Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Cost of Money.

I am taking the plunge.

I am choosing more time and less money.
I am quitting my "cool" job as a visual merchandising manager.
My Last Day is a week from Friday.
It was my dream job.
And while there are still so many things about it that I love..
somewhere in all the mix, it became something else.

Things came to a head when my husband expressed his concern that my job was going to make his job much harder..
(And it will. Holiday in retail is an all-consuming proposition.. And it happens at a time when he also needs to put in longer hours.).
The middle school, that my son Jake starts in two weeks, has no after school program (What? Are they adults now?).
And we haven't had every room in the house clean at the same time, in like, 6 months.

Those things were the catalyst, but really there are so many costs involved.

For Instance, I feel like a hypocrite with my recycled paper and my biodegradable soap,
while I am driving two or more hours each day to work.
(I haven't even been able to watch "An Inconvient Truth"..
I am afraid I might be the guest star.)
The hours ( I wake up at 4:45) have me falling asleep before my 10 year old (great for the marriage),
and make ride sharing impossible.
Lately, I find I grind my teeth in my sleep and when I wake up my face hurts.
I haven't been home for Halloween for 3 of the last 4 years.. and I love Halloween.
I can't even tell you how messed up Thanksgiving is, with me working all night long the night before.
I work Christmas Eve.. and the day after Christmas.
I don't have time to have dinner parties or visit my friends (or even my mom).
Our alleged social life is in the toilet..
And it costs me about 1000.00 a month in child care, gasoline and lunch money.

It has become abundantly clear that something has to give.

To be really honest, I wasn't really satisfied with the stay at home mom thing either. I did stay home with Jake until halfway through his first year of Kindergarden.I was so happy to get back to work. Staying home was hard for me and it was hard for my husband to understand that it was not a constant joy and delight. To compensate for my lagging self esteem and the fact that I was isolated and lonely (we also moved every 6 months for the first 2 years of Jake's life, so, no close friends in the neighborhood..) I tried everything I could think of to make a little scratch and give myself a different kind of sense of purpose than I was getting from PBS, Oprah, making mac and cheese, and the challenges of potty training.

I crafted. Repainted furniture. Made Pillows. Gardened voraciously. Re-did other peoples yards for them. Painted a mural. Catered. Sold kids clothing at the swap meet.

It was all pretty restricted though, because of Jacob's nap schedule, and the overwhelming need to accomodate a little person.

I am curious to see what I can do Now with Extra Time. It occurs to me that things are really different.
We don't do TV anymore. Jacob is almost 11( while not an adult .. much more self sufficent). We bought our house (all that loan qualifying is behind us..). I have had some success selling things I have made and learned a lot more about retail business from my day job.

From here (The Brilliant Far Off Land of Optimista) it looks wide open... I could do Etsy and craft fairs. I could teach classes. I own my own domain name but haven't had time to finish my website... I could write a book.. or articles for magazines. I could do freelance window displays for small stores.
I like the idea of having my own small business and learning all that goes along with that.

Certainly we are looking at a huge financial adjustment. Buying our own insurance, cutting costs and all.. Maybe the stress of "making the ends meet" will trump the stress of "trying to have it all"..

But if that happens, I can always go back to work for "the man" again...
I know where the Mall is.


Anonymous said...

What brave step you're taking. Well done. I was adament that I would work p/t when I had children but I had post-natal depression after Amber and then I just decided to be at home..had two more and twelve years on I'm still at home. On the whole I'm glad and fortunate (I don't forget that), but my husband and I have very traditional roles - it's not like I wanted it to be. Never mind. Somedays I don't know the date or day of the week and my brain is like mush. It's not to put you off - just to empathise with how you felt.

I say just take it one day at a time. Just relax for a few months, do your projects and then see what comes into your life. Now that you are free things will enter that didn't enter in before cos there was no space. You are so talented and I'm betting that you'll be doing all sorts of fulfilling things before you know it. Just keep faith and believe in yourself.

laura capello said...

I started listening to Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up" before and during reading all this...

Good for you, for deciding to make such a major change. I think it is awesome.

It will be a huge adjustment, yes; but not just in the sense of money... in the sense of time, space, family, friends...

