When I quit working this past April, I envisioned the upcoming summer and holiday breaks from school as an opportunity to spend time with my daughter like never before. Not just my daughter, but my family as well. December and January were the busiest months of the year at the company where I worked for the past 7 years. Instead of preparing recipes for Thanksgiving, I was working late, trying to get out of the office on time, and rushing through anything I prepared for our big dinner. Christmas was even more of a hassle - I never had time for gift shopping except for on weekends. December was what we referred to as "year-end" and the hours were crazy. I ended up doing most of my shopping online or at the Target down the street from my office during my lunch break. Not much fun, huh? As we were prohibited from taking vacation during the holidays, I was never able to travel to see my grandparents in Northern Florida. This weekend we are going to visit my husband's family out West. We have never been able to visit them during the holidays before. These are exciting times! I was never able to travel during New Years like some of my friends...and getting my daughter back and forth between our family and her father's family was another time-constraint hassle...I used to dread the holidays.
This year, I have all the time in the world. I've been testing recipes for weeks now, getting every detail down perfectly before I begin baking sweets for family, friends and my daughter's teachers. I have been able to take my daughter shopping to pick out the clothes she wanted for Christmas, unlike past years where I had her look at things online and if they fit once they arrived, great - if not, they got returned. I made a special shopping trip down to our Walmart to stock up on food packaging for all of the sweets I plan on baking. My daughter and I spent an entire afternoon making cute little felt ornaments to attach to gifts and baked goods as name tags (that's about as crafty as I get lately). This past weekend, my family had a progressive family dinner, and for once, I was looking forward to it! I planned the recipes for a week in advance, I made trial-run dishes and tested everything before the big day. I didn't have to rush through cleaning the house or decorating...I simply took my time and enjoyed the day once it arrived!
Being a stay at home mom has had its drawbacks; namely, the lack of financial means we had when we were a two-income family. We do okay; I made sure that I created a budget and that we would be comfortable before we made the final decision to have me stay at home. But there isn't a whole lot of room for extras like there used to be. Then there's the non-stop cooking, cleaning, errands, etc. I am sure my husband enjoys it - I take on all responsibility for the house since I have taken the role of "housewife" - he hasn't touched the stove or washed a dish in months! But these things aren't horrible, and since I've been at home, I've never had one of those days where I'd come home crying, frustrated, angry and overwhelmed from a long day at my old job...where I came home in that state of mind more often than not.
When I originally made the decision to stay at home, I planned to work part time from home for a company that provides customer service. Although I actually hate doing customer service, I am quite good at it - I know, a cruel twist of fate! I have been technically ready to begin this part time endeavor for a while now. The phone line is installed, the computer is all set up...but something keeps getting in the way. Either a birthday trip, family gathering in another state, a trip to see the in-laws; its always something that pushes my starting this company farther and farther back. As it stands, I should be ready to begin in January.
So for now, I am 100% invested in the Holidays. I am baking, scouring the internet for interesting seasonal sides to bring to Christmas dinner, taking extra special care to wrap each gift beautifully...