Monday, March 03, 2008

Workin' It

Twelve years ago, when CJ and I were newlyweds and expecting TJ, we decided that we would not count on my income to maintain our home and pay bills. We both agreed that we liked the idea of my first priority being the raising of our future children. Back then we didn't know that this was the best choice we could have made. Autism and a high-needs child weren't even close to being on our radar. But I believe that things happen how they are meant to happen, and we have been able to be flexible with my employment when we have really needed to be.

Its been 5 years since I've worked a traditional job. I'll start something new, just get to feeling like I'm in the groove and settled, and then stuff will happen at home with JJ that makes it necessary for me to quit and be home with him. It might be 6 straight weeks of JJ not sleeping at night. A new "negative behavior" that gets him sent home from school at least twice a week. Or refusal to go to school at all. Whatever the reason, the result is that I get to add one more abandoned job to my history.

Then came The Internet. The beauty of this techno age we live in is that so many of us, who may have found it challenging to hold down a job in the past, can now work from the comfort of our homes, in our pajamas, in the middle of the night. (Hmmm. Like I am right now.) For someone like me who has an inconsistent schedule, and also is a bonafide night owl, it couldn't be more perfect. My plan is to add many enjoyable years of working online to my resume.

For the past nine months I have been working a part time job for my local newspaper. For five or so hours a week, I log in and write about local events, chat with other moms in my city about anything and everything, and help to keep the message board flowing. It feels more like making friends than work. The payoff is just a tiny bit of spending money every month. It's nice to have that small check to cash if CJ and I need a night out. To not be strapped when JJ ruins another pair of shoes or needs more diapers than we planned for. This job is a blessing and, literally, would not exist if we didn't live in a time where working and socializing online is commonplace.

There is some disappointment due to the fact that I can't get out there and have a regular job. In a lot of ways I envy working women. I miss being friendly with coworkers. I'd like more acclaim for a job well done. I liked dressing up and getting out of the house more than once a week. Heaven knows it would be awesome to get a real paycheck. My small addition to the family income hardly makes a dent. I'd love to be able to earn enough that we could afford a nicer home in a safer neighborhood. The weight of that lies on CJ, and there are times when it bears heavy on his shoulders. I'd like to lighten his load.

Tending to the day-to-day responsibility of my three young kids is the trade. And on most days I'm happy with it. I get to be the comforter and listening ear. I have a minivan that gets well used. I can drop everything and gives hugs and kisses, and not have to wait till I punch the clock at the end of the day. I think, when my kids are grown, I'll look back and be satisfied with this choice. There is nothing more valuable than my family, and devoting this time to them is worth every second.

Catch me if you can-
~AJ

1 comment:

Inkling said...

These last four or five posts are just incredible. I think you're on your way to a book--a much-needed book. No one from the outside can see what this is like for you, and you seem to have a gift for telling it from the inside.