifices as a family, kids included, but I think we can make it work. I am just scared to take the leap and risk the flexibility this job provides in the event we cannot make things work as planned.

  3. Thank you very much for this post. I just made the decision to leave work (early retirement) in about 3 to 6 months to be home for my son (who will be in 8th grade) and was experiencing some fear in that decision. My job was becoming more and more demanding and often than not, I came home after 8pm and began yelling or at least was snippy to both my husband and child….not a good situation. The 12 hour days are not doing it …. my marriage and son relationship (only 5 years left in the house) are in trouble.

    I’m printing your blog for those times I lose my nerve – so I remember why I am making this decision. Money isn’t everything! But my relationship with my husband and child are.


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