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The Early Days

We’ve been talking a lot about dreams, plans, and hopes for the future at our place lately as we try to figure out what the next “adventure” will be in the McHale household. It’s been reminding me a lot of the early days of our marriage. I thought I’d take a minute and share with you some of our back story.

We got married pretty young, I was barely 21, he was 23. A lot of people thought we were CRAZY. We weren’t crazy but we were young, in love, and naive. We couldn’t imagine doing anything in life apart from each other.

Curtis and I have always been adventure seekers. Our relationship has cycled through many adventure sports. We’ve guided backcountry canoe trips together and apart. We’ve paddled over waterfalls in our kayaks. We’ve been on kayaking trips in Mexico, hiking trips all over the mountains around here and we’ve done a ton of rock climbing too. We’re always seeking the next adventure. It’s very normal for us and we enjoy it most when we’re together.

Oh man did we have fun (and we still do).

All I can do is smile when I think about the first summer that we were married. We worked as canoe guides. We lived in a tent for the most part – we still have that tent and it still feels like home when we sleep in it.

When we weren’t in the tent we had a room off the camp office that we stayed in about two nights a week. There was no electricity, no running water, and no showers.  Our room had propane lights in it so if we were hanging out in there with the lights on we had to leave the door open. It’s true. Maybe we were a little crazy.

Here’s the thing I would do it again in a second!

When we moved west after that summer we came out for a guiding job for me. I had never had a “real” job because I had been a student my whole life and it seemed like a good paycheque. I still have no idea how we managed to pay the bills and stay afloat that first year. Maybe our naivety kept us going.

Putting our stuff into our first apartment was eye opening. The storage room was piled hip deep with outdoor gear and we had nothing else. No furniture, no bedding, no table/chairs. We slept on an air mattress for months and for YEARS our end tables and night stands were two milk crates stacked on top of each other and covered with a sheet.

I remember hosting Thanksgiving and asking our friends to bring something to share as well as their own place setting because we had NOTHING. 2 plates, 2 bowls, and 4 spoons/knives/forks etc. I remember doing our wedding registry and hardly putting anything on it because I had no idea what we needed and who wants that stuff anyway? Seriously dishes, casseroles, table cloths, towels, bleh.

Yep that was us. We would so much rather paddle a canoe, stand on a mountain top, sleep in a tent, and eat Mac “N” Cheese out of our camp pots than sleep in a house, own a whole lot of furniture and feel stuck there.

To a large extent we still feel that way. Sure our life is a little (or maybe a lot) more financially comfortable and our home is a bit more stable, but I’d still rather buy a new tent and take our kids out into the backcountry than buy new furniture.

As we’ve been talking about dreams lately and where we want to go from here we’ve been revisiting some of our dreams from our early days and realizing that now with our family they are within reach. Sure we’ll have to travel slower, Curtis and I will have to carry more, but our kids are SO able to explore the backcountry with us, and it’s exciting.

It kind of feels like we’re getting back to our roots. Since we’ve had kids our life has slowed down, but we’ve also come to have only one work schedule to work around. We’re getting out way more than we did in our years of both of us working full time jobs. The pace is slower, but the journey is still awesome and you see things from a much different perspective when you have little people around.

It’s fun to look back and talk about where we’ve come from where we are and where we want to go. I would encourage you to do it too!

 

Budget Busters Chez McHale

Dollars

Dollars

We are once again going through a period of major expenses chez McHale. May has brought with it some major budget busters.

We are still following Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover principles and honestly I would say that now it is an adopted lifestyle. This month it’s been a really good thing.

This month we’ve had a pipe break under the floor in our kitchen, we’ve replaced the hot water tank, and another unit in our complex has required some major repairs which all the owners here have to pitch in for (this is normal in any condo/townhouse).

It has really squeezed us. In fact I’m not sure that we’ve felt squeezed quite so tight since before we started working this plan.

The difference now is that we have an Emergency Fund.

What you may ask is this thing we call an Emergency Fund?

It’s 3-6 months of our household expenses in cash in a bank account that is easily accessible in an emergency.

WOW have we ever been glad to have it this month.

We managed to scrape up enough cash to cover most of the repairs but there comes a point when you just can’t do it anymore. Enter the Emergency Fund. We were able to cover the remaining expenses in CASH because of our little stock pile.

In the days before we paid off our debts and decided to change our financial future we would have paid cash for a lot of these expenses but we would have come to a point when the money would run out and we would have used a credit card or line of credit to pay it.

