Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.
Changing jobs is scary. If anyone else tells you otherwise, they’re lying. Even if it is a bad situation, there’s still something comforting about the devil you know.
So I did that recently, changed jobs. It was a fairly decent job as these things go, work that I enjoyed, pay that kept the lights on, and coworkers who were decent human beings. But I was struggling because it was an office gig, and I have two young children.
Kids need their moms, for school stuff, when they are sick, and for activities and doctor checkups (seriously, every three months for babies). I got tired of the awkward conversations with my boss, Ace has another doctor visit, Sweetpea’s school called and said she has a fever, I have a dentist appointment. It was this terrible mixture of guilt and shame, and I just got fed up feeling that way. I needed to find something that was a better fit for me and my family.
I was tired of putting my writing dreams on the shelf too. The kids were up early, up late, up all through the night. Writing at home was a bust. But I wasn’t writing at work, because I was slogging through emails even during my lunch break. I couldn’t stay late because the preschool closes at 6 on the dot. (It also looked like not staying late would cost my any chance of a promotion too.)
I needed to write when my brain was at its best, which is during daylight hours. I’ve never been a night owl, and forcing myself to write during off-peak times was making me frustrated and unhappy. I had to be an adult, take some long walks, and really think about what my family and I needed.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to evaluate my life. Both before and after I got my MBA, I considered why I wanted it and what I planned to do with it. I thought about starting my own business, doing something crazy and new. At the time I said no because Sweetpea was a baby, don’t rock the boat. But now the kids needed me and I couldn’t be there for them, trapped by the very job I had thought was safe.
I was unhappy, and it was beginning to show in my health. I had insomnia at night when the kids weren’t awake (yeah, that’s a real bummer) and I couldn’t seem to lose the baby weight after Ace. I started binge reading to keep my mind off of life. As long as I filled up my head with TV and books and podcasts, I was okay, but eventually I had to take those quiet walks and admit to myself and to my family that I needed a change.
The good life is good now. I kept Ace home one day when his babysitter was sick, worked on my laptop, and everything was fine. I picked Sweetpea up from school early one day so we could have some special time together before the guys got home. My cellphone was on in case someone called.
And I’ve been able to focus on my writing, wrapping up Gaslight Carnival by the end of July. I’m excited to have it up on Amazon in August. It won’t be perfect, but I’m learning and growing and like to think that my beginning mistakes will be small and easily forgiven.
For everyone else who might be staring a tough decision in the face, I want to share my encouragement. We have to do what is right for ourselves and for our families. Sometimes that means going big or going home.