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?