I can’t believe I have held this in for so long. There were points over the last year where I thought when this time came I would be shouting it from the rooftops. But, this change I am making is equally exciting as it is terrifying. And, somehow telling people about it makes it more terrifying.
Near the end of 2012 I quit my day job. I escaped cubicle nation, if you will. I left a very successful, well-paying career to explore my own path. Other than a little over a year I stayed home with my oldest son, I have been employed without break since I was 14.
I am no longer going to be an employee. I won’t work for an employer. I was good at my job, but my job was not good for me. I longed for something else. I have no idea how I worked full-time and blogged 5 days a week, but when you want to make a career change that’s what you have to do. I blogged as an escape from a day job I hated. I blogged to hopefully create something different, something that would allow me to make a big change.
We have experienced a bit of turbulence over the past 6 months. As I grew to dislike my job more and more, we also started to notice what it was doing to our family. Our boys were in childcare 10-11 hours a day for us to work and commute to and from work. The morning routine was stressful, and the kids began showing unhealthy signs of that stress. Getting out the door started making them anxious and stressed out. They were learning from us.
My oldest just started kindergarten this year. The adjustment has been a bit rough. He turned 5 about a week before the school year started. Academically and socially he was ready to go to school, but he struggled with behavior and structure. Initially I took offense when the teacher suggested the length of the school day plus before and after school care were too much for him. What did she want me to do…quit my job? Then, over the first quarter as we watched him struggle at school and show signs of stress in his day, it dawned on me. I did need to quit my job. One particularly rough morning, my hubby turned to me in the car when we got to work and said, “You need to quit!”
Throughout those months, I kept thinking about one of my favorite quotes.
I don’t want to spend my one wild & precious life in a career I hate while sacrificing my kids, my husband, and my happiness to be “successful”.
It wasn’t immediate, but the timing was right. To better support my family, be there for my boys, and be myself, I needed to quit my job. After some careful planning and number crunching, I resigned. We started transitioning in November. We pulled my son out of before and after school care. His behavior at school improved almost immediately. Not only was his structured day shorter, but he had more time with me in the morning. The new changes in the morning eliminated the stress we were previously all put under.
With my oldest in school 7 hours a day, we decided to keep my youngest in daycare at least half days. He loves it and we think it is healthy for him to interact with other kids. That leaves me quite a bit of new found time to explore my passions. For about 5 hours a day I am Teal & Lime. I can work on projects around the house (in the daylight), I can write blog posts (in the daylight), and I can take on more clients for custom mood boards (that I get to design in the daylight).
Are you wondering what the terrifying part is? You might think it is financial, but actually I am not too worried about that. Sure we will watch our budget more closely, but we should anyway. What terrifies me is now I am Teal & Lime. What if I am not good at it? What if everyone stops reading my blog? What if the clients stop coming to me for mood boards? For so many years, I have shunned my passions. I have hid my creativity. I have done a job just for a paycheck. Now I have the opportunity to live my passion, to unleash my creativity, and to do a job because it makes me happy. I know…it sounds dreamy. But, I worry I have built it up so much in my head that maybe it won’t be so great. Maybe I won’t be as successful as I hope. Maybe I still won’t be able to do everything I want to.
This post is my first step to mustering the courage to get past my fears. To do the crazy things I have always wanted to do and to create my own path. Whenever the fears start to build in my mind, I recall another favorite quote.
I have to take the risk. I have to go out on my own and see where it takes me.
I am still trying to get my bearings and establish my new routine. Despite the newness, I know this is exactly where I need to be. I am finding myself again. I felt lost and smothered over the last 10 years. I felt like I was pushing something down inside that was fighting to get out, to live, to breathe. Now, I feel like I can unleash my creativity. I can be me…all the time.
I feel like a mother again. Of course, I was always a mother, but more than I care to admit being a mother took a backseat to my career. It was an inconvenience for my employer. I worked evenings, I worked weekends, I missed my son’s preschool graduation, I put my children in daycare 50+ hours a week. During the week I only saw my kids for the stressful morning routine and for dinner and the bedtime routine. I started to feel like I didn’t know them, my own kids anymore. Well, the first thing I noticed after leaving my job was I felt like a mother again. I was the one getting them dressed for the day, feeding them breakfast, listening to their school day stories when I picked them up. I am there for them now and I love it. My new “job” and my very lovely new boss :) give me the flexibility I need to be the mother I want to be.
I never imagined writing this blog would get me where I needed to be. It let’s me be myself. It doesn’t come close to replacing my day job income, but I can’t put a dollar figure on happiness. We crunched lots of numbers before I made the leap…you know, to make sure we could still afford our house and food with 50% less income. Thankfully, around the same time we were making these decisions, I started making some consistent income from sidebar advertising and my custom mood board services. And, with my new focus I believe those income streams will continue to grow overtime.
So, although I won’t work for an employer, I will work. I will work for myself, for my family, for my clients, and for you, my readers. I will work to bring in some additional income for my family. I will work to continue to provide wonderful services for my clients. I will work to share even more home and DIY goodness right here on Teal & Lime.
I hope you will stick with me. There is lots of Teal & Lime goodness to come in 2013!!!