I recently shared my New Years Resolution to make big changes in my life. I want to spend more time with my family and friends, my home, and my hobbies. I want to document my journey to keep me focused and so that I can look back and see how far I've come.
I made my first big decision on New Years Eve.
I quit my job.
When my ex-husband and I divorced, I reentered the work force. I had a full schedule with college courses including online college classes and a full time job as a bartender and waitress. It is what I had to do to keep my family clothed and fed. I met my fiancee a few years ago and we both kept a full schedule. We still had time for date night and family game nights. My hobbies suffered a little, but I was still able to crochet blankets, hem my children's clothing, and keep my closets organized. When we were surprised by a little bundle of joy, we went into overdrive. We reorganized our house to make a nursery and homework areas for each of the older kids all while managing complications with the pregnancy. Those complications led to a hospitalization the night my midterms for my online courses were due and I had to drop the classes. Once our little bundle of joy arrived, life became even busier. My two older children were attending a school that was no longer able to accommodate their special needs (even with 504 and IEP plans in place) any longer and my fiance and I were both working 40 or more hours a week. I was breastfeeding on demand, pumping at work, and trying to gather enough sleep at night to not fall over at the almost daily parent-teacher meetings or phone calls. Life became chaotic.
Then something happened that neither my fiancee or I saw coming. The restaurant where we both worked and were very successful at decided overnight to close it's doors forever. We were both unemployed a mere 5 weeks before Christmas. We were mostly caught up on bills after some unexpected medical bills, but our savings were depleted. I found very part-time employment at my favorite local bar within a week. The next week I found a second job at a swanky wine bar. Then, my fiance found a job a week later. We were still struggling. The wine bar wasn't bringing in money and I found another job at an Irish Pub and the local bar offered me more hours. I took both opportunities and during the holiday season I was working over 60 hours a week.
I was exhausted.
My health suffered and my mental health began to plummet. My house became an unfinished game of Jumanji and my family and friends never heard from me. I couldn't find my keys, work clothes, the baby's shoes, or anything else because of the chaotic condition of my house. I would load the dishwasher after getting home from work at 3 a.m. while counting how many hours of sleep I could get before going to my other job at 8 a.m. I felt like a robot. My relationship with my fiance suffered. It seemed as though I was living in a surreal dream. I was lost.
But, I kept going. I continued to work both jobs and bring home the money. It payed off as my kiddos had a wonderful Christmas full of giving and receiving. The bills were still behind, but we were making headway. We were on an upward slope to remove debt from our lives. However, the light in my kitchen has been out for a week, the baby ran out of diapers which meant a trip to the grocery store with 3 children at 7 o'clock at night, and McDonalds or Pizza Hut became a nightly dinner decision. I am convinced that this all happened because I was never home. On the rare occasion that I didn't work a double shift or both jobs and I was home, my fiancee was at work and all moms know how hard it can be to get everything done with toddlers running around. I needed more time at the house. I needed to work less.
It became very clear to me what I needed in life when my boss sat me down one day to talk. He wanted to know why I was late to work that day. He wanted to know why I seemed "negative" and the only answer I had (other than his REALLY poor management skills) was that I was tired. I went home that day and made a decision. If I was going to make a New Years resolution for 2016 to be happier and spend more time with my family, house, health, and hobbies, I needed to quit my job.
So I did. I quit. New Years Day was my first day off in 5 weeks. It was great. A day full of optimism, laughter with my children, love with my fiance, and even productivity around the house. I still work at the local bar and I really enjoy the 2 short days and 1 long day that I am there.
My first big step. Now what?
To be continued...