I know I didn’t mention to most people that I had stepped down from my previous job. I was a FTWM in a fitness company and it was a pretty demanding job. I have been in this line since 2011 and I enjoyed work very much. If I hadn’t had kids, I would probably still be doing what I did.
Having Leo changed it all. I started going back to work 3 months postpartum in November 2013. From Nov 2012 until August 2014, I was a FTWM. Those were the toughest months, in my whole working life. I thought I could do it. Just like most moms out there, it pretty normal to go back to work and life just goes on. If you haven’t known, the work I was doing is not an office job. I don’t sit with a desk and computer in front of me most of the time and I don’t get the normal lunch hour and working hours. The fitness industry is great. You meet a lot of people and let me say, it’s a busy, busy day all day, every day. It requires a lot of physical activity and sweat. I teach group fitness and also manage a bunch of trainers with my colleague. The working hours can be very long and tiring.
For that period of 10 months, I haven’t been the “best” employee. My gut tells me and I have nothing to hide. I wasn’t like that before I had kids and now things aren’t the same anymore. I live with my husband, baby, father-in-law, and dog at home. Not a huge family, but there are a lot of thing to be done at home. Often I feel that being the only girl at home, I have much to do. Ok, this is not about me complaining that I’m doing all the chores ok? My husband helps me a lot and he’s been working hard and sharing the chores with me. But there are some stuff that I feel I need to do and it is what mothers/wives do (i.e. cleaning out the fridge and throwing old stuff in there, rearrange the closet and pack away baby’s old clothes, washing laundry, drying and folding them; laundry is NEVER ENDING here, changing bed sheets, preparing meals for the day, sewing some buttons that came off our clothes, filing our bills, etc). Yup, that’s a lot! Maybe not all of them need to be done daily, but you get the idea.
I only get home typically around 7 or 730pm, sometimes even later. And then I start to prep dinner, by the time we eat, it is 830pm or sometimes 9pm. Is that crazy? YES IT WAS. But I had no choice. Slow cooker meals are great but sometimes, I forget to prep them the day before too. If you are a mom that cooks, you KNOW that you plan a day or two ahead and rarely have a last minute decision. After dinner, its bath time and time spent with baby before he sleeps which is 10 or 1030pm if we’re lucky. I did write about my schedule in a previous post, you can read it here.
So it was a struggle for me and I have come to face the fact that I am not a super human. I cannot do all of that perfectly and I am not a super mom. I was so tired and sleep deprived. Leo wakes up 2-3 times at night and I was breastfeeding. When I get home, I was a cranky old goat! I didn’t have smiles on my face and I was grumpy. I took it out on my poor husband, screamed at Leo, frowned and I was just too tired. I cried a lot and struggled at work. It dawned on me that I have to give up something in order to be happier. I gave up my steady income and stepped down to a group fitness instructor. I teach classes, and then I’m off to do whatever I need. Depending on the day, my hours are different. It does gives me some sort of flexibility but teaching classes in several different places takes traveling time and time to shower/change after class and then travel again. But I’m sure you get the idea.
Honestly, I took a huge pay cut and I don’t even know how we will manage our finances in the months to come, but I do know that my Father in Heaven will provide for us. If one door closes behind me, another will open. If there are no doors, the Lord can build one. This is how we are placing our trust in Him and that everything will work out just fine. I know for sure He wants me to be happy and to live life experiencing His blessings and peace.
It has been one and a half months since I’ve stepped down and I am loving it. Am I still a FTWM? I would say yes, but with less hours and not in an office environment. Maybe you can consider it a PTWM but then my hours are fixed, from my weekly classes. Because my hours are here and there (some days it is morning, some afternoon and some evening), I get to stay at home a little longer to do what’s needed. Here’s what I get to do now, that I never could before:-
1. Cook dinner earlier and my family can eat at normal time. Sometimes we still do so at 8pm, but the difference is I am happy. I am not stressed that I have no time to cook. Also, if I have an evening class, dinner is already on the table and they can have home cooked meals at without having to take out all the time. It gives me an opportunity to prepare healthier meals too.
2. Laundry is done in the morning or noon, and no chores are after 10pm! If I had laundry waiting, I can easily say “I’ll just do it tomorrow!” This allows time for me to spend with Leo and my husband. Laundry is also dry by the day and I don’t have to worry if I have no place to hang them when it rains (we have TONS of laundry).
3. On certain days, I get to be home when Leo gets back from daycare. Yes, he still goes to daycare because my working hours are different every day. I get to take him out of his car seat and see his precious smiley face! He is also less clingy when I do that. If I get home after him, he will not let me put him down sometimes.
4. I no longer need to pump milk at work! (in the hot changing room, toilet; yuck, in the car). This is such an awesome change. I no longer need to worry if my pump is not charged or if I forgot to bring bottles/lids or if there is no fridge around. I still do pump outside on certain days when my classes are closer to each other. But I can easily just bring the milk back home afterwards.
5. I don’t have to worry that I’ve no time to pump! If I didn’t pump before class, I could NOT fit into my sports bra. Now, I can just pump anytime needed, without having to attend meetings or excusing myself for it because I am engorged (like I said, I wasn’t the “best” employee coz I had to take time off to pump).
6. Take Leo out for a day or two to have fun and play. Without having to take leave or step out of work when he’s sick. Do you know how many times I had to tell my boss I can’t come to work coz my baby is sick? (It’s not like they tell you a day before they are gonna wake up with a fever). If you’re a mom, you will know what I mean. There were days my boss wasn’t happy that I’m not at work and I felt that I was being judged.
Those were just some of the major things/changes I could think of that I can do now. Surely there’s more. Having said that, there is one other con to doing what I do now in my nature of work. I am physically tired and sore. Teaching requires a lot of energy and strength. Yes, I am physically tired but I am happy. Does that make any sense?
Anyway, it has been a great 1.5 months. Who knows what would happen later on. Maybe more doors will open and things can only get better. This too, gives me more opportunity to write more and keep you guys updated and share experiences. Sorry for being away again, I will be more frequent now.
What about you? Have you ever taken a huge step like me? What are your thoughts and did you have insecurities too?