As it stands at this current moment, I work a day job, raise a four year old boy, write fiction, and work as a reader for a literary magazine. That doesn’t take into account the time I spend as a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an in-law, or a cleaning and organizing machine. My husband performs a similar juggling act on a daily basis, and we both have some health limitations that get in the way of things changing. The money situation is a little tough. We pinch pennies. We scuttle by from check to check. We save a pittance every month.
There are people in my life who worry about me. Or more accurately, they worry about my son, Logan. They feel like I need a bigger income source to support him and, because they have a ton of faith in me, they honestly believe I could do more with my life. They say things like “You could be an executive/personal assistant and make more than you make now.” And they would be right.
It’s tempting. It really is. But there’s a problem. I love my job. Like, really love it. Like, for the first time in a very long time, I don’t dread coming to work in the morning. I like the people I work with. I like the company I work for. I enjoy the work I do. I also happen to love the fact that I can do my job in the time between 9:30 and 5:30 with only occasional bursts of overtime. I’ve done the personal/executive assistant thing. I’ve done the ‘tied to your blackberry’ thing. It ate up my life and my sanity.
It would mean no more writing. Less time for my family. As it is, I barely scrape together time for either now. Those two things, especially for a person with a lifelong struggle with depression, are unacceptable losses. So, I stay at my (still nicely paying) job, and don’t push myself much further than that. Because I think it’s more important for Logan to have a sane mother than a crazy, stressed to the breaking point, shrew. I need those outlets to continue to be me.
There will probably be few big family vacations. Logan will not go to a private school. But he eats three square healthy meals a day and so do we. All of our extra money is spent on cool little adventures getting him trinkets and things I know he’ll love. He won’t live an extravagant life, but he has a loving family and he has grown up confident of that fact, knowing that he can count on Mommy and Daddy, his grandparents, his aunts and uncles and cousins – that they will be there for him no matter what.
More importantly, he is a happy boy. Because his Mommy and Daddy are happy people, despite the struggle it took to get us there.
So, I refuse to feel guilty about my choices in raising my son…
…for at least the next fifteen minutes….