I am so thankful that we are able to avoid doing so!

The importance of an emergency fund has hit home a number of times over the last year as we’ve seen the local teachers strike for months last spring, another local union strike for 12ish weeks, and watched as more than one family in our circle has experienced significant illness taking their primary bread winner out of work, and forcing the other half to go back to work during the crisis to help pay the bills.

During the local strikes especially I kept hearing stories of families where the sole income earner or even both income earners were employed by the same union – these families lost their entire income during that time. They were then going to the banks trying to get lines of credit or loans to pay their bills for the duration of the strike.

I would not want to be in any of those situations and I hurt deeply for those families. I cannot imagine what they went through.

The problem is that when you take out a loan during a crisis or emergency to get by you deal with the hangover for much longer than you may actually have to deal with the situation because you’ve got to pay it back.

I’m not criticizing any of these families they were all doing the best they could to get by. I’m just saying that as I watched these things happen I realized just how important having an emergency fund really is.

The sad thing for a lot of the families affected by the local strikes is that they were in industries where the jobs are considered very “stable” which proves to me that you never know. If they succeeded in getting a loan to help with their expenses they are most likely still paying that loan back now a year later.

For me watching from the outside it drove the home the importance of the Emergency Fund. There is a lot of security and peace of mind in knowing that if for some reason Curtis couldn’t work for a few months our bills are still paid.

Sure we would have to cut back on some of our “lifestyle” spending but really we can get by for a while without too many worries.

As painful as this month has been we’ve been able to get by. We’ve had to cut out pretty much all of our “lifestyle” spending. We’ve adjusted a few things, but the truth is, that it’s just one month. Looking at our June budget we’re able to replenish the Emergency fund after our little dip and things for the most part will return to normal.

So what about you. Could you pay for a few thousand dollars worth of emergency expenses tomorrow if you needed to or would you be running out for a loan? Have you thought much about living debt free and building an Emergency Fund? If not I would encourage you to do so!

Dare to dream

What do you dream about? Curtis and I have been talking a lot about our “dreams” lately.

What do we want? What kind of lifestyle do we ultimately want to live? Are we happy? If we could do ANYTHING what would it be? Is it what we’re doing now?

These are all things that we’ve been talking about lately. Why you ask?

Well partly because our house is for sale. We’re excited to be selling but not sure what we’re going to do after. We’re planning on staying where we are but for a number of reasons we’re not necessarily buying another house right away.

Being 100% debt free – even for a short period of time – will be AMAZING. I can’t wait!

It’s got us dreaming.

Eventually we’ve want to buy another house and right now we intend for that house to be here in Chilliwack, but not right away.

We’ve been going back to the days early on in our marriage when we had all kinds of dreams about the things we hoped to do with our lives. We’ve been talking about the experiences we want to offer our kids. We have some pretty big dreams.

We’ve also been talking a lot about what I want to do. I know this may sound funny, but for some reason being a stay at home mom is kind of like being a newly graduated high school student. I am regularly asked what I want to do when my kids go to school (much like the high school student is asked what they want to do when they grow up). Right now my answer is I don’t know.

So I’ve been dreaming. Trying to figure out what I want to do. Do I want to pursue another career path? What would that look like? I know I want to be home after school for the kids so that someone is here, so what kind of job would I be looking at? What would I like to pursue, what interests me, how much time do I want to invest? I have a few years to figure it out but it’s something that we’ve been talking about a lot.

It’s fun to dream. It’s brought Curtis and I closer and it gets contagious. To dare to dream is something that so many people are afraid to do which I think is so funny because really what are you hurting in entertaining a dream?

For us sometimes those dreams get us through.

Things get tough and we feel like we’re just slogging along so we start dreaming. We spend some of our spare time throwing around ideas. It helps keep us going and it makes life a lot more fun!

So what about you, do you dare to dream? Do you dream big? Do you find it encouraging? I hope so. If you haven’t had any big dreams in a while I would encourage you to spend some time dreaming!

2014 Goal Recap

Whew, I’m behind. Better late than never I guess.

I thought I’d do a quick review of my 2014 goals before I set my 2015 goals.

2014 brought with it many changes and adjustments as we added L to the family early in the year. It took me a lot longer to get myself organized and out of the new baby fog than I anticipated, and so my goals well, some of them were pipe dreams. But if you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time (I think that’s a Zig Ziglar quote but not positive).

