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Full Time, All the Time

with Britt Reints

Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.

You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.

What’s more important than financial security?

Categories: balance

5 comments

When I first started writing for Work It, Mom! back in November of 2008 (wow, that seems like a long time ago!), I was working in sales and marketing for a small business in Central Florida. I worked roughly 40 hours a week, commuted another 8, and earned a salary plus commissions for my time and efforts. I was confident I was happy and fulfilled in my work. In fact, my very first post here (and still my most popular) was a manifesto of sorts about why some moms work full time.

Three and a half years later, I am now working from my laptop as I travel across the country with my family. I have no office, co-workers, or commute. Also long gone are the days of a reliable salary.

There are days when I question the sanity of my decision to go rogue, to quit my grown-up job and hit the road. I still have two young children to provide for, after all, and my family’s standard of living - though it’s changed dramatically - still depends on my ability to earn money. My work continues to grant me the other benefits of working full time, but the income is as dynamic as my mailing address. I wonder on occasion if the forum commenters are right, if I’m being selfish and depriving my children of the security that comes from a normal life.On Tuesday morning, I awoke to a text message from one of my oldest and dearest friends. After having been diagnosed with cancer just two weeks ago, her dad had died Monday night.

At the time, I was in a campground just south of Moab, Utah. We’d been planning to spend the week balancing work and school with hiking and photographing the geological wonders in Arches National Park. We were 1,100 miles away from our friends, but our hearts made the journey in an instant. Within an hour, we’d decided our bodies (and everything we owned) would follow.

We may lose money making this last minute trip home. We may forfeit reservations we’ve already made and we are giving up a free night at The Ritz-Carlton in Denver that we’d been looking forward to the following week. But as my husband pointed out, this is the point.

We gave up financial security so that we could spend afternoons hiking the Grand Canyon one week and whale watching in the Pacific Ocean the next. We juggle real bills with unconventional work spaces so that we can explore new cities as a family. And we do it so that we could hop in our cars and drive 18 hours to go to a funeral, without having to ask for permission or time off from a boss.

For us, today, that freedom is more important than financial security.

What would you give up financial security for?



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5 comments so far...

  • There was a time when nothing was. I was always scared that the bottom would fall out. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t felt that way. Now that I now better and would chuck a lot to go where the wind takes me, financial security (and health insurance) is far too important right now.

    Megan  |  March 28th, 2012 at 9:48 am

  • I’m a single mother working full time freelance (technical translation) AND part-time (teaching). I live in the south of France but the tiny amount of family I have (basically - my dad) lives in the north of Scotland. I work hard, I work a lot and, false modesty aside, I’m good at what I do. Being mainly freelance means I get to participate in my daughters’ lives more than many parents do.
    But since becoming a single mother, in horrible circumstances (no, no death involved, but it was horrid all the same), following a year of major financial hassles (new car! new roof!), I am now so broke, so down on my luck that I would give just about ANYTHING for some financial security. I owe money everywhere and no one likes lending money to single, female freelancers. No leeway, from anyone, ever. I’m on my knees, fighting for survival, fighting against the dreaded “interdiction bancaire” - which would ban me from writing cheques or using a credit card for the next 5 YEARS - and, so far, failing miserably.
    I am at, possibly even way past, breaking point, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
    I envy you the freedom you’ve had these last 10 months, and the incredible adventures you’ve had. But all I crave is stability. A shoulder to support me. Someone who can take the strain off for a while. I’m just soo damn tired of doing it all, all by myself. Working so hard and not getting paid (or not on time, anyway). Working so hard yet being so hopelessly in debt. Having to deprive my girls of any kind of treat. There may not even be birthday presents this year.
    I’m drowning and feel like no one can save me.

    Kirsty  |  March 28th, 2012 at 11:31 am

  • Giving anything up isn’t something that I have any choice in. I’m diabetic, I am bi-polar, and I have other health issues that require daily medication. My meds WITH my health insurance are $200-$300 per month. My health insurance is $400 per month. My husband’s is another $200 per month. One of our four whole paychecks for the month goes just to those costs, not counting co-pays let alone food, gas & groceries. Going without is not an option.

    Swerds  |  March 28th, 2012 at 11:35 am

  • Truth be told, there isn’t anything that I can think of that would make me wantonly give up financial security. Certainly, there are things that can happen that might force me to, but right now, there’s nothing I would choose of my own volition. Something that Himself and I strive to teach our daughter is self-reliance. Yes, strangers can be kind, and family can be wonderful, but ultimately, you are responsible for yourself. Just as a single moment can change your life, that same moment can change the lives of those who would offer you a hand. Part of that self-reliance is financial security. We also talk about commitment. Whether it’s people or pets, we make a pledge to care and provide for someone or something, our word is our bond and to honor that, we’re going to have to have some type of financial security. It’s wonderful that you have the “freedom” to be by your friends side, but let’s be honest, those with financial security have that same “freedom”..

    Nyt  |  March 28th, 2012 at 4:32 pm

  • The thing is tha there IS no such thing as financial “security”, or any other kind, for that matter. Trust me, it can all be gone in the blink of an eye no matter HOW hard we plan and how diligent and self reliant we are. I have seen it hundreds and hundreds of times and experienced it twice myself. So hold on to what really IS dear to you. Have enough that you are content, and with the rest of your time, hold on to those babies and husband of yours. Those babies will be grown and gone before you realize it.

    Nanna  |  March 28th, 2012 at 8:40 pm

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