I have a dedicated reader who has asked a few times if I would write about whether our quality of life has improved since I quit my job....
Wow, that is such a difficult question. I feel I should say "yes" and "absolutely" and be done with the question. But in reality, this has taken so much thought. I keep tossing the question to myself over and over, and I keep coming up with new answers. So below are the points I keep thinking, but obviously this is a question that would be answered so different by every family. I am not making any judgments about other people's choices, only mine/our own.
1. Our stressful mornings have come to an end. No longer do we have to wake up the kids to haul them off to daycare in the morning. I don't constantly say "hurry, hurry, hurry" like I used to. I was always so stressed out in the morning until they were safely at daycare. Now we have relaxing breakfasts as we plan out our day in our pajamas.
2. We have more time on the weekends. Saturday and Sunday are no longer devoted to grocery shopping, trips to the dry cleaners, and general errand running that we didn't have time to do during the week. We spend more time together as a family.
3. My husband now spends more time with the kids. Often by the weekend, I really need some alone time. I need to be able to read uninterrupted, or even clean without a mess being made at the same time while cleaning. So I'm not sure we can say this is a quality of life improvement that my husband can agree to, since he thinks sleeping in late is the ultimate in quality. But really, who sleeps in with two little kids in the house?
4. I no longer feel that I don't have enough time with my kids. In the past, I never wanted to be without them on the weekends since I just didn't get to see them enough. Now I'm able to visit with friends, go to bookclub, catch a movie or go on a walk without feeling like I'm missing out on my kid's life. So really, socially, my life has improved too.
5. We do eat better now. We eat out much less. Often we would be without fresh food in the house since we ran out of time for grocery shopping midweek. I also have more time to plan meals, so we eat more of a variety too.
6. I'm raising my kids to believe that money isn't the most important thing in life. Being good people is more important that earning a lot of money and I think I made this clear just by putting them before my income.
7. On the downside, they do watch TV now. I always thought people were crazy to let their kids be influenced by TV at an early age. But now I find that I turn on Sesame Street a few times a week so I can get things done. I know, I do feel so guilty about this, but sometimes I just need a break where I know they will be safe and glued to a chair. (I'm having trouble saying this in print since I almost go so far as to close the curtains when I turn it on.)
To be continued....