SO goals how did I do…

After looking at my post from last year I realized I actually did better than I thought. Some areas fell completely to the wayside, but in others I did ok. Here’s the re-cap:

Professional Goals

  • I pretty much bailed on this whole area. I tried to continue working for Curtis a few hours a week, but we ended up deciding that my time was better spent with the kids, so he hired an assistant in his business to take over my responsibilities. She is amazing, and a blessing to us and the business having her as part of the team allows me to focus on the family for now and later we can figure out what role I will play.
  • Read Entreleadership – YES I DID! And I enjoyed it. What a great way to grow a business from the ground up. I would highly recommend this book to anyone operating a business

Personal Goals

  • Run 1/2 Marathon – YES I did, I completed the Run For Water in Abbotsford last May and wrote about it here
  • Run a winter 5K charity race – I registered for the Winter Warriors race here in Chilliwack, unfortunately there was a miscommunication about the event START time – the time they sent out as a starting time was actually the registration time. We had other plans that day beginning soon after the race would have ended. Unfortunately when I showed up and found out that the event started a full hour later than I (and most of the other participants) had been told I was unable to stay. I made my donation to the food bank collected my T-shirt, and ran 5K anyway but was unable to participate in the official event. We’ll count this one as accomplished these things happen!
  • Run 5-10k, 2-3x/week Oct -Dec – YES I accomplished this! Jan/Feb/March were another story, but we’ll save it for another day 🙂
  • I’m just going to say that the rest of my personal goals happened/didn’t happen intermittently. I was a bit over eager in my goals.

Parenting Goals

  • Read two parenting books – I did! I had already read one when I wrote about my 2014 goals. I also read Parenting with Love and Logic which was great and I highly recommend it. I may even have read a couple of others you could check my 2014 Reading List to see. I also added the Podcast “Mom and Dad are Fighting” to my podcast lineup. It’s so nice to read or listen to these things and add tools to your tool box.
  • Responding kindly and being patient – I don’t think that these are things that I will ever be able to STOP working on. There will always be room for improvement here, but I worked on this in earnest, and I will continue to work on this. I think it will always be on my list of Parenting Goals.

Marriage

  • one date/month – this didn’t happen, but we did get out a handful of times. We truthfully didn’t make it enough of a priority, and then we spent the fall/winter months cancelling dates repeatedly because kids were sick. Trying to do better in 2015.
  • I read the book Boundaries which definitely applies to marriage, though it’s not directly targeted at marriage I certainly learned some valuable things.

Finance

  • 6 month emergency fund – we’re almost there, so didn’t accomplish it. We again spent a fair amount of the funds that would have gone into the emergency fund on actual emergencies. I thank God daily that we got out of debt and started piling up cash because some of the things that have hit us over the last couple years have been huge and if we’d still had debt and no savings we would have fallen on some serious hard times.

There you are, a recap of my 2014 goals for you. Hopefully in the next few days I’ll be posting some 2015 goals to follow the rest of this year.

2014 Goals

If 2013 was a year of change for us, then 2014 is even more so. We are excited to be imminently expecting the arrival of our second child in late January and I can’t wait to see what’s in-store for us this year especially since it’s kicking off with such a bang.

I’ve set goals a little differently this year in hopes of accomplishing a few more of them, and rounding things out a little bit more so that life is a bit more balanced. Again my thinking here is that I will hopefully have a better chance of success with more of my goals.

Another thing I’ve tried to do is set a deadline and/or come up with an action plan for each goal again to try and help myself succeed.

Professional Goals

  • Continue to work for Curtis 2 mornings/week after the baby arrives (or at least 2 x 2 1/2 hour chunks of time /week)
  • Provide regular accountability for his business goals – we’re still working out whether this will be monthly or quarterly, but we are making it a priority!
  • Read Dave Ramsey’s Entreleadership

Personal Goals

I’ve been told numerous times by multiple people this year that I don’t take enough time for myself. This message hit home hardest when my Mom recently asked a few pointed questions about the time I am taking for myself and came right out and said I was starving myself of personal time. It was one of those days when we’d been struggling around here and I called her after E was in bed crying because I felt like such a failure. Her kind encouragement, and gentle reminders of the things she did for herself while we were growing up were eye opening for me. She also helped me to see more clearly that if I am not refueling myself then I won’t be able to pour into my family and friends the way that I would want to. So, here we go;

