The first time I tried to write this post, it ended up a rant, so I stepped away, breathed deeply and thought…three things I should do more often. Here’s what I wanted to say…
After working full-time since I was 14, sometimes holding more than one job, I found myself laid-off and 9 months pregnant! Thankfully my husband is gainfully employed, but it took us a while to understand the financial impact my lack of work would have on us. Even worse, no one imagined the emotional toll it would take on me.
9 months pregnant, laid-off with a two year old was the scariest place a person who at age 12 imagined her adult life as a powerful business woman with a meditation room and a sparse, but chic loft, and after snapping out of my fugue, I found myself surrounded by piles of laundry, unpaid bills and cobwebs (both literally and figuratively). No one had noticed that I was just going through the motions.
I remember very clearly that one day I got up and said enough. Despite my endless job search and fruitless first and second interviews, I was still in my jammies, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out of my house. So, I decided that even a part-time job would do. Thanks to Craigslist, I contacted everyone that had posted a job I could do and thankfully, I got a part time job that day. So what if it wasn’t at the pale scale I was accustomed to, and it wasn’t a full time job with all the mental challenges I so adored…it was forward momentum. I was a workaholic, lost in the land of diapers, dribble, dirty dishes. Although I love my children, I needed to work. Arriving to that realization was not difficult at all. The difficulty lies in how to balance my need to work, and my need to raise my children, and realizing that the reason I could not land a full-time job was that deep down, I didn’t want one.
My husband, who secretly wished I would be a stay at home mom, watches me go through these changes as I try to figure out where the balance in my life lies, although balance may not be the right word since there’s no formula and the key may be that certain areas of your life are imbalanced for short period of times. A balance that’s even harder to find when you are culturally schizophrenic, as is the case with me. When it comes to my family, it’s all about my Cuban/Colombian heritage – my kids, my rules, my home cooked meals, my home. When it comes to me, I’m all about my…male side, my time, my ambition, my results, my ego. Marrying these two sides has been challenging to say the least, but I’m learning that the key is to be flexible, forgiving and a little creative.
That’s why I decided to become a marketing consultant, and the reason that I’ve (thankfully) been freelancing for almost two years now, because the thought of not seeing my children regularly, enjoying them, going through so many “firsts” with them really breaks my heart, I’ve decided to sacrifice in other areas. Gone are the days of weekly mani-pedi’s, expensive haircuts and highlights, my show fetish, quarterly trips, fine dining at a whim, my daily Perrier and Starbucks habit, all the cable channels, etc., etc. I tried being the person that doesn’t miss the finer things in life, living minimally, but that’s just not me. I love luxury items! I love to pamper myself! But not at the cost of my family’s security, so I’m learning how to live luxuriously, at a discounted rate, and how to grow my business steadily so that as my children grow, we can all move forward together.