A while back I wrote that Husband’s flirtation with working-from-home had not worked out so well on the domestic front. We had decided he should try to get another office job, but given the downturn in the economy, good jobs weren’t all that forthcoming. He decided to expand his resume from “hardware guru” to a more software-focussed skill set, and in the process came up with the idea to launch a small business tuned into the mobile phone applications market. He has since produced three iPhone apps and, with his connections in the tech world, it didn’t take long before external clients were talking with him about getting their App projects done. Today he completed his first contract and while it isn’t huge money it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Being that this new plan involved him staying at home, we knew we had to work on getting things to run a bit more smoothly ’round here. We sat down and divided up the week into blocks of time for each of us – when one is “at work” (holed up in the home office), the other is with the kids giving them (and the house) their complete attention. I cannot tell you what a difference this had made! Now I can be present with the kids and not wondering when and how I’m going to sneak off for a while to do one of the many work-related tasks piling up. And he’s actually playing with the kids and engaging with them much more often than he used to, now that he isn’t being pulled to his computer at every chance. The house has stayed MUCH more tidy than it has been in months, and I wake up to a clean kitchen every morning.
For my part, I’ve ended up with 25 hrs per week for work and related duties and I’m having no trouble making those hours productive. Which means that I have jumped ahead to being a fully part-time worker, rather than a “every once in a while” part time worker as I’d previously envisioned myself. Truth is, the work load was already there, I just didn’t realize it. No wonder I was feeling stressed and like I could never keep up! But what it means is that I have consequently undergone a rather large mental shift regarding my daily life and what it looks like.
For the past year I have considered myself largely a homemaker, focussing my energies on running a household frugally, sustainably, making food and other items from scratch etc. My inner identity was as such and when I imagined my days on our future small acreage it was with this image of myself in my mind. Now I’m realizing that a good portion of my week is as a business woman. There isn’t a swath of empty days to devote to homemaking, as I used to feel there was. And I’m coming to accept that things will likely only get busier from here on in. I am having to accept that “full time homemaker” is no longer an accurate description of my role in the family.
I’m not particularly upset about it. I’m enjoying my work and especially the pride I feel in having my own business that is successful enough to provide for our family while Husband has been finding his way to new work opportunities. Giving up any of my work right now is simply not an option: the return for the investment of my time is substantial, we’re saving for a house and a truck to pull our new (to us) trailer. And quite honestly, I truly enjoy it. If given the choice between running my business successfully and giving it up to be a full time homemaker I must admit I’d choose to keep my business (unless, of course, we were independently wealthy!).
The bottom line is that my priority is my children. Most of my time is still spent caring for them, interacting with them, and being involved in their learning. And when they are not directly under my care (though I’m accessible if needed) they are with their father. It’s an ideal arrangement and what we’d hoped for from the beginning – apparently we just needed a schedule to make it all work better (who’d have thought?)! But it does mean that I don’t have much time left to devote to homemaking (hmm, clean the oven or play with my Daughter?). I still make dinner five nights a week and the food is still wholesome and made from scratch. But I also think that my dreams of making my own natural soaps, learning to sew linens for my home, raising some laying hens, intensive canning and food storage, etc. may have to take a back seat to instead patronizing local artisans for their wares. And it may even mean hiring someone to do some cleaning and basic housekeeping duties.
So once again we’ve entered into a completely new and exciting phase of our lives. It’s a bit scary at times, but then even secure, steady-paycheck jobs aren’t always that dependable. And of course it opens up all sorts of possibilities regarding travel and living arrangements, being that – once Son is finished preschool – none of us will be beholden to an office or a classroom. Here’s to future success for both of us!