  • Go away with friends 1 weekend this year
  • Loose baby weight by June 2014
  • Run 1/2 Marathon – I am registered for the Run For Water in Abbotsford BC on May 25/2014. This goal has been my Unicorn for a couple of years now so this IS happening this year.
  • Run the Round The Lake trail race in Cultus Lake in October this year (as long as it doesn’t fall on E’s B-day, then we’ll see)
  • Run a 5K charity race in December (like the Santa Shuffle)
  • Continue to Run 5-10K 2-3x/week Oct-Dec 2014 (these are the months that I get lazy!)
  • Do 1 Strength work out/week
  • Spend 1 night/month out FOR ME (I’ve already done this in January, I was at the movies with some friends this week, so we are off to a good start!)
  • Revisit goals monthly – w/ Curtis as possible
  • Make 1 post per week on this blog

Parenting Goals

I know that all parents struggle with their kids along the way, but I want to be the BEST parent that I can be to my kids. I want them to know that they are the most amazing things I’ve done EVER and that they are unconditionally loved and cherished. I want to build a relationship with them that they VALUE deeply. There are a lot of days right now that I fail with E and I want to change that. That means I need to make a concentrated effort to bring about change in this area of my life and so here are my goals:

  • Give E 1/2 hour of my undivided attention every day
  • Attend 1 parenting seminar or class on setting boundaries and effective discipline – or something of the sort. I need a few more tools in my tool box.
  • Read 2 parenting books (I am already reading “You Can’t Make Me [but I can be persuaded]” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias, so far it is very eye opening)
  • Work continually on responding more kindly and having more patience – these are things I often struggle with. I hear myself speak and then think “Well that wasn’t very loving”. I MUST IMPROVE THIS! I have put some gentle reminders by the kitchen sink to help me keep this in mind.

Marriage

Having an awesome marriage takes work. I have a great man, I love him dearly and don’t know how I would ever survive without him. I also think we have an awesome marriage but why not work at making it better? I certainly don’t want to wake up in 10 years and question who this person next to me is. We’ve watched too many quality marriages crumble over the last few years to be naieve enough to assume that we can just sail through without effort. Having a quality marriage is a lot of work, but I know it’s worthwhile so I want to invest in it and make sure that our marriage continues to thrive.

  • Go on 1 date/ month after March – even if it’s free (we’ve averaged about 3-4 a year since having kids so one a month would be a big step up).
  • Go away ALONE for 1 weekend by Nov 2014 (we spent our first night home alone since having E in December so again, if we can do this it’s huge for us).
  • Read 1 marriage/relationship building book that will help us grow. Right now I’m thinking of re-reading the 5 Love Languages as I found it monumentally helpful a few years back, but my book choice may change.

Financial

Family finance has been a huge thing for us over the past couple of years and it’s still extremely important. We had a number of big “set backs” in 2013 as we worked towards building an emergency fund of 6 months worth of income and so we are still working towards this goal.

  • Complete our 6 month emergency fund – hopefully by June but at the very least by the end of the year.
  • Read Rabbi Lapin’s Thou Shall Prosper – by March
  • Read Total Money Makeover in January – This is becoming an annual thing and I think it’s a great way to start the year. It reminds us of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Also, we are once again running a small group at our church based on the book starting in February.

So there you have it. This and a few more things that I have chosen not to share publicly will be what I use as my compass to guide my decisions this year. Will I accomplish all of them? No. Is my life better for trying? YES. If we strive for nothing we will hit it every time. If we strive for something then we have moved the needle regardless of whether we achieve the goal or not. Setting goals for our life last year made 2013 a stellar year. I can only anticipate that 2014 will be better. Why not try to make it the best one yet?

 

 

2013 Goals – The final installment

I thought it would be good to recap my 2013 goals before posting my 2014 goals and let you know what I accomplished in 2013.

As I may have mentioned before this is the FIRST time that my hubby and I have actually set goals for the year. Not resolutions, because they are easily forgotten, but goals that we’ve revisited often all year round to guide our decisions and help us keep our eye on the big picture.

I also took the “go big or go home” stance on goals. There were a few thrown in there that I thought I could reach easily to give me that quick feeling of success, however a lot of my goals were things that I thought would be out of reach. My theory – borrowed from Dan Miller at 48 Days to the work you love pod cast –  is that if I set the bar high, but only make it half way I’ve still significantly improved on where I was so I am still successful even if I don’t meet the goal.

