Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Big Life Changes!

So I hinted in my recent Basement Organization post that we had some big changes in the works here at the Homestead. Here's what's going on:

Some things happened these past couple of years which have really made me rethink my priorities. Most significantly, in the spring of 2012, my kids' dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He lost his battle with the disease in January of 2013. As you might imagine, this experience has made me examine my own life more closely. It made me think about how I'm living day to day, and my relationships with those I love. None of us know when our time will come... when it happens, what regrets will you have? What would you wish you had done differently? When I asked myself those questions, I realized that there were a lot of things I would like to change. First and foremost, I decided I really need to change jobs.

Currently, I run a home daycare, which I started in my early days as a single mother. I chose the job mostly out of necessity. The part-time writing job I had at the time was just not enough to support us, so I needed something else. But I also wanted to continue homeschooling my children, as we always had. My youngest was only four years old at the time, with special needs. I couldn't bear the idea of putting him in preschool. Prior to having my kids, I had spent several years working in Early Childhood Education, so getting licensed and opening a home daycare was a natural choice.  And it was a good choice, as it kept food on the table and a roof over our heads. Eventually, The Man and I decided to expand to a large daycare, and he came to work with me, to allow us more flexibility in caring for our kids.

But still...  It's not easy, juggling my home life and work, and I often feel that my own kids are not getting the best of me. You see, this job, running a daycare, is hard sometimes. The days are very long. We have our daycare kids here 9-10 hours a day, and then there is a lot of cleaning, planning and paperwork that needs to be done, so it's not uncommon for me to work 12 or more hours a day. Although the man and I "tag team" the homeschooling and getting the big kids to their activities, the fact of the matter is that when you run a daycare, you routinely have to put other people's kids before your own. So, although I am home with my kids, I am preoccupied with work stuff. I need to make a change, so I can be more "present" for my own children. I need a job with more flexibility, so that my top priority can be my home and family.

Also, I would love to go back to doing work that feeds my soul, and stimulates me intellectually and creatively. I want to set this example for my children, so that they, too, may someday choose a career which they are passionate about. One of my intentions for this year has been to get the ball rolling on a new career that I can feel really excited about, and I'm pleased to say that I have been doing just that. I have some great projects in the works, which I hope will start to become lucrative by the time our daycare closes in September.

But what about The Man of the House? Well, one thing that made this decision difficult is that we love being together all day, living and working side-by-side. Closing the daycare means that we won't have that anymore, as he'll be working outside our home. But... this also means that now he can look for a job that he will feel passionate about, too. He's got some ideas about where to go next, perhaps making good use of his education degree, and his knack for helping kids in need. We shall see where the journey leads.

Meanwhile, I'm tired. Daycare and homeschool Monday through Friday, writing, networking and laying the groundwork for a new career nights and weekends. But, even though I'm tired, it feels wonderful to know that this is part of a grand plan toward living a life without regrets.

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