Before I quit my job, I kept thinking about all the free time I would have once I wasn't working full time. But a funny thing happened, which is that since my last day of work I have been busier than ever. I get up between 5:30 and 6am, and I'm going-going-going all day long. I was talking about this with my friend Kristen, and she said it's like when you find yourself with an empty cabinet... you always manage to fill it up with stuff. I thought that was a perfect comparison!
Although my days are really busy, my life is vastly different than it was before. Prior to quitting my job (a very demanding, high-stress job) I felt like I was constantly being pulled in all directions. I was always worried that my kids weren't getting enough of my time, I hated that I didn't have time for creative pursuits and that I sometimes couldn't keep up with home tasks the way I'd have liked to. There were ALWAYS things I was supposed to be doing, whether it was stuff for work, stuff for the kids homeschooling or stuff around the house. I just couldn't ever seem to get everything done, no matter how early I got up and how many hours I worked. Because I felt so stressed, I was often short and grumpy with those I love, and that was not something I felt good about. I had a tremendous amount of guilt, that I was not "good enough" at my job, as a mom or as a partner.
Since quitting my job, there is a huge, noticeable absence of stress in my life. While I was working full-time, the stress was constant and menacing, and now, stress is but an occasional, temporary annoyance. I think there are several reasons for this. First of all, I no longer feel like I'm short-changing my kids. That was the hardest part of my former job... that it took so much of me, that there was little left for my family. I wanted to give more to my kids, and now, I can. In less than a month, I'm already feeling a big difference in my relationship with my kids.
So what am I doing to fill up my days, now that I'm not running a daycare? Well...
I've become much more active in my kids homeschool group.
I'm spending more time helping the kids with their schoolwork.
I'm driving my kids to lots and lots of classes, field trips and extra-curricular activities.
I'm making time to write, every single day.
I'm teaching an art class, and making plans to teach more classes in the future.
I'm taking care of my home and family, mindfully and happily.
Yes, I'm busy, but mostly I'm busy doing things I WANT to do (like actively parenting, writing every day, making and teaching Art) and not things I HAVE to do (like endless tedious daycare paperwork and payroll taxes) Such a difference.
I think there is a lot of truth in the old saying, "If Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy." And right now, I am Happy. I feel SO incredibly Blessed and lucky to have been able to do this.
Life. Is. GOOD.