Attitude of Gratitude: 16 December 2012

Eric’s Instagram photo of Adobe’s new atrium

Recently I landed a contract at Adobe, working in the same department as my wonderful husband Eric.  When I was first applying for the job I thought I’d be doing one thing, when I interviewed for the job I understood that I’d be doing something else, and when I finally started the job I realized that it was something else entirely.  When I applied I had thought that I was signing on to make mostly cosmetic changes to a tool that was being built in house.  At the time of the interview I realized that there was going to be more building involved and PHP/MySQL kind of work.  During my first day at the office I found out that the tool was something that an intern had built, on a system I didn’t know at all, and the fixes were almost entirely functionality not design.  A job I am qualified for, but not what I had thought I was getting myself into.

For the first few weeks of the contract I was trying to work from home in my spare time – my preferred M.O. for the websites that I build.  I am really proud to be a stay-at-home mom, I think I do the most important work here that I could do anywhere.  I have long been grateful to have skills that allow me to work from home so that I can both contribute to our family’s finances and stay at home with our kids.  However as I got further into the contract I found that the time I was spending was inadequate.  The system I am working with is incredibly complex and not something that I find to be intuitive at all.  On top of that, generally my time to work has been after putting my boys to bed, and my youngest son decided during this time that his bedtime was midnight, like mommy’s, instead of closer to 8pm or 9pm  like his brother.  Between those two things I was doing most of my work with a toddler running around and while very tired and it was taking me several days to resolve issues that seemed on the surface to be relatively simple.  I was tired, frustrated and very stressed.

Finally I decided that I should consider going in to the office a couple of days each week, spending 8 solid hours working without distractions from my boys or housework and not worrying about my contract at all on the other days.  I went in to the office with Eric one day a couple weeks ago and felt somewhat guilty leaving my boys behind.  They were at home with my brother who they both love, and Sam basically watched TV all day (which he was of course thrilled about) so I knew they would be fine, but I worried about what I should be at home doing with them as their mother, and missing out on those hours with them.  However, in those hours that I spent at the office I got more done than I had in the previous week.  And when I went home, I wasn’t worried about when I was going to find the time to get work done on my contract, I was just there to be a mom and I didn’t need to worry about anything else.  It was really a liberating feeling.  Since then my brother-in-law has finished his finals and during his break we’ve arranged for a few days that he’ll bring his son over and come to watch my boys while I go into the office and that I’ll pay him a portion of what I earn for his time spent babysitting.

As I was thinking about all that has transpired last night, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude.  I sat down and realized just how many blessings have come about because of this contract.  How things that I’ve prayed about, that seem to have no connection to my employment situation, are answered in this one little thing.  I thought I ought to sit down and write out some of these great and unexpected blessings and express my gratitude for them and additionally my testimony of the power of prayer.

  • First, I’m grateful that this opportunity wasn’t presented to me as what it actually was.  If I had known from the outset what I was getting myself into and that I would be put in a position that I’d have to even consider leaving my boys at home I wouldn’t have taken it.  All of the blessings I’m listing here came in disguise, and a really good disguise for awhile, but I’m glad that they were disguised so that I would take them.
  • I’m grateful for the extra money that this job is bringing in.  I’ve recently been really wanting to pay down more of our mortgage so that we can lower our payments a little, save money in the long run and just be in a more secure position financially overall.  We’ve also been wanting to save up for a minivan.  Just overall having extra money coming in is always helpful in reaching financial goals 🙂
  • I’m grateful that I’m getting out of the house regularly and interacting with other adults and doing something meaningful.  I’d been stuck in the house for so long and the change of pace has really improved how I feel about myself.
  • I’m grateful that because I’m leaving the house we can help support my sister and brother-in-law while he’s going through school.  He’s at home with their son most days anyways so it’s not too hard for him to take on a couple more little boys during the day.  The extra income will be helpful for them and my boys don’t even have to go somewhere else.  It’s a good position for everyone.
  • I’m grateful that it’s my brother-in-law coming over because my boys already like him and are comfortable with him, and he’s familiar with my boys as well.  Plus, my boys love playing with their cousin and it’s good for all of them to have the time to spend together.
  • I’m grateful for how this contract will help get our family on a better schedule.  Ever since we got married Eric and I have lived on weird schedules.  At first because he had 4am shifts, then because he had late night shifts and working international hours.  We’ve never really gotten off living on a weird schedule, and having kids that don’t sleep hasn’t helped.  But I think really we’ve been able to stay on that schedule because there wasn’t a great motivation to get us going anywhere in the mornings.  Eric’s work allows him to have a very flexible schedule which allows him to sort of mosey through getting ready in the mornings, which sometimes makes it later that he’s home at nights or up during the nights, it just generally keeps us on the wrong track.  I think since I’ll have someone coming over in the morning at a certain time and needing to leave in the evening at a certain time it gives us a deadline and will help get us in a routine.
  • I’m grateful that I get to spend more time with Eric.  We’re not very good at planning regular date nights and getting out of the house without kids, our Friday/Saturday nights generally consist of us hanging out on the couch watching TV.  Which is totally great, I’m not a high maintenance kind of girl as far as dates go.  But it’s been nice that on the days I’ve gone in we’ll generally go grab lunch at the on-site Café and have the time together just driving in, walking to and from our desks etc.  I’ve just appreciated getting to be with Eric more as just us and not as Mom & Dad.
  • I’m grateful for the opportunity to better understand Eric’s roles at work and the people he’s working with.  It really makes it a lot easier to understand what he has to say when we’re talking about his work as I’m getting to know more of the people he knows and understand all of the overall structure of the company etc.
  • I’m grateful that this is helping Danny be less attached to me.  This week Danny finally got himself weaned!  He’s 20 months so it was definitely time for him to do so.  I think that not having me around during the days, getting used to taking naps without the option of being nursed and the extra stimulation that he gets from new people has helped him be able to go to sleep at night without the comfort of “moo”.  This is especially appreciated since Eric and I have been planning a trip in early January and I wasn’t feeling good about leaving an unweaned baby with someone else.
  • I’m grateful that work is now done at work, and mom stuff is being done at home.  It of course has made me a better employee to have that focused, dedicated time to work on my work projects, but even more so it’s helped me be a better mom.  When I’m home I’m not scrambling to see if I have time to get work done as well, I can just be a mom.  This is definitely a huge plus!
  • I’m grateful that now that I’m not working late at night I can (theoretically) go to bed earlier.  If nothing else, I can go to bed on time without the guilt of having unfinished work!  I think that this is definitely going to help me be less exhausted all the time.
  • I’m grateful that now after the boys go to sleep I have some time carved out just for me and I don’t have to share those few precious hours (or many times, minutes) with my work projects but I can actually sit down and relax, or at least bring down a load of laundry to fold without wondering if I ought to be doing something else instead.
  • I’m grateful that with the extra money I can justify maybe paying to have someone come clean our house every so often.  I’m not a very good housekeeper, and sometimes cleaning falls to the very bottom of the list (it’s not like it’s going anywhere), but it feels so nice to have a clean house.  This might be one of the things I’m most excited for 🙂

Such a long list for such a simple thing.  Some of those things though are things that I have prayed long and hard for a solution to make them better.  I would have *never* thought this would be my answer, but it’s been such a blessing and I’m SO grateful.

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