Originally written Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011
It's 11:26 on a Thursday night. Me: sitting upright in bed, eyes wide open, unable to sleep. Larry: after offering to cough cough "help me get to sleep", rolls over on his side and declares sleepily, "Honey, would you just turn on your computer and start writing this shit down?"
(I have to give him a break - he had been trying to fix a broken water main since he got home from work, and when he was finally done and showered around 10:00, a neighbor came over drunk as a skunk wanting to gossip about some other neighbor friend who's being stalked by some ex con...blah blah blah. She was here for at least half an hour. He is so patient, god bless him.)
Anyway, it's been building for weeks, for a million different reasons, many of which I'm sure you'll read about soon enough. But the bottom line is that I've decided to quit my job.
And it's not like I was bringing home a little supplemental income. Our incomes are split almost 50/50. I think mine would come out to about 48% of our family's total income. And I carry our health insurance. Egad. I know.
There are some issues with my job - but aren't there always, especially when you've worked somewhere almost 6 years? You can't help but get sucked into some of the politics. More importantly, however, a recent reorganization left me in an exciting, upstart position that I agreed to take on but ultimately decided I really didn't want. Gasp, I know. Several of my coworkers just returned from a design conference where it was declared on multiple occasions that THE hot new job in any marketing and communication office was the web content manager. Guess what my job is? Web content manager. And I want to run away from it just as fast as I can. Which is another story for another day.
The number one reason, though, has more to do with my family's quality of life. And clearly by quality I don't mean the nice things we can buy, because that's about to come to a screeching halt. Today I was either in my car or in a store or a restaurant from 5:00 p.m., after work, until about 9:15 p.m. Literally. And it's like this more and more as the kids get older and more involved at school and with activities, and everything has to get squeezed into the evenings or the weekend. I'm short with my kids, impatient, unorganized, stressed, and exhausted, both physically and mentally.
So when the day comes that I am more often than not too tired and grumpy to sit and read a story with my 3rd grader who is struggling a little with reading - my priorities are out of line, and it's time to make a change
Which, I might add, is not easy. I have the permanent "pro" and "con" list emblazoned on my brain and I can't seem to leave it alone (hence this evening's insomnia). I know in my heart it's the right thing to do. But why could't I just make it work the way so many other working mothers do? I know all the studies show that the kids of working moms turn out great. I'm setting a good example for my girl. But I have to trust my gut, and my gut is telling me two things. One, I need to be home with my kids right now. Two, if I'm ever going to write, which is all I have really ever wanted to do, then I need to do it. For some reason, I feel in my heart that the time is right now.
I don't think anyone can fully understand it but Larry and I, and we're ready to weather the storm of questions and uncertainty. We'll just remind everyone that we've done this before, and we'll probably do it again. While it may seem crazy now, you can't deny that every time we've followed our hearts, we've ultimately succeeded, and kept our family happy and strong. Truthfully, I'm really, really exctied.
There will be far less runs to Chipotle for a last minute meal, far fewer television channels, minimal cell phone service, and unless I get a book deal in the next year (dreamer), it's likely the ASU season tickets will have to go, too. They are sacrifices that Larry and I are prepared to make; but I know it will be harder for the kids.
But I'll tell you this. I know it's the time we spend together, with their parents' undivided attention, that my kids will remember in their hearts as they grow older; not whether or not they got the newest generation iPod or $100 pair of jeans. And as for setting an example, teaching my kids to be frugal and to follow their hearts are pretty darn good lessons.