Some of these I touched on in an earlier post so I won’t go into them too much, but others I just kind of left behind and I’ll fill you in on the details.

You can check out my original post on goals from last January here

1. Double my income

That didn’t happen, as mentioned in an earlier post when I decided to leave my full time job, I pretty much kissed this one goodbye. That said my Hubby managed to more than double his business’ income this year which is a score for both of us and in some ways accomplishes my goal too!

2. Pay off the car by March 1/13 – Check, one month early, got this one done in February.

3, 4, & 5. Run 10K, 1/2 marathon, & full marathon race – these all went out the window when we found out that we were expecting our second child. At that point due to minor complications in my pregnancy I had to stop running. This has been hard for me because I LOVE to run, but I’m looking forward to running again soon!

6 & 7. List & sell our current home, AND hopefully buy a new larger home with a smaller mortgage.

2013 brought with it many challenges for us on the home front and while I desperately want to sell our current home and move into a place that has more space and better accommodates our growing family for a number of reasons this did not happen in 2013, and I doubt that it will happen in 2014 either. Who knows. We’ve unfortunately run into many snags in our plan here most of which have been financial. Our current home is a town house and is part of a Strata (ie we pay a monthly condo fee and there is a condo association that takes care of the building). What a pain. My ultimate advice NEVER buy into a Strata unless you want to basically pool your money with every other owner in the building, keeping in mind that they may not all agree on how to spend those hard earned dollars.

This year there have been a number of medium to large repairs needed within our Strata which has meant that on top of our regular monthly fees we’ve paid out large lump sums to the organization a couple of times.  I anticipate at least one more such payment in 2014. I know that if we owned a house we could have had to pay the entire sum for the repairs all on our own but the likely hood of all the things that have come up this year happening to a single detached residence are slim.

On top of the additional expenses we’ve paid out to our Strata we’ve replaced the Washer, Stove, Microwave, and just this week the dishwasher, along with a large number of small household appliances (stereo, DVD player, Digital SLR Camera and numerous others) and a couple of not so minor car repairs. All of these things come down to age, most of the household items were 10+ years old (the stove we were told was 20+ and I have the same suspicion about the dishwasher). A lot of the smaller items were wedding gifts, or we purchased them second hand a number of years ago. They just all chose to go at once.

On the upside, the new appliances will make the place a lot more appealing when we go to sell, on the downside, when I sat down a couple weeks ago (before the diswasher died on New Years Eve) and added up what we’d spent on “emergency” repairs/replacements to our home, the number was fast approaching $10,000 in 2013. Needless to say the funds to sell/move/add to a down payment on the next place just aren’t there right now and I don’t know when they will be. So we’re waiting. The upside – the mortgage is cheap here!

I have to add a side note here – THANK GOD we became debt free in February of 2013! Although we haven’t been able to add much to our savings, we’ve been able to pay cash for EVERYTHING. If we’d had all these experiences in such close succession even a year ago there would have come a point where they would merely have added to our debt load rather than slowing down our plan. Whew!

8. The reading list.

Well, I really didn’t succeed here, and it is a little bit shameful. I have to say that my list was probably quite ambitious as I have only in the last year or so developed my enjoyment of reading for personal growth, and my list was very finance/business heavy so it wasn’t the most well rounded selection of books.

I managed to get through/make a good dent in 4 of the 13 books on the list. I have definitely read more that 13 books this year. Some fiction, some for personal growth, however it wasn’t as many of the ones that I initially thought I would read as I had hoped – things changed. The point here was more to help myself grow as a person than read specific books and I think that I at least succeeded in that.

All that said 2013 was an awesome year in the McHale household I have no regrets, and look forward to all that 2014 has to bring with huge anticipation. We celebrated some great milestones here and have really benefited from the changes that we’ve worked so hard to bring about in our lives over the last year. Without these goals, and those of my hubby we would still be sitting in about the same position as we were in 2012 and I LOVE living a goal driven life – it gives us a target to aim at! I have set goals again for 2014 and will hopefully be posting them next week for all to see. We’ll see how much more growth we can bring about around here.

 

To Work or Not to Work? The Personal Perspective

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom now for almost 9 months, and I am still regularly asked how we made the decision for me to quit working. Let me tell you it wasn’t an easy decision to make and we struggled with it for a number of months before pulling the trigger.

