It has been two months exactly since I was laid off.
It still feels like yesterday.
On Sunday nights, I still get that “Gotta go to work in the morning” feeling. Every morning I wake up and turn to grab my work clothes.
Then I remember. I have nowhere to go. I stay here.
Right now, I am the work-at-home mama of two. Both kids are home with me all day every day. In between breakfast, snack time, and potty training, I manage the needs of my growing list of social media and freelance writing clients. Luckily, most of my work can be handled by e-mail with the occasional naptime phone call.
Right now, I’m making mortgage money, something I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to do once the hammer came down back in November.
Somehow I’m making it work. Is it hard? Hell yes. I work all the time now. Evenings, weekends, middle of the day, 1 a.m. – I’m usually up, typing away, doing research, editing, scheduling social media updates.
But I’m my own boss. I get to spend all day with my kids. I’m pocketing the $1,100 per month we were spending on daycare. I save the two hours a day I was spending in the car driving to and from work.
Life is good.
I’ve concluded, definitively, that this was the best thing to happen to me. The best. Even though I didn’t think so at the time.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflection over the past couple days and of course, I’ve come up with some lessons. Feel free to think I’m talking directly to you. Because I am:
1. Self-care needs to be higher on your list. Spending all day at home has allowed me to slow down and take stock of my life. My nails (hands and feet) are always in a “Ugh, I need to get a mani/pedi” mode. I don’t get a chance to do my hair nearly often enough, and my wardrobe is blahsy, blah, blah. I eat too much of the wrong foods and I don’t hardly drink enough water. But now? I’m working out 4x per week, and I keep my water bottle with me. Still working on the hands and feet, but I’m on my way.
2. Kids need attention more than your money. My babies love nothing more than to just sit in my lap and let me rub their bellies. All this time, I’ve been focused on making money. Trying to make sure they never ever have to go without. New clothes, new toys, organic food, enough extra money to keep the heat on 75 in the winter. Yeah, I wanted them to have all that. But now I realize that I should’ve spent more time on the floor with them doing puzzles or making silly faces.
3. Exercise will help you get through the day. Do it as soon as you wake up. If I don’t work out within an hour of waking up, there’s a 90% chance it won’t happen. But once it’s out of the way? It’s smooth sailing from there. I have more energy, more patience, I start the day already feeling like I’ve accomplished something.
4. You need less money than you think. This goes along with #2. I became so preoccupied with my job and making more money that it was really taking a toll on my mental health. And now that we’re down to one steady income, I’m finally seeing that most of my hard work was going straight to daycare bills. How lovely.
5. Quiet time is great. I mean really, really great. That is all I have to say about that.
6. Smoothies are a multitasking mama’s best friend. I can get about 250 calories in one smoothie, complete with protein, fiber, vitamins, you name it. Takes 3 minutes to make once you have the ingredients and it’s a healthy boost.
7. Plan your life and make it count. I feel so fortunate that I had other avenues to turn to once I got the notice that my position was eliminated. (By the way, they have GOT to come up with a better way to say you’ve been laid off. Like, “We can’t afford to pay you anymore, because you’re too awesome for us!”) But that’s because I made it a point to always have multiple options just in case ish went down. And it did. So make that back-up plan, even if you’re confident. You’ll be glad it’s there.
8. Food is awesome. Man, if I could marry a plate of brownies or a pulled pork sandwich, I sure would. They are DELICIOUS and something about great food just makes you…well, you know:
But I’ve been using food for everything lately. For a hobby – I’m learning how to bake and giving the results to my husband’s co-workers and the neighbors. For my kids – teaching them basic lessons using cooking and measuring as starting points. Love.it.
9. Get out the house. For your sanity’s sake. This applies to stay-at-home moms AND those who work outside the home. Get out the house. Go to Panera. Or the bookstore. Just sit and read a magazine. Then go home.
10. All you need is within you. Even if you’re scared, you think you don’t have what it takes, you think the economy is too rough, you think your friends won’t support you – it doesn’t matter. You CAN do it. Don’t be scared. Don’t let that fear paralyze you. You can do it – now go!