When You Just Don't Care Anymore.

7:56 PM Katy 19 Comments

Me and my kids have been praying for almost a year now that something would change in our lives. That circumstances would ease up. On top of the fact that I have one full time job, I started a side job too!  Since I started working full time 3 years ago, I know they have suffered. It is a fact that no human being can work a full time career and raise 3 kids on their own, without something getting neglected. I simply can't give everything 100%.
Me and my daughter had a meltdown over some massive school project this year and I think I actually yelled "I do not care what grades you get!!" - because I fundamentally believe that 4th grade is not worth getting an ulcer over.

But maybe the question I'm really wrestling with is this: when your job is directly in conflict with your family's well-being - what do you do?

Maybe that's a bad assumption. Maybe clinging to a job as if it is your only life raft is denying that God cares. I have to determine if I trust God enough to jump off another cliff. I know if I were married few people would criticize me for quitting a job.

But because quitting means putting us all in financial straits, this is another of those major risky life choices that I have to make alone. At the same time that I'm mulling this over, I'm also going full steam ahead with my plans for the beach shack. I'm waiting for the new builder to give me a contract, and even then this thing won't be finished before next winter.

So we've been tossing around a crazy idea. Just wondering if I've got the guts (faith? trust?) to go after it.

{My HR manager reads this blog. HI D!! :)  HAHA}

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  1. ((Katy)) I am so with you right now.

    Can you possibly work from home a few days a week? When I was an engineer, I used a VPN to log into my work computer & had my phone calls forwarded to my cell. I was at home 2 days a week & it was lovely.

    I ended up switching to teaching. Lost $50k/year, lost my days after school to lesson planning & grading, but gained summer & winter vacation. Gained the freedom to drive to South Dakota on a whim to see the Black Hills & Mt. Rushmore, and also gained about $35k in debt along the way (not to mention student loans).

    Now, after teaching for 4 years, there are times where I really want to go back to engineering, just so my bills can get paid off, but I don't think I will because I find more fulfillment in teaching.

  2. Tough decisions. You should build your beach shack, sell your house and move to the shack full time and be a hippy momma doing carpentry work to pay the bills.

  3. Oh Grace! :) Don't think I haven't been pondering that very idea!

    Kathy - thanks. The idea of working from home has been floated...I have a VPN but the issue is that I have to download massive files off the network and the VPN can't handle it. So it takes 2 hours to download one CAD file. :( I thought about teaching, but I'm no teacher. The summers off would be nice but the 50k pay cut...sigh.

    so I'm praying!!

  4. I made the decision to change jobs last fall. I wanted to have a less stressful job that would allow me to actually focus on my family when I'm home. I took a bit of a pay cut, I lost prestige (I guess that's how I would word it), but I am so happy I did it. THere are times when I miss the challenges of my career, but I never think about work after 5pm or weekends. Never, ever, ever. I'll pray for your family to make the best decision here.

  5. I've been struggling with this issue for awhile. For me, I have chronic pain issues and while I can work full time, it zaps everything out of me (and so I don't have as much energy for my daughter or husband). I am grateful that I am not the only paycheck in our house, but I certainly couldn't quit my job. I am working with my company to see if I can work from home or work fewer hours (with a pay cut, of course), but if that doesn't pan out I'm not sure what decision I'll make. At any rate, I feel your struggle and wish I had a magic wand that would make it all work out for all of us struggling with this.

  6. Is it possible to plan your off site days where you have the cad files you need on a portable drive? Then you don't need to download.

    But, if you are truly unhappy, something else has too change. Perhaps you could start a small jobs service. My elderly mom always needs stuff done around her house but feels like handymen are ripping her off! She'd probably love to find a woman owned version!

    Of course, I am not privvy to all the details of your real life, but financial pressures are nevera good thing to have to deal with.

  7. Well I'm trying to decide if I was happier when I was poor (but able to take care of my kids) - vs. now when I have enough money but i have no time or energy for the kids. :( I will think some more about the VPN issue..

    Jo - I understand. I have another friend whose family depends on her income and she is having major awful health issues. She's in the hospital right now so I feel guilty whining about my stuff. I know so many people struggle with this every day!

  8. I hear you!

    I am always amazed/in awe of those entrepreneurial folks who quit their jobs and head out on their own. Those people amaze me. So much courage, so comfortable with risk! I am deathly afraid of risk and hold onto my full time job year after year.

    So many people can and do make it but they also can and do fail. I guess it depends on how much of a reserve you can sock away and what you can do to make money if and when you quit. Grow your part time job? Build/fix things?

    Best of luck!!

  9. Oh, I have been where you are. I opted to just chuck it and elected to take a year off...then I took another year off. It changed my life. I had been one of those stressed out exhausted solo moms to small twins at the time. Yes, I had to change my life style and spending, but we made it and we all were happy living with less and having the time together. Nobody starved :) But I had a healthy reserve to draw from and did. no regrets about blowing through savings and some retirement money. It was probably the best money I have spent for the sanity of our family. I say if you can do it, go for it. When I was ready to go back to work, I found another position that offers more flexibility, less stress and more time to truly have work/life balance. Good Luck!

  10. Well, this is timely- I am married, but this effects us too. We have been talking a lot about this- even last night agonizing over it. I think this affects all working parents- life doesn't allow me to be a full time mom, I have to PAY someone else to do it and deal with all the shortcomings that go with that. I'm contemplating changing jobs which will give me even less time with the kids, but allow their quality of life, college education, maybe even a vacation to happen, so what do you do?? Makes me feel like an absolute failure...

