|Working from home.|
I'm starting the new year with a new job. I'm making a career change and leaving the office behind (for now, anyway) to take over the full-time child care duties at home. That's right, I am officially going to be a stay-at-home mom (known on the interwebs as a "SAHM"). Yesterday was the first day of my month-long transition from working mom to full-time mom.
Jon's been holding down the fort since my maternity leave ended when Alice was four months old. He was working from home full-time, starting his day at 4am to put in half his hours before I left for work. He would finish his day while Alice napped or after she was in bed for the night, often working plenty of extra time on freelance jobs as well. Now with two kids at different ages, who demand LOTS of attention - and even more freelance work - it's just became too much for him to do on his own.
As my last project at work drew to a close, we kept talking about whether we could make the finances work with a single provider's income. Jon crunched lots of numbers and made spreadsheets with all kinds of different, variable scenarios. In the end, we decided that the benefits would outweigh any tight budgeting, and we took the plunge once my project was pretty well wrapped up.
During January, I am working to tie up all the loose ends at work and hand off my role to someone else. I am super thankful to be able to do much of this work from home while getting into the swing of the stay-at-home schedule. The photo above is what that looked like today, while Alice was in school and Ivy slept.
Jon will still be working from home full-time. We're working out a new schedule so he can put in plenty of hours on his work but also spend time with us and participate in activities and outings, and even give me a break (or a nap)! We're also arranging time in the evening where we can both work after the kids are asleep. I am planning to use that time to blog more and to finally indulge in more creative ventures that, in addition to being personally fulfilling, can hopefully lead to some fun blogable material and possibly even a side income.
I've already made a daily/weekly/bi-weekly/monthly cleaning schedule and am tackling some of the house projects that have been lingering on my to-do list. It's only been two days, but my kitchen and bathroom are clean and I cleared out a big chunk of my closet and have a big bag of clothes ready to donate. There are so many things in our house that have been driving me crazy for years that I'm thrilled to have even a few minutes each day to chip away at them. I want to hit that stuff hard right off the bat to get this new year and new gig started on a good foot.
Honestly, I never planned or particularly wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I have always loved working. I did quite a bit of babysitting in my early teens, and was filling out job applications as soon as I turned 15. I've always worked and always expected to. Especially living where I have in California, I always expected that I would have to work in order to afford a place to live and a family. And that was the case until just very recently. When I went on maternity leave, both times, people would ask if I was planning to come back to work and I would always answer that if I wanted to keep living in my house, I had to come back.
Once I got pregnant and had Alice though, I understood better. Wanting and needing to go back to work meant needing to find a child-care solution, which amounted to nearly 25%-30% of my income. And the thought of leaving such a little baby with someone else made my heart hurt. It was easier to go back to work knowing that Alice and Ivy were home with their dad, but I hated that he was getting so much great time with him while I was missing all the little things.
I am thrilled that this opportunity is even possible and am so grateful that I'll get to spend so much time with our girls. I'm so looking forward to art projects and park trips and zoo and museum visits, and getting more involved with Alice's classroom. I can't wait to see Alice and Ivy's relationship grow, and to have so much more time to help nurture them into close and loving sisters. I am looking forward to experiencing the many sweet and simple day-to-day moments that I have been missing.
At work, I'd been feeling more and more like I didn't have enough time or energy to be a good and present wife and mother. I am trying to be very intentional to make the most of this time I now have to keep the house clean and comfortable, and to make our day run smoothly so we have the time and energy to enjoy each other.
I'm trying not to get too ambitious, but I'm looking at this as a bit of a home economics experiment. In having the time to pay proper attention to our meal plan and budget, and our home, I'm hoping that I'll be able to be more strategic about our shopping and spending instead of relying on unhealthy quick-fixes as we have been more and more. I think I'll actually have time to plan and plant the garden that I've been dreaming of since we moved in, and have the time to tend it, instead of having to pay someone else for so much of the food we eat.
I hope to update here more regularly, including updates on the home-ec experiment and playing catch up with some posts and photos from last year!
Here's hoping for a great 2014 with lots of family time and fresh starts!