I think the posibilities of what you can do are endless... I'm so excited to see where this takes you.

Kristal said...

Hello. I happened upon your flickr site and loved your stuff. Noticed you had a blog, soooo Here I Am!!! And at a great time I see. I also recently "retired" after working for the same company for 18 yrs. We have a 3yo and it was killing me leaving him at daycare. He hated it. And I really hated my job. We too have moved 7 times in the last 6 yrs. So I know what you mean about friends & family. Right now, we're about 4 hours from all of our loved ones. It was a scary thing to do, all our insurance was thru my job. But I love being home w/ my son. I'm still trying to figure out ways to make a little extra "spending" money. It doesn't make me feel so bad spending and it helps me to be more aware of what I'm purchasing.
Best of luck to you. BTW, I love your creations. You are a very talented artist. :0)

futuregirl said...

Wow. I love new beginnings. Everytime I get a new job or move I have such optimism and energy. It sounds like you are (cautiously) optimistic - and I think you should be (optimistic, not cautious). You have a lot of great options and things are totally different than they were last time you stayed at home.

You are very talented, smart, and experienced. I'm betting that you are going to have some wonderful adventures this time. :) I'm glad to be here to hear all about them.

Angelina said...

I just found your site through a complicated web of links...

I stayed home before I had my kid because it had never before occurred to me that I could, my husband was supportive, and it turns out there's a world of things a woman can learn about herself and her personal ambitions by "not working for the man" for a while. I uncovered talents I never would have known I had (bread baking, gardening, canning, neighborhood ambassador) and it ignited a lot of passions that had previously lain dormant in my life.

I was happy to stay home for my son until now (he's five and a half) but being a stay-at-home-mom was never, on its own, enough to feed my spirit. Yes, yes, I love being my boy's mom, I love giving him what he needs, but there are lots of women who need more too, for themselves.

I don't know you from Adam, but I'm happy to hear you're going to have the opportunity to experience being home now with more time to develop what it is you really want from life, from yourself, etc. I started a wholesale business at home last year and it filled that drive I had to create, to produce, to be connected beyond the issues inherent in motherhood.

We have just moved and turned my at-home wholesale business into a retail store in our new town. I don't know what will come of this adventure, but I know I have always wanted a store of my own and I never would have become clear about what that store could be, what I wanted it to be, if I hadn't stayed home to find out.

I am rooting for your new direction to provide you with whatever it is you most need in your life. Lots of luck and best wishes!

PamKittyMorning said...

Bitter Betty Blogs, even a name I could have related to over the years. I read your post and it was like a flashback experience. Good luck with your changes. My daughter is off to her second year of college and I'm redefining my life again, its nice to have a forum to see how other people go thru the day. I have no advice except try and find some kind of happiness each day. Not always easy but it seems like there's always something.

Anonymous said...

forge on!! it sounds like you have a great plan in place!! putting it into action is scary, but you will make it work...i'm self-employed and work from home, so agree it is difficult, but i can't imagine it any other way!! good luck to you!! :)

Anonymous said...

I was moved by your post and it is nice to meet another kindred spirit. Especially regarding the environment. While my daughter is tugging at my shirt to come and play "book sale" I don't have much time. But I did want to offer any help with creating a business etc. I have done a lot of small business consulting and I love it. If I can help you, let me know. I'm not advertising, it would be just on a free level.

Anonymous said...

Good luck on the new job. Sometimes people forget that you must take into account all the variables when working outside the home. Sometimes they just don't add up. Of course there will be times that you miss the comradery of the water-cooler lifestyle.

These are all the things that I discussed with my husband when deciding whether I should continue freelancing or going to work full-time at an outside company. Not being home to take care of things, the cost of commuting, the cost of a work wardrobe, the cost of dining out or take-out, all those things didn't balance out the increase in income. So once again, good luck and have fun in your new adventure!

ruby-crowned kinglette said...

hey girlie, i don't know how i missed this post.... i am so excited for you and know your nervousness too. it sounds like you have thought the decision through, which i think is the hardest part. i wish you the best of luck and am happy for your new adventure.

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