Since I began tutoring a boy in our neighborhood at the age of 13, I’ve been employed. I tried my hand at the fast food industry, bussed tables at a fish house, scooped ice cream at a small town diner, and handled deposits and light accounting work for McDonald’s. In college, I found other part-time jobs to bring in enough income to gas up my car for frequent road trips and fund my concert t-shirt fund. I worked in a church nursery, managed a room full of babies in a daycare, taught gymnastics, hosted birthday parties, and led a youth group. After college, I moved on to full-time employment, and worked full-time without more than a week off at a time until I began working part-time last fall. I’ve lived my life taking complete care of myself (and others along the way). So this week, it feels a little like jumping off a fast-moving train, trying to adjust to the pace of walking beside the tracks.
This is my last week as an employed person for at least six months. I’ve never NOT worked for six months. It feels a little strange. What if we don’t have enough income to make this work? What if I get incredibly bored? What if I feel like I’m mooching off my husband?
Despite these fears that flit in and out of my thoughts, I’m mostly filled with gratitude. Were it not for the support of my husband, I’d have to continue working full-time for the rest of my life and leave my baby in the hands of others to raise. If it weren’t for our conscious decisions to live way below our means, we wouldn’t be in the financial position to make my unemployment feasible. Being off work for the next six months will allow me to nearly finish my Master’s degree without as many distractions and with considerably less stress. It will also give me the opportunity to clean the house obsessively in preparation for our baby’s arrival and to help out with multiple home renovations.
I’ve always hoped that if I had children, I could do it the way I wanted to do it. I knew I wanted to stay at home with them, at least for the first few years. I knew I wanted to give them as much of myself as possible. I just didn’t know if I’d be able to. I’m so grateful I am.