  11. What does success mean though? Does it mean we get to see our kids more than 2 hours per day AND we get to pay for the (rip off, extremely overpriced) college educations - or do I accept that I will not be able to put them through (rip off) colleges, but I'll have time with them while they are still young? (yes I have an ax to grind with all of education right now)
    It's not just college - that's just one example of course. I am wondering - is it really all up to me? Am I really a failure as a parent if I can't provide them with all the lifestyle of the western middle class?
    Do I care what others think or do I only care what I think?
    What is it that my kids really want from me?

    And did I really just have a panic attack last winter about the layoffs at my company, going so far as to stockpile dry goods in my closet -- and now all of the sudden I'm willing to give it up!?

    (I think it's because I quit reading ALL news, cold turkey a few months ago)

  12. Do your best, it's all you can do. Most of us are going through something similar. My philosphy is, make the best decision that is right for you at that time and don't beat yourself up over it later. Live in the moment and don't what-if the future to death. Your kids are only young once and will remember their formative years forever. Go freelance, move to your beach house, leverage your blog for new opportunities, etc, do what's best now. You are a strong, resilient woman, you can do it!

  13. Interesting, your statement "...when your job is directly in conflict with your family's well-being..." Does your job allow you to keep a roof over your head? Food on the table? Do you feel that the time you spend working is what conflicts with your family's well-being? Why did you take on a second job? How have your kids suffered from you working full-time? Have they really suffered, or are you in conflict and feeling guilty? When I went back to work full time last year, I felt horrible that I no longer could volunteer at school or walk with my 4th grader to school. But when I asked him about it, he wasn't bothered at all. I so wanted him to feel the same angst I was! I was merely transferring all the crappy guilt and mourning I was feeling into my kids universe. Is there a way to "adjust" without ditching the engineering job? Financial worries are stressful too.

  14. Susan - all good questions! :)

    In my case there were severe issues this past year w/ my kids, stuff that I don't want to blog about because of privacy -- truly it has nothing to do with not being able to volunteer on the PTA. It's a bit more serious than that. I am not thinking about quitting the full time job forever -- more like a year or two (kinda like what Teri talked about upthread)

    but yes, finances are definitely a concern!!

  15. Whenever I have a tough decision like this, I ask myself, "What would I want my daughter to do if she was in this situation?" Putting her in the question has made all my decisions so much easier to make. I wouldn't want her to put up with a cheating husband, so he went to the curb. Wouldn't want her to put up with someone who didn't do his share of the work. Wouldn't want her to work for an abusive boss, even if the money was good. Your kids are going to someday live their own lives off the roadmap example you've set, and even though I only know you thru this blog, you seem like such a wonderful example. Sometimes you can live too safe, be too prudent. Taking chances are what taught us to fly.

  16. hey, the above posted said part of what i would say. i had been married 25 some years- you know, by that time we all assume marriage was clear sailing. but i had never been ME during those married years. i had lived under the thumb, so to speak. my sister said to me - how would you want your daughter to live? be her role model. and i thought long and hard about what values i was teaching especially my daughter (but also my son) and decided i had to leave the life we had. the pool, the amazing house on the golf course, the pool guy (heh), the security. in one moment, my kids' lifestyle was "reduced" by at least half. the lack of security was the hardest for me. everything depended on me, but you know what, i was and am smart and capable. and a year after my divorce i left my secure job, taking a huge risk to move into a new field and demanding a certain salary. i was so sure that would bomb out. but it didn't.....and the way it has made me feel (i am of worth!) and the way it has informed my kids has been worth it. when it came to college time (never mind that their father drugged away all the savings we had for their college futures), i told my kids i'd meet them halfway on any road they would take. didn't matter the road, but i insisted there BE a road. with my son, it was risky business because he was 1 point away from failing high school and it took warrior-like methods for us to prevent that. two years later? he made the dean's list in college. ok yes, i have college loans to pay for and so do my kids. but you know what? my son's are paid off, and half of my parent loans are paid off. and my daughter scholarshiped her way through college. in searching for supplemental ways to bolster my income in ways that i felt didn't compromise me- new worlds were revealed to me. i had no idea and had i not been searching for ways to make it in my new life, those worlds would never have happened. i ended up with contracts to write three books and the proceeds from those books went to my kids' college education. and having written those books, doors opened for me in a field i felt i was too old for. but it takes a ton of courage and lots of shaking in your shoes. it's one thing to say i will go without this and that, it's another thing to make that choice for my kids. their faith in me- oh my gosh, what a wonderful blessing. and i read this in your blog every time i come here. your resiliency, your intelligence, your wise wariness and your strappiness- you've a beautiful blend of gifts. both my kids are now independent adults and i want to say everyone who comes to know them are amazed at "where" they are in life. i want to say it is partly to do with having a mother who decided, at a late moment, to grow her own life. it also helps that their father has served as ....hmmm...an opposite example. rooting you on, katy.

  17. You never know what might open up though. I switched jobs during a precarious time in my life and it actually worked out PERFECTLY. So, you never know!

  18. I am so sorry for you Katy! Kids are our number one but we still need to be able to take care of their basic needs. I hope that things work out for you and you find a happy balance!....or you win the lottery!


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