Well. A lot of things have happened since November- such as an entire holiday season, a trip to California for Thanksgiving, hosting Christmas dinner (which involved making standing rib roast for the first time), Sydney walking, and me starting a new job. I guess the last one is the biggest, considering it had been about 4.5 years since I’ve worked. I decided over the summer that I was ready to start working again, and luckily Kirk was super supportive. I think he was particularly excited about the paycheck part of it, but I know he understands my desire to actually use my brain for things other than nap schedules and figuring out how to trick Reid into going to bed. Coincidentally, this was also my first summer with two children. I can tell you- my need for a break from them and do something for myself is DIRECTLY related to spending 3 months caring for those little angels full-time.
So, I started looking for a job. At first, I was adamant that I only wanted part-time work, from home. That evolved quickly into a full-time, outside the home job search. I wasn’t finding a lot of options that fit what I wanted, and it was completely discouraging. I felt like I made a mistake by leaving my job in the first place, back in 2013. My reentry into the workforce was not as smooth – or quick – as I’d hoped. After a couple months of looking for a job, I started getting really discouraged. I started to feel as though I was making a mistake, that I should just stick to raising my kids and forget ever having an identity other than “mom.”
Let me be clear- being a mother is the MOST important job I’ll ever have. I love my kids, and being their mom is a privilege. It’s also the hardest job I’ll ever have- hardest job anyone could have. So please, please do not take this as an indication that I think being a mother is worthless, or basically anything other than amazing. It’s incredible. But – it is perfectly fine to need MORE. To want to have an identity of my own, to want to use my brain in some other meaningful way. I think it’s unfair for me to expect my children to provide all the satisfaction I need from life. That’s a lot to put on two small kids.
Anyway, so I had basically been looking for work for about 4 months and coming up empty. Then one evening, my friend Gretchen casually mentioned that another friend of ours – Molly – was looking for someone to work for her on a freelance basis. Molly is a brilliant grant writer who happens to live about half a mile from me. We met through Crossfit, and we were in a mom group together last year. Her kids are 2 and 3, so she completely knows the struggle of having small children. Molly left her in-house grant writing position after the birth of her second child to start her own grant writing consulting firm. What started as a small venture working from home turned into more business than one (exceptionally smart and hard-working) woman could handle. So Molly told Gretchen that she was looking for someone to work for her- someone who could write, work from home, wanted part-time hours. Gretchen immediately suggested my name, and Molly and I had a meeting the following week. After hearing her background and the types of clients she worked with – non-profits that support the homeless, refugees, and other disenfranchised groups – I wanted in.
Molly and I have been working together since November. I cannot say enough how much I love this work. I am so thankful every day that I have been given this opportunity. I absolutely love writing, and the fact that I get to write for some great causes is a blessing. I can work from literally anywhere, as long as I have my laptop and a wifi connection.
My schedule has really started to get busy. I have several work deadlines approaching, not to mention all the other things I usually get done around the house. Laundry, cooking, actually hanging out with my kids, spending time with my friends. I am starting to wonder how anybody successfully works AND raises kids. Do they have a staff of people or extra hours in their day? Do these people even exist? I know I’m new at this and still figuring a lot out, but it really feels like one of the several spinning plates I have is going to drop any minute.
How do you find balance? I suspect that it will never be truly equal- at times, my family gets more of me. At times, work will get more of me. But I hope that overall, the most important plates stay in the air.