When I first started writing this post I thought I could squeeze it all into one, but the more I worked at it (and the longer it got) the more I realized that to really do it justice I needed to break it up a little bit.

There were two sides to this decision for us, the personal side AND the financial side. Both parts held almost equal weight in the overall decision and I think it’s important for me to share both sides of the coin with you. I’m going to start with the personal side, because in some ways it set the stage for the transition and was what caused us to seriously consider having me leave work.

Before I go too much farther though I have to tell you that although these are the factors that affected our decision for me to stay home, everyone is different. Not everyone WANTS to stay home. So if you are toying with this please don’t simply follow my lead, do what is best for YOUR family and YOUR situation. Everyone is wired differently and things that work for my family may not work for yours.

When I returned to work after my Maternity leave I genuinely wanted to. I enjoyed my job, my employers and co-workers. I just hadn’t anticipated the pressures that would come with trying to balance work and family. In some ways with all the changes that parenting brought about in my  life the work/home balance was probably the one that I least expected.

I had been feeling the need for significant change for probably about a year by the time I finally gave my notice at work. I was stressed 90% of the time feeling like I wasn’t really giving 100% of myself anywhere. For anyone who knows me you will know that I don’t like to accept less than my 100%. I feel like giving less than that is failure. It’s just not my style. When you’ve got too many things on your plate you just can’t be 100% all the time.

While I was doing OK at work (you’d have to ask some of my former co-workers for truthful answers to that but I think I was keeping my head above water). I wasn’t doing great at home. The stress that I was feeling was affecting every aspect of my home life. I was always exhausted, and felt like I was failing at home on multiple levels. I was lashing out at my hubby over silly things, and never felt like I could relax or enjoy my “down time” because there were always things to do.

My days off would come and I would feel like I HAD to spend the entire day at home taking care of things around the house. Cleaning, baking, prepping meals, menu planning, budgeting, shopping, etc. All these things had to happen and I only had 2 days a week to get them done. Not only did I only have 2 days a week to get them done but they were 2 spread out days in the week (like Sunday, and Thursday) so by the time my second day off in the week came around I felt like I was starting over. I was playing a perpetual game of catch up.

I was loathe to plan a trip to the park with a friend because I knew it cut into the precious little time I had to accomplish anything significant at home. I also felt like I was leaving a lot of things undone and that my hubby as the self employed and working from home family member often had to pick up the slack. As a result I felt very isolated and lonely. I was desperate for something to change but I didn’t know what.

It was also never my intention to have a child and then only see her for 1 hour a day and yet by the time I commuted to and from work that was about all I was getting to spend with E every day and it was killing me. I was leaving the house between 7:30 and 7:45 to have her at daycare by 8 and me at work by just before 9. Daycare closed by 5 so my hubby was picking her up between 4 & 4:30, but I was rarely home before 6. I literally came home, we had dinner and then I put her to bed. I rarely got to play, interact, or spend any kind of quality time with her and I felt like I was missing out.

We also felt very isolated and lonely as a family. We knew that we needed to connect with other people, but we felt like we could never squeeze it in. “Friends” were people that we saw in passing on Sunday mornings at church as we dropped off or picked up E from the nursery not people that we actually had time to invest in. We were both socially starved but had very little time to do anything about it.

One of the most drastic changes in our lives since I left work is our social life. We have come to realize that we have some AMAZING friends. People that we would miss dearly if we moved away. Not only do we have pretty awesome friends, but we get to spend time with them without sacrificing time together as a family, or alone for the Hubby & I.

We have both felt extremely well cared for and loved by our friends over the last number of months (which is important when you don’t have any family around to fill that roll). In some ways the support that our friends have given our family over the last number of months has been overwhelming. Not only have we been well cared for but we have also been able to care for some of our friends in ways that we’ve never been able to do before because the pressures of work & home  took precedence.

Our decision for me to leave work was heavily influenced by the personal side of the equation. If I had felt like I was balancing work and life well then the scales would likely have tipped more in favor of me staying at work. If we as a family had felt like it was working well then the decision would have been different. That said, I knew I needed a change. I knew I was stressed and not that much fun when I was home. I knew I was missing out on important events in E’s life, and was unable to maintain important relationships with friends. Some people can balance it well and enjoy it. Others like myself prefer not to. Ultimately you have to do what’s right for your family, personally and financially, and we’ll talk about the financial side in my next post!