I’ve had some heavy thoughts on my mind lately. Thoughts on going back to work, blogging, and purpose. I had a big revelation; but let me start at the beginning.
In 2009, I left my career in insurance to run our construction business. I spent the next 2 years learning the ins and outs of an S-Corp. Tax forms, payroll, learning Quickbooks. I took classes and studied. The basic idea in any business is to get the paperwork and money where it needs to go before something bad happens.
Fast forward to 2011. My daughter is in school all day. What used to be a full time job is now second nature; and I have free time on my hands for the first time since I had a baby. I didn’t know what to do.
So I joined the neighborhood association and the PTA. I helped coach soccer teams. I learned to write grants, the ugliness of politics, and to see the beauty in people. It was another stepping stone, all meant to prepare me for something.
I started a bow business and had a few boutiques carrying my hair accessories. (Okay, one of them was a gas station…)
I wanted to start a blog and sell online. I have a fashion design degree, but hadn’t touched a sewing machine since college. I had a new baby niece and I wondered if I could remember how to make clothes.
The blog turned into a love story. I never did get around to selling much, but it’s a chronicle of my daughter, niece, and nephews growing up. A journal of my sewing successes and failures, what I’ve learned, what I want to learn. A place to meet people who were interested in the same things as me. I’ve made so many great friends here!
After over 2 years of writing here at SewsNBows, I’m starting to see some revenue. Not a lot, but enough to feel good about. My goal last year was to make my blog pay for my sewing habit, and I did. The real validation is that people read it. I love that I have something to share!
In January we moved away from the city to a farm. Our prayers were answered. I can’t even tell you what a big prayer it was, and how much God’s hand was in this thing.
I have a routine in place here. I have farm chores, things I need to do for the construction business, and things I need to do for the blog. The blog has really taken a backseat this year with moving and getting settled in. Rural internet is so slow, just maddeningly slow. I have to be in a patient mood to mess with it. So while SewsNBows is here to stay, I haven’t been promoting it like a good blogger, or putting in the time needed to make a hobby blog pay for itself.
My revenue has dropped, which is fine. Money is tighter since moving, but all our bills are paid. We have groceries and a little extra. We aren’t lacking anything. I certainly don’t need anything to occupy my time. But…
It sort of hurts my pride. I like having my own little pennies. I draw a paycheck from the construction business, because the government says I have to. My husband does all the heavy lifting, I barely lift a paper clip. In all fairness, my paycheck is really his paycheck; cut in half. He will tell you different, because he loves me and he’s proud of me. He has set up a very comfortable life for our family. He gets me, and how I need to be needed. He tries to make me feel valuable and appreciated.
When I asked him if I should get a part time job, his answer was, “If that’s what you want.” I tried to decide if he meant “I want you to stay home, but if you prefer working go ahead.” Or maybe he meant “If you want to contribute more, please feel free to take some of the pressure off me.” Edson is an Aries, a true ram. I realized he meant exactly what he said. Whatever I want. And the truth is, I didn’t know.
Still. I spent the week looking at jobs offers. My daughter sat next to me yesterday and asked what I was doing. I told her that if we can’t get decent wifi, I wanted to find a new way to earn a little spending money. I explained that I feel good when I have my own, independent income, and maybe it’s ingrained in me because I was raised by a single mother. She listened, and told me I should get a job at a fabric store. Ha! We all know that would end badly, right? Or maybe it makes sense. I work for fabric anyways…
I’m getting to the point of this post, I promise. Bella and I chatted some, and she went off to hole up in her room; like girls her age sometimes do. Then she came back crying! She told me she didn’t want get up early and ride the bus to school. She said she doesn’t want to wait for both her parents to get off work in the afternoon. She needs my help with homework. She even told me, “If you go work I must deserve it; for thinking you’re so annoying! I’m sorry for thinking that.”
What? Me going to work is a punishment? I let that soak in a little. I’ve always felt it’s a privelege to be at home. A privelege for me, that is. I get to make my own schedule, and I have a few (glorious) hours each day to spend as I choose. A luxury. Have I been trying to earn it or justify it in some way? My mom never had that option, so maybe I beat myself up a little. Finding ways to earn a little extra money is is/was source of pride for me. Doing volunteer work, writing a blog; it’s all because I was searching for validation.
All those things are good, but why did I not feel validated by driving my baby to school? Packing her lunch? Sitting on the couch and chatting about school? My husband sees the worth in that. My daughter does. How did I miss it?! That’s my great revelation. It took working at an insurance office, running my own business, volunteering for various board positions and organizations, starting side businesses and investments, writing a blog, and a buying a farm for me to realize that I was looking in the wrong place for personal fulfillment.
Everybody always says that God has a plan. I’ve seen the way each of my experiences prepares me for the next. I thought the plan leads you to where you are supposed to be. Now I’m thinking the plan is designed to make you who you are supposed to be.
I’m not saying I won’t go back to work when the time is right, or dream of buying a shop in town. Im still planning to invest in some cattle. I’m enjoying getting involved with our church and meeting people. Going to work or staying at home; by choice or neccesity… It doesn’t make you a good or bad person. You can make your “resume” look amazing, but what you do physically, or what you earn: it isn’t who you are.
This isn’t a post about staying home or going to work. It’s about knowing your own worth. It’s a wonderful thing to be needed and valuable. I was just looking in the wrong places! It turns out, the little things are what make me important. The back rub before bed. Cutting the crust off the sandwich. I never thought I was fabulous for driving my child to school. Those things are just part of being a mom. But they are worth a lot, and us women tend to forget that.
Have any of you ever undervalued yourselves? Just in case, I wanted to write about it. It feels good to know that I am important to my family, even if I’m sooo annoying:)