It has been an interesting — but stressful! — week. It started with a “me” day. Kevin had the kids for the day, and I was planning on tackling paperwork. I did, and I was productive, but not nearly as productive as I had hoped. Everything was taking longer than expected. So already I’m running behind. Combine that with the kids coming home earlier than expected (Avery hurt himself, a minor injury — he’s fine), and I’m really bummed. Then, later that same day, Kevin and I make plans to “discuss things” Wednesday night. Cue the stress and anxiety. What a start to the week!
Stress unfortunately manifests itself into gastrointestinal issues for me, so all week I struggled with feeling out of sorts. Combine that with the financial woes and worries that plagued my mind, and I was a bundle of stressed-out jitters, anxious for Wednesday to be over. Eventually, of course, Wednesday came, and while the result isn’t happy, I’m happy to say Kevin and I were on the same page. We are officially getting a divorce.
Of course having the decision made does relieve a bit of the stress, and having the meeting pass also relieved stress (a good bit of my anxiety was not knowing how it was going to go, or what Kevin was thinking). But the biggest worry is still there: money. And that really sucks.
So onward we go, to attempt to lay the foundation for a successful future, one that will hopefully leave me a bit more financially secure. My, there are an awful lot of wishy-washy words in that sentence: “attempt,” “hopefully,” “a bit.” Can you tell how uncertain I feel about things?
I don’t deal well with uncertainty. I like to be able to plan, to be able to formulate a way to tackle whatever problems I’m dealing with. So I’m doing my best to create a plan of attack to create a solid financial foundation, even while I have to face that I don’t really know how to do that. I have ideas, and wants, and needs, and I find myself at a loss over which “foundation” to lay. What will yield me the best results, not just in the short term, but the long term? And, not just in the long term, but the short term? In other words: where the heck do I go from here? What should I focus on that will get me where I want and need to be?
Big questions that don’t have easy answers. Yes, I could search out a lucrative opportunity that will take care of my financial needs. But what would be the sacrifice? Less time with my kids, a job that leaves me feeling dead and unfulfilled inside (which leads to feeling depressed and other not-nice feelings that could have their own set of negative consequences), a sense of loss over my unfinished projects and unrealized goals. I could keep chugging along as I’ve been doing, with my regular job and whatever Kevin is able to give me and taking care of my projects as I see fit. But what would be the sacrifice there? Likely my house. I simply can’t keep up the way I am without bringing in more income. And, between not wanting to uproot the kids at what is a sensitive time (especially for Avery) and not wanting to give up the space that I’m finally getting the way I want, that’s not a good option, either.
So where does that leave me? I would say the two choices mentioned above are the most common following divorce: get a better-paying job to pay the bills and/or downsize to cut expenses. But since when have I ever done the “common” or “easy” thing? I want it all, darn it! And that requires a bit more creativity and finesse — a bit more “thinking outside the box” if you will. Fortunately, that happens to be my specialty.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Sounds like I know exactly what I’m going to do, right? Well, I’m still working on it. But I believe I’m getting there. The way I see it I already have a lot of pokers in the fire. I have a lot of beginnings that, with some work, could become possibilities. Here’s what I’ve got:
- My “day job,” the one that pays my mortgage with a little extra each month
- Usborne Books & More consultant status (hopefully soon to be Educational Services Representative status, too)
- A ton of stuff to sell – book stock (Usborne books, my self-published books, and other misc books), assorted gifts (especially toys), some odds and ends
- Two eBay accounts with positive feedback ratings
- An approved application to be a transcriptionist
- Several websites in the works, one of which gets some traffic and could get more with a little advertising and effort (www.freefamilyfuninct.com) and others that have potential but will require a lot more work to bring in income
- A brain that always has new ideas and ways of looking at things!
Of course we also have to think of all the things I have that could be seen as hinderances, at least when thinking of financial opportunity:
- Two adorable, wonderful children (who are also young and needy)
- A mess of a house that needs cleaning and organizing
- A personality that doesn’t do the “easy” thing (gets bored, always wants more, too many ideas, wants to be fulfilled)
- Bills that need to be paid now, not just in the future
- Goals! Ideas! Wants! Desires!
*sigh* OK. So we know what we’re dealing with: a huge stack of bills, a woman who wants it all, and a lot of possibilities that require work. So what’s the game plan?
Fortunately I’m not leaving you hanging. While this week has been stressful, it has also forced me to think about how I want things to go. I’ve made lists and schedules and brainstorms. I’ve thought about what I want and what I need and what my kids need and how to get there. And here’s what I’ve come up with. Yes, I know some of you (maybe all of you) will think I’m crazy, but that’s just me, right?
5:00 Wake up, catch up on e-mail and Facebook
5:30 Start laundry, Project 1 (see below)
6:30 Put laundry in dryer, eat breakfast, take care of kids, do light cleaning and organizing
7:30 Get the kids and myself ready for the day (get dressed, brush teeth, get lunches ready, etc.)
8:15 Bring Avery to school, then go to work, followed by any tasks for the day
2:30 – 3:20 Pick up kid(s), followed by kid time or tasks (time and tasks depend on day)
5:30 Dinner, followed by kid time or tasks (depends on how long it takes kids to eat!)
6:30 Get kids ready for bed
7:30 Clean (especially the kitchen and dishes), Start laundry (if needed)
8:00 Project 2 (see below)
9:00 Put laundry in dryer, shower, relax
9:30 Go to bed
“Tasks” will vary by day and will be planned out in my planner. This is, of course, my weekday schedule. Weekends are usually primarily kid time, with projects before they come down in the morning and after they’ve gone to bed at night. Sundays that Kevin has the kids will have their own projects. Speaking of projects, each day has particular focuses, as broken down below:
#1: Planning, making lists, etc.
#2: Usborne tasks (paperwork, reaching out to potential customers, scheduling Facebook posts, etc.)
#1: Work on Free Family Fun site (add events, update articles as needed)
#2: Transcription work
#1: Work from home for my day job
#2: Cleaning projects (based on my focus for the month)
#1: Work on Free Family Fun site (add events)
#2: Transcription work
#1: Pay bills and handle paperwork as needed
#2: Work on other websites (based on my focus for the month)
#1: Write or writing-related tasks
#2: Post items for sale on eBay
Of course this “ideal” schedule is subject to change. I have to see if it works in practice, not just in theory. Much of it is based on what I already do, but to stick with it I do need to practice a bit more discipline.
Are you overwhelmed yet? In some ways I am, but having a kind of plan in place also gets me in the mindset to tackle what needs to be done. And if it starts working out, then maybe I’ll be in good shape! I’m hoping to put this plan into effect this week. We’ll see how it goes!