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Changing Priorities

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:05pm

You know it's funny. When I was younger, all I wanted to be was a reporter. I wanted to cover the news, particularly education and write stories that were compelling, thought provoking and easy to read. I held on to that dream from elementary school and on into college. I majored in Journalism and after graduation, I became the education reporter for a bureau of my hometown newspaper.

The long hours came with the territory and I didn't mind it at all. I was living my dream - or so I thought. It's funny how your priorities can shift and change your entire perspective. Now, I want nothing more than for the workday to come to an end so that I can get home to what matters most to me -being a wife and a mother. But as the economy worsens and more and more of us are just trying to keep our jobs, it irritates me to see what many employers are doing. While I am no longer working as a reporter, I am still in the Communications field. And often I feel pressured to check e-mail when I have a sick child or I am really off and on vacation. They just aren't family friendly.

Take today. My oldest child is a chronic asthmatic and this allergy season has been rough. It often starts with sneezing and itchy eyes but in the blink of an eye, he develops a deep and sometimes painful cough. He had trouble sleeping last night and so I kept him home for part of the day. But once he began to perk up a bit, I asked how he felt about me going to work for the second half of the day while he goes to grandma's office with his sleeping bag to watch a movie and relax. He wasn't thrilled but he agreed. I felt awful but I also felt pressured to get into the office and work. I hate feeling as though I am obligated to work, even when I need to be there for my children. And as you know, I have a younger child with special needs. I want to spend as much time as I need to making sure her issues are addressed. But with this economy, everyone is so concerned about having a job, (me included) that we find ourselves committing more time to work. I feel that I must give 200 percent to work to make sure I keep my job.

I am sure many of you feel the same. But here's what I propose (or at least what I plan to do for me). Right now, I know my family needs my income so I'll keep working. But I am going to use my burning desire to spend more time parenting and less time working on someone else's dime to motivate me. Take tonight. It's after 11 p.m. and I am to report to work at 7 a.m. tomorrow. But I'm up writing - because my goal is to use my background as a writer to further my blog, gain more freelance opportunities and promote my website on adoption. Each day I'll report to work, grateful for a job, but secretly finding the motivation to turn my passion into a way of life and a means to help support my family. If you feel the way I do, then I challenge you to do the same. Research how possible it might be to turn what you love into a business. Look for franchising opportunities or work-from-home sites. And never let anyone make you feel guilty for taking time to care for your children (I'm still working on that one myself). The next time I have a sick little one, I'll let you know what I decided to do about work.

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