Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dreamin' for life

I have taken myself on a date. As I write, I am in Bellingham, at a Mexican Restaurant. Chips, Salsa, Sangria. I’m waiting on the seafood Taco salad and I spent the afternoon browsing TJ Maxx and Target admiring all the pretty things. It was lovely and restful. *edited to add* Turns out a seafood taco salad is not the best choice. I should have known, honestly. It’s a cheesy, fun Mexican place that specializes in tequila, margaritas and appies – clearly the seafood salad wouldn’t be its best offering. Ah well, you live, you learn.

At Target this afternoon I was buying a few decorations for Avie’s first birthday and I referenced “my daughter” at the till and thought, Holy Crap I’m an adult. I have a daughter! I’m a mom. That’s just crazy talk. How is that possible? I’m pretty sure I’m still a kid myself. I’ve gotten over the surprise that someone let me be a parent. Mostly parenting seems to be about patience and kindness rather than any real skill. So that works in my mind. I’m learning patience. But I am still sure I’m not an adult. A mom. It probably won’t sink in until she calls me that.

Either way, as I sit here in a space filled with happy talking, laughing people, I have so many thoughts in my mind. My year of maternity leave is officially over this week. I left work 5 weeks before Avie’s due date (a choice I was most pleased with) and then she was born almost 2 weeks late, so it makes sense that I’m done Mat leave when she’s only 10 and a half months old.  So the question arises – what now? I FOR SURE thought I would be pregnant by now – we’re been trying for months. Not being pregnant changes things. I’m not concerned yet – it took us a year and a half to conceive last time so of course it will take time again. Whenever I get pregnant I plan to go back to full time work for 6 months for the maternity leave so I don’t mind waiting a bit to get pregnant – I’d really like to have the summer home with Avie and other moms. In the mean time though, I need to make some plans. I want to stay home with Avie – so need to find work that accommodates that. I’ve found this last year, volunteering with church and being a stay at home mom, the most rewarding and enjoyable time in my life. I love being at Staff Meetings with church (admin, strategy and processes – my favourite things to think about), joining mom’s groups in the area, meeting with other moms and their babies, helping other moms when they need it (and receiving their help back when I need it) and running my house with enough hours in the day to do that well! I am not ready to give all of that up – not to mention not being ready to leave Avelynn. I love that girl. Thankfully we made our financial plans in life when Paul was a student and made nothing, so it’s not totally necessary that both of us work . We have students for what it offers us relationally as well as financially – students mean Paul didn’t have to work while in school, and I don’t have to work when we have kids. This has always been our strategy. That being said, making money is very helpful. Two incomes is definitely better than one – a second income means savings and working towards being debt free (we are close!). So I want to find something to do – just not full time office work. I feel like there are a few options in front of me. I do a lot of things in life for free that I could be getting paid for if I did it for people other than friends. Let me tell you about them.

1. Admin: Resumes. Editing. Already I do this for free for friends and family – I probably do 20 resumes each year and a ton of papers. I love taking a resume or paper and helping make it shine. I’m not great at inventing content but I’m awesome at making existing content look great. I have friends who have done this type of work on Craigslist and made decent money. I think that would be my plan. I could do this sort of work while Avie sleeps  (or plays quietly) or when Paul is around.

2. Event Coordinating: Weddings. Every year I do at least 5 weddings, and some years I have done up to 10. I love coordinating weddings – being the brain on the day of, so that the bride and groom get to just be bride and groom and not the brain. I love all aspects of it – knowing that my job is done best when no one knows I was even needed. This involves the day of the wedding, the rehearsal dinner and 2 meetings before hand. I could do 1-2 of these in a month.  This would mostly be when Paul is around to be with Avie.

3. Organization: Pantries / Closets / Rooms / Cupboards. Oh the joy that is brought to me when I get to take chaos and make it beautiful and functional. I have done this in our home and in the homes of many friends and family. I would thoroughly enjoy every part of this job. I don’t know anyone that does this, so it would be a bigger learning curve figuring out what to charge. This is something I can do with Avie or leave her for short bits.

4. Baby Concierge: Professional Mom-friend. This can involve everything from throwing showers for a soon to be mom, to helping with registries, to nursery organization and decoration or stroller purchases. There are so many working moms in Vancouver who are excited to be moms but until that baby arrives are in work mode and need/want help, and there are so many moms here without a support system who could use someone with insight into the baby world and strategies to help them cope/prepare. I love the idea of doing this. This is the trickiest in terms of figuring out what to charge and how each area could work together and separately. This would also involve some very clear advertising. This is easily done with Avie or with a babysitter or Paul for some of it.

5. Mom’s Helper / Girl Friday. I love grocery shopping, organizing fridges, packing lunches, prepping dinners, making meal plans, etc. I can picture working moms with kids in school who need day time help to make their lives smooth. This is something I can do with Avie.

I was talking to a friend about all this recently and she suggested working on trying all of it and just giving it ago, knowing that some of this won’t work, some of this will not make enough money, some of this will lose it’s joy once I’m paid, and some of it will be great. She said not to feel like a failure if it doesn’t work out. What have I got to lose? Honestly, this is the time to try. When I have just one baby. When I’m not in a position where I HAVE to make the money. I’m excited to try. Aside from my years in ministry, I’ve always worked because I had to. I’ve worked so many jobs I didn’t care about. The idea of doing work that I actually enjoy is exciting!

Speaking of decisions and things up in the air – the house we have rented for the past 3 and a half years is for sale. We find out this week or next, if we’ll be losing our home and needing to move, or if the new owners will want to keep us as tenants.  We wait with faith, we wait with anticipation, knowing that whatever comes, it will all work out. Either we will get a better house or we will get a better landlord – at least, that’s how we’re choosing to look at it. We love our home – LOVE. In fact last month I unpacked the last box. BUT we also know our home is a miracle and I believe that no matter what, God will provide again. There is no way we should pay what we pay and get what we get. But we do. So we have faith for the future. Most days that’s easy to believe – some days it’s hard. This decision impacts our family, and our students! It impacts our day to day life over the next years. We had imagined we would be sending our kids to school behind our house and now, who knows! So much up in the air. 

And then there’s my mom – still very much dying of Alzheimers and yet still very much not dead. I spent this morning with her and my sister and I was reminded of how desperate the situation is. How sad. How uncertain. Things will certainly change when she is gone, just as they changed with her illness.

So I sit here in tension. I’m so thankful for a free evening to be not responsible for baby, and yet I’ve been missing Avie and Paul like crazy. I’m excited to work in fulfilling ways and yet I’d honestly be perfectly happy never working, I do enough for free! I’m ready for what comes my way but have no idea what that is. I’m excited to see where we will live, how I will fill my time – what life looks like. What I know? God is good. God has always provided before. God will continue to provide. He loves me and I love Him. Being a mom is better than expected and I am married to a wonderful man, and father. I don’t know what’s up, but I am certainly happy where I am.
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