Well, I have recovered from the turmoil of having to find a new job. I am happily employed at a new company that brings new challenges. What started as a stressful and depressing situation has morphed into great changes for my family! First – thank you to everyone that offered tips and advice! You were all on point and my current position came from exactly the types of things that were suggested.
So, while I wasn’t ready to change, I guess there was a plan in place I didn’t know about for my family that would be even better for all of us. The position I landed came with a very small decrease in pay, but the extras seemed attractive to me so I took it. What I didn’t realize is how it would offer benefits for my family that I hadn’t thought about.
My new employment is located less than 15 minutes from my home. Can I tell you how absolutely wonderful it is to be home no later than 5pm every single day?!?! I never realized how much time the drive to and from downtown cost me in time with my family. Not only do I save money in gas (making up for the decrease in pay), but I get AT LEAST an extra 1.5 hours of time with my children every day! I had never thought about how the travel time for work impacted my family. I had always looked at it as a necessary part of having a job. But, in reality, it robs you from the time you can be spending with your children. So, my first piece of advice for any mom that wishes they had more time with their kids – evaluate your travel time.
The next plus – my daughter’s school is only 5 minutes away from my job! She has been begging me to have lunch with her at school, but working downtown, I knew that was very difficult to arrange. Now, I can easily make it part of my lunch break and surprise her with extra time together. So – if you do get in a place you need to consider a new job, consider where your children are during work hours. Are there possibilities close to give you the extra time with them?
During this time, my oldest son moved back home – so all four of my children are together again. Most moms would probably think that at 24, 21, 18 and 12 – that they would have most of their children out of the house or ready to move out and be making plans. Honestly, our family is close and we really actually like spending time together. But also, I want my children to have advantages in life. I have talked to them about steps they should go through to start off the right way into adulthood:
- how to get their college done with the least amount of student loans
- how to pay them off before moving out
- how to purchase things they will need for their future place little at a time so when they are ready to move out, they have what they need
- how to buy the things they want while they can so when they finally leap out of the home, they can do so with a college education, no student loans, a nice car, a nice job and all they need to set up a nice home for themselves
The oldest two have been accepted to college and are working. The third oldest graduates next month, will apply for college and is just now finishing up her manager training for the place she has worked since she turned 16. The youngest is learning lessons watching the steps. But with all of the busy-ness that happens in the home, it has become harder for us to have our family dinners together. So we have started to do dinner dates! Getting home from work earlier has allowed me the chance to do this easier. Some nights it may be just the boys. Some nights just the girls. Some nights everyone and some nights maybe just one. It’s been wonderful! By going out to eat for these, it forces everyone to stop what they are doing and just focus on each other. We talk, laugh, try new foods and really have a great time reconnecting with each other. I didn’t realize that by rushing dinner – even if it was at home and with everyone, we were still rushing through dinner to get onto other things. This has made us all slow down and focus on the time we are together. We haven’t smiled and laughed as much together for a really long time.
One other change comes from the fact that my oldest son has been a vegetarian for several years now. My youngest daughter has been wanting to get involved in sports and losing some weight. My oldest daughter joined a gym. So taking another look at our lifestyle has come into play. Now that we are spending more time together and we have some common interests in getting healthy, we are putting things in place to do that as a family. This weekend, I will be checking out the gym that my daughter joined. It allows 12 year olds to workout using the equipment and has many benefits. My oldest daughter and my oldest son are already members. This will allow the family to workout together. What a great way to connect! Joining a gym, we get to spend time together and work towards a goal all in one!
I also came across a great site: Super Healthy Meal Plans (you have to check this out!!) OMG!! Talk about amazing!!! This site has fabulous meal plans including the shopping lists and recipes all conveniently available weekly that are healthy and kid friendly! They look amazing and I know my kids will eat tons of what are on there! They also have lesson plans for kids and really cute additional tools to help kids learn about being healthy and making wise choices. I am printing these items out and putting them in a binder. I am cleaning out the fridge, throwing tons of things away, replacing the food to match these meal plans and we are off! Soooooo super excited about this!! Teaching my kids about healthy eating and learning about new food options – woot!
And one more thing – but this one is for me – the new job has given me the chance to work with women in technology. I have been a woman in technology for 16 years now. It’s been a male-dominated field that entire time. I found myself working with mostly men – which wasn’t horrible, but it always would have been nice to have someone around that could relate to what I was dealing with. I didn’t know this new job would come with this benefit at all. When I got assigned to my client, I walked in to find several women in the positions to do the same tech-heavy work that I would be doing. Hallelujah! I could almost hear the bells and angels sing! Hahaha It has been so awesome to be able to talk about technology to women that understand it and love it like I do. They have ran into the same issues in the male dominated field that I have. They have similar interests that I have. Wow! Talk about a HUGE relief that I didn’t even know existed! Technology can be stressful in itself – but add to it the struggles that come with constantly having to prove yourself because you are a woman in the field and the struggle of men not understanding how women think – geez Louise! This has been such a wonderful added plus and stress reliever in my life! So, find a job doing what you love, but also, with similar types of people as yourself for a better work environment.
The loss of my job – it was devastating. The move to this new job – has brought so many wonderful changes that I never dreamed would come from it. This just is a simple reminder to those women that do feel down about their situation with their job and their family time – take a look at what your normal is and consider, are there better normals available? Are there options to allow you to continue to work (if that is what is right for you) but improve what you already have? From someone who had never thought of the little things that affect the family, changes in even the little things can bring great rewards!