This coming May it will be a year since I bowed out of the two-and-a-half years I spent back working in an office environment. I was away from home for a minimum of ten hours a day, I was working one city over which meant that I couldn’t duck out to help with kid-related activities, and with other commitments there were some days where I didn’t even see my kids.

There were some days where I didn’t even see my kids.

This was unacceptable. I like being a Mom and I like hanging out with my kids and I like doing things like cooking dinner and I like driving home after school and debriefing the day. (I hate packing school lunches, but I know that I’m not alone in this.) I have three of the greatest children ever to exist and I missed so much when I wasn’t here. I missed so, so much.

Once I went back to being self-employed, my world righted itself. One huge factor what that I started volunteering again to help out with school-related activities. I made dirt cake with Emily’s Kindergarten class in the spring, I’ve accompanied her class for three skating days, and I help with journals every Monday and Friday that I can. Journals are the BEST and if your kids’ class does them, you need to help, even if you have to fake a cough and take a “sick day.” They write a sentence or five and draw a photo to accompany the story and it is fifty shades of awesome. There are boys in her class whose entries vary between ‘I have hockey this weekend’ and ‘I had hockey this weekend’ and one kid who writes about his XBox 360 for EVERY entry and one friend of Emily’s whose entry was ‘My Mom was supposed to bring my show and tell and she forgot.’ The picture that she drew was a ‘sad face.’ So much funny, every time.

I’ve helped out in the boys’ classes too, to a lesser extent, because they don’t need as much parental help as the younger ones do. I helped carve pumpkins with Nathan’s class for Halloween and I’m currently helping with his class as it’s their turn to skate. While his anxiety is pretty much under control, new things still bring on The Worries. We got onto the ice, and the crocodile tears started. He “couldn’t skate” (he was playing hockey last year) and he didn’t want to and I had to pull out the big guns (empty threats)(don’t judge) to get him back on the ice. We spent the time holding hands and by the end of the hour, he was asking to skate when I stopped to talk to a friend. He then skated on his own when it was time to leave. WINNING.

Graham’s even older, being in fifth grade, so they don’t need help with printing or crafts or even skating (aside from helping to tie up the skates). The fifth grade teachers planned a day trip to a camp up in the mountains and he asked if I could volunteer to help. Of course I could. We boarded the school bus (First time since I was a kid!) and made the forty-five minute drive to Silver Lake camp. My friend Christine and I were in charge of the snow show station and it was so much fun. It was my first time being on snow shoes, but walking on a frozen lake and through a forest of snowy trees was pretty magical.

The fresh dump of snow last night made it more of a workout and despite wails from the peanut gallery, they were all grinning from ear-to-ear. Graham included.

The live snakes also had them all grinning ear-to-ear.

(I kept my distance.)

I could work in an office and make much more money that I do now, but it’s just not worth it to me. I get paid in hugs and kisses and snowball fights on the walk to the van after school and my eldest child asking to sit with me on the bus ride home from a day excursion. I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know that I am completely content being “just a Mom” right here, right now.

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  1. monstergirlee February 8, 2013 3:49 am edit

    I am so glad to be a SAHM right now. Sure things are tight financially, but we’re so much a happier family with me this way. It just really works for us.
    Hope things continue to work out for you all too.

    1. angella February 8, 2013 3:50 pm edit

      Thanks! I hope the same for you. :)

  2. Hannah February 8, 2013 6:39 am edit

    Yep, I totally hear ya! I’m so happy that you were able to make the change, and it’s great that you’ve been able to become involved with your kids’ activities and help out at school. The trip you just went on with Graham’s class sounds like fun (apart from the snakes, yikes).
    I’m so glad I made the decision to work from home when Ethan started school. I love being able to attend their sports days and help out on some of their school trips … and I love being here when they come home every day. I have friends who work (and commute) and miss out on a lot of those things, and it sucks.

    1. angella February 8, 2013 3:52 pm edit

      It does. I love that you get to be there for them, too. :)

  3. annettek February 8, 2013 10:25 am edit

    I really hoped for this for you when you first started talking about it. I’m so glad you’re there now!

    1. angella February 8, 2013 3:53 pm edit

      Aw, thanks, you. It’s a little tighter financially, but I’m 1000% happier. That wins. :)

  4. D February 8, 2013 10:58 am edit

    I like it that I can hear your voice in my head when I read your posts now.
    One of my favorite parts of our visit was that I got to see you with your kids. Amanda too!

    1. angella February 8, 2013 3:53 pm edit

      I love that I hear your voice when I read your posts, too. :)

  5. Jen Wilson February 8, 2013 11:35 am edit

    I am SO with you. Although I wish I could work in the girls’ classrooms. I cannot, due to the two little boys who are with me all day every day. I think I worked in Kaylie’s Kindergarten classroom once (after I went on mat leave and before Liliana was born). I’ve always either worked full-time or had a baby/toddler during the day.

    I love LOVE not working outside the home. I mean, I guess I do with my cleaning job, but I do it when it works for me. I do not miss having set working hours. Just the thought of having to be at work on time gives me anxiety!

    Although being self-employed sucks once a year: tax time.

    1. angella February 8, 2013 3:54 pm edit

      Ha! Yes, that. But the freedom is SO worth it.

  6. Renee February 11, 2013 1:38 pm edit

    It’s good to hear that you have found a balance that works well for you – that’a great feeling! I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, as you’re obviously a very nice person, but if you re-read your post pretending it was you of 2 years ago reading somebody else’s post, you may find it doesn’t make you feel as warm and cozy inside. Working outside the home doesn’t have to mean missing out on your kids. And, frankly, even if it doesn, lots of women don’t have the choice. Anyway, just my two cents…maybe I’m off base.

    1. angella February 11, 2013 1:45 pm edit

      Not off base for you, at all. I’m just writing about how I feel. Two years ago, I worked outside of the home because I had to … and cried almost every day. This post is about me and how I feel, and is not meant to reflect how anybody else feels about their own situation. :)

  7. Kami February 11, 2013 4:24 pm edit

    I agree, it’s what works best for our family too!

  8. Shamelessly Sassy February 11, 2013 6:52 pm edit

    I’m glad you are getting to do what is best for your family. I feel like that makes sleeping so much easier at night. That said, I may have had to bow out of the field trip if I knew a loose snake was involved. :)

  9. Over-Thinker February 11, 2013 8:39 pm edit

    I’ve spent a good portion of this afternoon catching up on your blog – I’m so glad to hear that puzzle pieces are coming together for you in the happiness department. I really admire how you live your life :-) And you also make me snort out loud which is equally important. xo

    -OT

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