My husband and I own and operate a martial arts business together: he creates programs and teaches; I’m in charge of management. My office is a room in our home. No commute and flexible hours: it’s a good deal.
When our daughter was born, I knew that I wanted to be home to raise her. My self employment status allowed me to do just that. The business took a backseat; we were not expecting growth and focused on the bare essentials.
When our munchkin turned three, I knew that I wanted to homeshool her but I wondered how I’d manage to find the time. This was one more thing to add to an already long list. Wife. Mother. Business owner. Receptionist. Office manager. Webmaster and soon Homeschool Teacher. We had some choices to make.
I didn’t want to stop being a wife or a mother. The logical step was to retire from the business when our daughter would start Kindergarten. We had two years to prepare. We quickly found someone to help us in the office. Things were going in the right direction… until our “helper” bailed on us… while we were traveling… internationally. She didn’t even notify us!
We got burned; it hurt and I was back behind the desk.
The preschool years ended. Kindergarten came and went. First grade started and nothing had changed… except for my attitude.
This was not my dream and I wasn’t happy about it.
I felt overwhelmed and overworked. I fell short in all of my roles and couldn’t live up to my high standards. I dreaded going into my office and would come out of it with a sour face.
I resented having to “do it all”.
Something needed to change. The obvious solution was to get outside help once again. We mustered up the courage and placed an ad. We were pleased to find someone and excited to start training her. That task fell squarely on my shoulders (we were replacing me after all).
It was time consuming and I worked more hours than ever. It was also emotionally challenging: we were welcoming a stranger into our house, opening up the curtains on so much of our private and business life. Even as I wanted so badly to stop working, I struggled with the idea that I was so easily expandable but I kept the prize in mind and trudged along: the promise of retirement, of being a full time wife and stay at home mommy.
We were leaving on a two-months trip just a few weeks away and it felt good to know that someone would be there to wo-man the fort.
I started to relax more and got used to the idea of having an employee. She had plans of marketing our business to law enforcement agencies nationwide and kept mentioning the connection she felt to our family.
Three weeks into training, I was thrilled the first time I was able to go lie down in my room while the work was getting done by someone else.
The very next day, it happened. An incoming text from our newly hired assistant: “Something came up… blah blah blah… I need to go on a trip for FIVE WEEKS or so“… The fort lost its keeper. Just like that.
I was not so easy to replace after all and I could kiss early retirement goodbye!
When your dream shatters, you can stare at the pieces in stunned disappointment.
You can get angry.
You can let sadness seep into all the crevasses of your freshly broken heart.
You can grab a glue stick and create something else from the scraps that are left.
Mosaics are masterpieces made from broken glass.
What if I could create a masterpiece from the remnants of my broken dream?
That’s what I set out to do.
I was disappointed but surprisingly not distressed. I felt relieved and free. All the guilt and discontent I had been feeling for months suddenly vanished. The rose colored glass of my dream had disintegrated and for the first time in a long time I could see my reality clearly.
My work is an important and necessary contribution to the family. Nobody will ever do it as well as I can. It is easier, faster and more reliable (not to mention much cheaper) to do the work myself.
I called a family meeting. We looked at the schedule and planned carefully.
On Mondays, hubby is taking our daughter to swim and violin classes so I can take care of business.
On Tuesdays, I arranged a playdate.
On Thursdays, I hired a babysitter (our neighbor).
That gives me uninterrupted time in the office and my daughter is having so much fun, she doesn’t even notice.
Twice a week, when my husband goes to teach classes at night, I put in a few hours after the kid goes to bed so daytime remains free for fun activities and homeschooling.
There will still be room for Library story hour and spur of the moment beach outings.
I’m even keeping my Wednesday mommy day off.
The amazing part is that I am happy to do the work.
It’s nice to get in, get out and be done in a couple of hours and at times that are convenient for my schedule. No more rushing to be ready at 9 am for the hired help.
Hubby’s happy he can walk around the house without a shirt again.
Daughter’s thrilled that our 21 year old neighbor comes to play.
Perspective is everything.
I have a new appreciation for this business we built; a business that affords us a wonderful lifestyle while requiring so little of us.
Something had needed to change or more accurately someone: ME!
I was so focused on what could be; I stopped being thankful for what already was.
I’m glad gratitude found its way back into my heart.
Once I stopped blindly chasing the dream I thought I had, I was able to open my eyes to the root of my grief and see a truth I had chosen to ignore:
I am already living the dream!
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