I know I should be writing about Christmas. I should be sharing the recipe for eggnog cookies that I made for a recent cookie exchange. Or maybe I should be talking about the holy Christmas trinity: Baby Jesus, Santa, and Elf on the Shelf. I always feel inspired to update my stocking list each year (because stockings are something I feel like I am an expert in, for some reason). But this year, my focus is elsewhere.
In a family, everyone gives some. We give and we take and we compromise. We give time and we give order. We give to jobs so that we can give financially to the budget. We give and we give and we give…
I wrote this is my last blog post, published over here. The piece is about coming to the decision about what to do now that my maternity leave is coming to an end in mid-January. We now have three kids, only one of whom is in school. Even that school-aged child needs care for half of the day. All of a sudden, returning to work after my year-long leave doesn’t make as much sense as it once did. My salary would only cover their childcare costs, and nothing more. Going back to work would actually be a huge loss of income from what we’ve become accustomed to while on maternity benefits. However, of course not going to work also means no money.
There’s something really scary about not having the security of a job, even when I effectively won’t be making any money at that job. It makes no sense to go back, not unless it was a career that I was passionate about. It doesn’t make sense to return unless it was to fulfil a need within myself. While I am so grateful for that job, it didn’t fulfill that need. I have always done so much to follow my passions and be creative, but those things have often been side projects. They have never supported me. Until now, my mindset has been that my full-time job would support a life where I could hopefully prioritize family and following my passions. My full-time job wasn’t that passion though, just a means to it.
I could write so much about how the systems within traditional workplaces don’t empower women to succeed and how hard it is to be a woman working in these types of environments. Women are often the caregivers of either their children or their parents or both and yet while in a traditional workplace, they often find this at odds with the narrow confines of office hours and sick days and vacation days. I have personally heard of so many women who have left the workplace for this reason. It is an example of a system that is meant to be fair for everyone but actually puts one group of people at a disadvantage, and this is so often completely invisible to many people.
As I developed my skills and began to understand what I wanted in my life, I realized I wanted to live a life where I was free to prioritize as required. I want to do work, but not in such a restricted environment that makes it impossible to volunteer at my child’s school or get them to swimming lessons on time. I want to be valued for the work I do and not the hours I sit at one specific desk. I want the trust and the autonomy to work when and where I want. In fact, I would argue that this trend is the future of many work environments.
Maybe, finally, the end of this maternity leave is the catalyst for taking control of the way I work. Maybe it is finally time to take those things I am passionate about and make them into something. Maybe, if going to work won’t put me ahead financially, I guess I should just not go to my old, traditional workplace. Maybe I should take care of my children, and try to make some money doing those side projects I do anyway. Maybe that could work…
So, that’s what I’m doing. And come January, I need it to work.
Along with taking care of my three children, picking up and dropping off from school, getting homework done, taking kids to skating lessons and swimming lessons and sometimes hockey, often while my husband works late… this is what I’ll be doing:
- Blogging right here. In 2016 I hope to bring you some sponsored posts that will both continue to allow me to write in my editorial and truthful style while still helping me put food on the table for my children.
- Editing and writing over at Bonbon Break. My latest post is this one about making the decision to stay home from work, but I have some other posts linked on my sidebar. I would love for you to follow me there.
- Selling Jamberry. I hope to soon be writing a whole post on this and why I love it and how amazing it has been for me. But, in the meantime, if you ever want to try some samples, get an order of nail wraps, host a party (Canada only), or chat about becoming a consultant yourself, let me know! The coolest thing about doing this is that while it is allowing me to find freedom in the way I work, I can also help other women get to the point where they have this freedom as well!
- Photography. I still need to decide if I can make this fit. I love doing photography but it is such a massive time suck and with everything else going on, I don’t want to let anyone down, either photography clients or everyone else who will be pushed aside while I’m focusing on editing. That said, at the moment, I am motivated and determined to support my family and I do very much love doing photography, and so if you are looking for a photographer, please consider me. At this point, I am open for business (and will absolutely not let down anyone that I book).
So that’s where things stand. That’s where I am. I keep telling myself that I just need to do all that I can do for a short time and eventually everything will fall into place. It has to, right?
I admit that I’m scared. But I think that I can make it work. I mean, I have to think that. The only way this is going to work is if I stay positive and I stay motivated.
I guess this officially takes me out of the category of Working Mom and Maternity Leave Mom and into Stay At Home Mom and Work At Home Mom. He we go. I think the ride has already started.