Resignations, Commitments and New Starts

Well, after several months of thoughts, it has come time. Today. On Thanksgiving, if I were American, but the thankful thoughts and relief are there anyway for me.

Last night I made a decision. It’s been passed through and ratified through my supportive family, and it feels right. It makes me extremely scared, but also I am feeling more stable than I have done in several long months. It feels right.

This afternoon I am resigning from my part-time employment. I currently spend 7 contracted hours a week (sometimes more due to absences) working at a before and after children’s club based at the local Primary School. I’ve worked there for two years now, but things have hit a head this week with family changes.

Juggling around working days to try to accommodate the increasing after-school activities of my daughter, missing out in the social interaction with her peer’s parents, and on several days having to negotiate with other parents to take my child to an after-school activity like ballet class, then missing out on seeing those myself – it’s all got too much recently.

The hours, and pay do not balance out what I and my family is currently missing out on. When I first left full time work two years ago, it was for a purpose – to support my own family (and the adoption) by being there. Previously my long commuter hours meant that I missed out on time with my daughter and husband. Now, with my daughter’s recent commitments to dance classes, brownies, art and craft clubs, and certainly with my work, the family is actually missing out on more time together than ever before.

Add to that more – we have just this week had a visit from two adoption social workers. It was ‘National Adoption Awareness Week’ last week, with several media presentations towards needing more parents to adopt. The anniversary of our own entering the adoption process three years ago.

Our social workers have given us some assurances that now that we have gone off ‘hold’ after the mis-match of last summer, and gone through our so called ‘mourning’ period, that in the new year there are several local children that we might be top of the list for. They have also assured us that we are considered an excellent family to adopt into. I’m not so sure I trust and believe everything that social workers tell me, but I’m no longer willing to give up all hope that there may be a little boy out there to complete our family.

Making the best of the decision to resign my meagre hours, I’m looking at this positively – the additional two afternoons a week that I will have freed up next year will allow for much more possibilities. No longer will I be stuck at reciprocating play date invites for my daughter’s friends onto a Friday, I can use other days also. Therefore I can also utilise those free-er hours for both cooking for the family, and for other things.

Like – writing.

With the resignation (in mind as well as reality) towards leaving work, came the slowly growing feeling that with such a fresh start and commitment to my own family, that I can use that commitment also for my writing. I’d already set aside January for writing that novel. Now I have no excuses not to.

There is also a financial incentive here. My pay for the work I am about to give up was extremely poor, and didn’t help out at all for the household. I’ve always been frugal here anyway.

But with that work I never felt like I was at all helping out the family finances. It didn’t make a dent in the bills, wasn’t helpful even if something like the washing machine broke down in a month. The best it could offer was enough for a birthday present for my husband in the month. The hours worked and financial benefits didn’t seem to balance with the negative impact of working that early morning and those afternoons every week.

My money was going simply on supporting my ‘Second Life’ habit. Which I consider a writing gig anyway, because I’ve managed to maintain my SL blog through all of this, and it’s made me feel a little better about my own writing work, if unpaid.

So, I’m committed to finding ways to make my writing help the family finances. That means, for me – getting that novel out and published. And submitting short stories that pay -  and all of that means cutting down in the new year on supporting my second life habit – unless I find a way to make a little money out of that (whether from writing or perhaps in the niche hobby field I’ve developed, I’ll have to think about that one…).

We have a lot of things yet to get through, as a family. December finds everyone in the silly season, I also have little doubt that my own resignation from work and month’s contractual working may be met with some disappointment from the boss and committee, and we also have a lot of things to do regarding the adoption – more social worker meetings to get through over the next few weeks, more planning from our end regarding how we’re going to find the money, and much more hope.

Christmas this year will also be a little difficult for us. For many months this year we had expected to be sharing it with a new family member, a little boy. We have presents purchased for that boy still sitting in our wardrobe, and every time I go in there, it still hurts to see them sitting there. The door to his bedroom has been semi-shut for months now – even my husband can’t bear to go into there. We have purposely toned down our Christmas plans this year, and are cocooning down into a little family just happy to have a few presents, but the day will still hurt a little. So will having to go to a larger extended family Christmas dinner, where our daughter’s cousins still tend to ask questions about why we sent away that little brother we’d announced a few months ago.

The social workers acknowledged that we have gone through a mourning period and have lost a child, but nobody in the community knows how to react to that, because they never saw the child. I’ve found myself even ousted from the school yard where many of the parents are slightly uncomfortable around me, particularly the many who have little boys the same age. It’s understandable, and I don’t hold anything against them, but I would like a new start for the new year.

So, my new start has the following commitments at a personal and professional level – Commencing January 2010

  • Commitment to family – daughter’s after-school activities, support of husband’s work and family time. Cook dinner!
  • Commitment to continue pushing social workers to locate and place a child/children into our family. Hold onto my heart and soul, this will be a bumpy ride for all of us.
  • Commitment to writing professionally –
    • Maintain this writing blog – yes, this badly neglected Juiced on Writing blog.
    • Write first draft of (fourth) novel
    • Rewrites
    • Submit novel to agency / publishers
    • Write short stories or other projects to sell for money
    • Downsize on Second Life, and/or seek writing or work opportunities within SL to support it financially

Although the resignation side of things has been creeping up on me accumulatively over only a few weeks, if not this week, the writing commitment itself has been growing steadily in the opposite direction. It’s almost felt like as I let go of one portion of my life, another equal but more invigorating side has started to blossom.

Two weeks ago, as I was doing my Christmas shopping online (ah, the irony of buying gifts for my husband, when in truth – it’s he that is paying for them), I added some solidly big (in size and  price) books to my Amazon order. Manuals for me – my Christmas gift for myself (because husbands, no matter how hard they try, never actually get me what I really really want – or is that just mine?). Not books on ‘how to write’ this time, as I’m past learning how to, and just want to do it – but huge reference texts on the subject of forensic psychology.

That knowledge was a show-stopper towards my starting the novel, not knowing how my major character, a forensic psychologist, might react or her own career training – that was stopping me from starting properly. Now I have the research material – some of it anyway. I bought the books before deciding towards this resignation and accompanying commitment. Yin for Yang, or tit for tat, my world although disruptive and thunderous at the moment, is still coming out remarkably balanced.

It feels right.

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This post was written by:

Michelle - who has written 262 posts on Juiced On Writing.

Michelle Thompson is building a career in both non-fiction and fiction writing. She's blogged for several years, and has previously written for arts, hobby and blogging themed magazines and websites. Her current work involves writing for some group blogs, pursuing a Second Life, and freelancing for some Second Life magazines. In fiction, Michelle is currently working on her second and third novels.

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2 Responses to “Resignations, Commitments and New Starts”

  1. Tamara Sellman Says:

    Michelle I recently made a similar decision/commitment/plan. It is extremely hard to say No to things that matter but working mothers (in particular) really must watch out for themselves. Ya gotta leave the porch light on for yourself otherwise you might find yourself in the dark! Good luck with your new endeavors!

  2. Sarah Allen Says:

    Wow, sounds like you are one brave woman! I hope all this works out for you. Thanks so much for your writing inspiration and advice. Best of luck with everything!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)