Sometimes in life, you reach a point where you must make a decision that scares you. For me, that time came last week. I made the decision to quit my full-time job in order to put my family and my health and wellness as a priority. I can’t remember a time I was more anxious over hitting the send button on an email.
For some time, quitting my job – or at least cutting my hours significantly – has been a discussion point for my husband and I. We both work(ed) full time. I would get up and rush to get myself ready before my one-year-old son got up, then try to get him ready and fed to hit the road for daycare. Most days, I found myself rushing to get to work at a reasonable time, but more often I was late. I was often frustrated at the feeling I was rushing my son to finish his breakfast so that I could get to work on time.
I rushed to leave work promptly at 5 p.m. so I could pick him up in a timely manner. Even then, we still did not get home until about 6:30 p.m. My husband would arrive home about the same time. We then began the weeknight rushed ritual to get my son fed, bathed and to bed by his 7:30 p.m. bedtime. This meant that, not counting hours spent in the car, I got to see my son about 1.5 hours per day, and on a good day, my husband might see him for an hour total. While we absolutely adore the woman who watches our son, I miss him every day of the week. My heart breaks every time I leave him at someone else’s home to trudge off to work. My husband has lamented this lack of time as a family as well.
Add to this that I have faced serious health consequences since my pregnancy. I had postpartum preeclampsia 10 days after my son was born. I am still on blood pressure medication, and my cardiologist and other doctors constantly berate me for not having done the work needed to lose weight and get myself in better shape. The postpartum preeclampsia essentially sent me into congestive heart failure. If you read about congestive heart failure, it’s a scary thing. I had fluid around my lungs. My heart wall had thickened from overwork trying to pump blood throughout my body. I am at greater risk for heart disease the rest of my life. Future pregnancies, if we decided to try again, would immediately be labeled high risk. The rushing around for work has meant less time to exercise and less time to focus on healthy nutrition.
And thus I faced a dilemma. Continue to work full time because I was scared to quit my job and lose my income, or recognize that my family needs my time and needs me to be healthy.
The final straw came this week when, because of something I’d forgotten to do, I had to go to the office with my son in tow to send an important email. (This was completely my error, by the way; one of many forgetful moments I seem to have since becoming a mom!)
He kept wriggling in my lap and trying to push the keys on my keyboard as I was struggling to send this important email, and I snapped at him. He immediately began to cry, and my heart broke yet again. Once I’d finished and we were on the road again to daycare, I cried. An email or a job are not more important than my son.
Thus, I quit. I don’t have another job lined up. I have a few ideas on how I can continue to contribute to our family’s income, and I know I will contribute more in the way of taking care of our child and our home. But I can admit I’m a bit terrified.
However, when all is said and done, I am more terrified of missing my son grow up. I am more terrified of not being a great mother because of failing health. I am more terrified of leaving my husband and son too soon because I did not take care of my health issues.
Further, I am learning to trust God. I’m praying that He will guide my steps and my family’s path. If I’m meant to work, I pray that He will help me find the right position. If not, I pray He will help us make good decisions financially and bless my husband’s career. When we take these leaps of faith, the Bible teaches that God will provide and to not be afraid.
No one ever says on their death bed that they wished they had worked more. The biggest regrets are failing to spend enough time with family. I refuse to let that be one of my regrets in life.
Have you ever done something that terrified you? What was it? How did you make the decision and follow through?