Things have been more than a little stressful here recently. Let me explain. Adam has a ‘big’ job; one that he enjoys and that pays well, but that demands a lot of him. He usually leaves the house at 6.30am and gets back at 7pm, sometimes later, commuting an hour each way. He stays away in London a lot too. Big jobs come at a price, I guess. That’s the deal though, and we accept that. We always decided that, once kids came along, one of us would do the big job thing and the other one would take the reins at home, be present, in control of stuff. (That’s me, the latter, as I was the lesser earner…)
Well… it was… but recently I have been working a lot too. (By a lot I mean more than blogging and vlogging, which I earn from but which I can control the pace of.) I took on too much, got extra childcare and domestic help. I chose money over time. And I didn’t enjoy it, not one bit.
I was really stressed out so I couldn’t be there for my husband. I missed the kids. I was no longer in control of my domestic life (in fact I was more out of control as even though the cleaner kept on top of the cleaning, the tidying up and washing etc is still there, every day!)
I briefly swapped my role at home for money, and asked other people to fill in the gaps – my mum, the cleaner, the after school club people. But I didn’t like it, so I was in a foul mood: snapping at the kids and Adam, constantly on my phone when I should’ve been present, even when I wasn’t supposed to be working.
It also made my health suffer. I have a mild form of colitis that is getting worse. I know, deep down, that stress exacerbates symptoms, but I have had my head in the sand about it, even though my stomach aches and is bloated all the time.
I couldn’t be there for Adam when he was feeling stressed and exhausted, because I was wrapped up in my own ball of stress and exhaustion, worrying that I wasn’t delivering on the promises I had made, work wise. Also I was annoyed that I was still being the primary carer and also bringing home the bacon as it were, when he was ‘just’ doing the latter.
Artie was going to after school clubs, and Bea was in extra childcare. Which meant I couldn’t work on Artie’s reading and writing. I couldn’t closely monitor Bea’s ongoing toilet training issues. I was brushing these things under the carpet, hoping they would improve without my input.
My family life suffered for a bit, without a doubt. But – hey – at least I had more money in the bank, right? Well, yes, but because of my unhappiness I was quickly spending it to fill holes. “I deserve this lunch out / new jumper / shoes for Bea” (that she didn’t really need).
Creatively, I have been unable to really invest time in things. I have been rushing posts on here, I haven’t been able to progress ideas for new blog posts, or even cook recipes for pleasure. My photographs have been taken in a whirlwind without paying real attention to making them as good as they can possibly be.
In short, everything was rushed, stressful and I wasn’t doing anything well. Spreading yourself too thin I think you call it?? Yep. I was a thinly spread woman.
So on Monday I made a decision. I had a moment of clarity. I hadn’t been in this position for too long so why not bail? Why not just chuck it in, the paid work? Concentrate on being a good wife, a better mum, a healthier, more present person. We could afford it. Finances would be way, way tighter, but we’d get by.
I emailed Adam so see what he thought. His words: “Do it. We’ll just eat spam instead of ham.” And that’s why I married him.
So, we’ll cut our cloth, be frugal, have less money. But we will have a better relationship, and I will have TIME! The most important commodity of all. Cliche though it is, it’s true.
I’m actually really excited about my new time. Bea goes to school in September so I want to be with her as much as possible. I am excited to be more frugal and hopefully more creative too, hell I think I’ll blog about it, so that’s a whole new thread of creativity right there! I can’t wait to share the memories I make as well as the recipes in all my extra time.
What a relief.
But I know many women who have to work. Who don’t have a choice. And I have nothing but respect for them; when both parents are working their arses off as well as bringing up a family, it’s hard. Let alone if you are doing it on your own. But I am very fortunate, in that I have a choice. And I chose time over money.
I think I made the right choice, what do you think?