It occurs to me that although I write about a lot of things in life on my blog, there are also a lot of things I don’t write about. And while I hadn’t written about this one, it occurred to me that I probably should since it is kind of a major life change. I wrote this essay several weeks ago, not really sure what I was going to do with it. But…well…here it is.
When we moved back to Huntsville several years ago, my dad called me out of the blue right after I had quit a new job that I hated and was wondering what on earth I was going to do, and he asked me if I could come into his office to help him with something for a couple of hours. It was just one thing; he is a CPA and he needed someone to do a bit of data entry for a tax return. Just one simple thing he needed to outsource.
But that one thing grew into another. Here’s another tax return like that one. And here, let me show you how to reconcile these bank statements. And a few years later, I ended up here, doing basic bookkeeping work and filling out tax returns and running payrolls. I, who have always been good at math but never thought I loved it, have run adding machine tape miles long and dreamt of spreadsheets in my sleep.
Last year, when Evelyn was born, I was able to take her with me to the office. She slept and I worked and my dad would rock her when she was being fussy. As she got older, I set her up on a blanket with toys and she would play next to my desk. And then, she started crawling, and a play pen went up. But the older she got, the less happy she was about this (and the less happy I was about this) and it became clear–this is not going to work anymore.
I love my job. I love working for my dad and getting to see him every day. I love the things I’ve learned to do and that I am no longer completely intimidated by tax forms. I love feeling good at my job and being useful and knowing exactly what I am contributing to the office.
So it is really hard, probably more hard than it would be since my dad is my boss, to leave my job. Even though it is what I asked for, it is really hard for me to know that someone else has been hired to take over the work I’ve been doing, that someone else is learning the ins and outs of all of the clients like I did. It is really hard for me to know that when something needs to be done, my dad won’t be calling me to ask me about it anymore. (Although, this is also a relief.)
I have cried a lot of tears over this.
But the truth is, that if I was staying at my job it would be really hard, too. It would be really hard to have so much time away from my daughter while she is learning and growing so quickly. It would be really hard to figure out how to make childcare work financially. It would be really hard to go through another hectic tax season feeling like the office is consuming me. It would be really hard to feel constantly stressed about the balance between work and life and to lose something of myself in the crack between the two.
I would cry a lot of tears over that, too.
So it has been the decision about what kind of tears I want to cry. And while I have loved being there for my my dad as his daughter these past years, I know that the right decision for me right now is to be here for my daughter every day.
And now from today, 9/23: I’m still going to the office on average one afternoon a week just to help out with little things. But I’m home with Evelyn the majority of the time. The truth is, that after we got through the first couple of weeks, I’m feeling adjusted and there aren’t as many tears. In fact (and perhaps I shouldn’t say this out loud because it will come back to bite me), it’s been nice to feel like I am semi-on top of things in life…comfortably treading water instead of feeling like my head is about to go under from the stress of work/life balance. I know it is just the season of life right now. Things will for one reason or another get more stressful down the road I’m sure. But right now I am savoring it.