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I can’t believe I have held this in for so long.  There were points over the last year where I thought when this time came I would be shouting it from the rooftops.  But, this change I am making is equally exciting as it is terrifying.  And, somehow telling people about it makes it more terrifying.

Near the end of 2012 I quit my day job.  I escaped cubicle nation, if you will.  I left a very successful, well-paying career to explore my own path.  Other than a little over a year I stayed home with my oldest son, I have been employed without break since I was 14.

I am no longer going to be an employee.  I won’t work for an employer.  I was good at my job, but my job was not good for me.  I longed for something else.  I have no idea how I worked full-time and blogged 5 days a week, but when you want to make a career change that’s what you have to do.  I blogged as an escape from a day job I hated.  I blogged to hopefully create something different, something that would allow me to make a big change.

We have experienced a bit of turbulence over the past 6 months.  As I grew to dislike my job more and more, we also started to notice what it was doing to our family.  Our boys were in childcare 10-11 hours a day for us to work and commute to and from work.  The morning routine was stressful, and the kids began showing unhealthy signs of that stress.  Getting out the door started making them anxious and stressed out.  They were learning from us.

My oldest just started kindergarten this year.  The adjustment has been a bit rough.  He turned 5 about a week before the school year started.  Academically and socially he was ready to go to school, but he struggled with behavior and structure.  Initially I took offense when the teacher suggested the length of the school day plus before and after school care were too much for him.  What did she want me to do…quit my job?  Then, over the first quarter as we watched him struggle at school and show signs of stress in his day, it dawned on me.  I did need to quit my job.  One particularly rough morning, my hubby turned to me in the car when we got to work and said, “You need to quit!”

Throughout those months, I kept thinking about one of my favorite quotes.

Quote Art by The Wheatfield

Quote Art by The Wheatfield

I don’t want to spend my one wild & precious life in a career I hate while sacrificing my kids, my husband, and my happiness to be “successful”.

It wasn’t immediate, but the timing was right.  To better support my family, be there for my boys, and be myself, I needed to quit my job.  After some careful planning and number crunching, I resigned.  We started transitioning in November.  We pulled my son out of before and after school care.  His behavior at school improved almost immediately.  Not only was his structured day shorter, but he had more time with me in the morning.  The new changes in the morning eliminated the stress we were previously all put under.

With my oldest in school 7 hours a day, we decided to keep my youngest in daycare at least half days.  He loves it and we think it is healthy for him to interact with other kids.  That leaves me quite a bit of new found time to explore my passions.  For about 5 hours a day I am Teal & Lime.  I can work on projects around the house (in the daylight), I can write blog posts (in the daylight), and I can take on more clients for custom mood boards (that I get to design in the daylight).

Are you wondering what the terrifying part is?  You might think it is financial, but actually I am not too worried about that.  Sure we will watch our budget more closely, but we should anyway.  What terrifies me is now I am Teal & Lime.  What if I am not good at it?  What if everyone stops reading my blog?  What if the clients stop coming to me for mood boards?  For so many years, I have shunned my passions.  I have hid my creativity.  I have done a job just for a paycheck.  Now I have the opportunity to live my passion, to unleash my creativity, and to do a job because it makes me happy.  I know…it sounds dreamy.  But, I worry I have built it up so much in my head that maybe it won’t be so great.  Maybe I won’t be as successful as I hope.  Maybe I still won’t be able to do everything I want to.

This post is my first step to mustering the courage to get past my fears.  To do the crazy things I have always wanted to do and to create my own path.  Whenever the fears start to build in my mind, I recall another favorite quote.

Quote Art by Dear Musketeer

Quote Art by Dear Musketeer

I have to take the risk.  I have to go out on my own and see where it takes me.

I am still trying to get my bearings and establish my new routine.  Despite the newness, I know this is exactly where I need to be.  I am finding myself again.  I felt lost and smothered over the last 10 years.  I felt like I was pushing something down inside that was fighting to get out, to live, to breathe. Now, I feel like I can unleash my creativity.  I can be me…all the time.

I feel like a mother again.  Of course, I was always a mother, but more than I care to admit being a mother took a backseat to my career.  It was an inconvenience for my employer.  I worked evenings, I worked weekends, I missed my son’s preschool graduation, I put my children in daycare 50+ hours a week.  During the week I only saw my kids for the stressful morning routine and for dinner and the bedtime routine.  I started to feel like I didn’t know them, my own kids anymore.  Well, the first thing I noticed after leaving my job was I felt like a mother again.  I was the one getting them dressed for the day, feeding them breakfast, listening to their school day stories when I picked them up.  I am there for them now and I love it.  My new “job” and my very lovely new boss :) give me the flexibility I need to be the mother I want to be.

I never imagined writing this blog would get me where I needed to be.  It let’s me be myself.  It doesn’t come close to replacing my day job income, but I can’t put a dollar figure on happiness.  We crunched lots of numbers before I made the leap…you know, to make sure we could still afford our house and food with 50% less income.  Thankfully, around the same time we were making these decisions, I started making some consistent income from sidebar advertising and my custom mood board services.  And, with my new focus I believe those income streams will continue to grow overtime.

So, although I won’t work for an employer, I will work.  I will work for myself, for my family, for my clients, and for you, my readers.  I will work to bring in some additional income for my family.  I will work to continue to provide wonderful services for my clients.  I will work to share even more home and DIY goodness right here on Teal & Lime.

I hope you will stick with me.  There is lots of Teal & Lime goodness to come in 2013!!!

 

71 Responses to BIG Changes I am Making in 2013

  1. Amanda says:

    I love your blog, so I will continue to be a dedicated reader! Congratulations on making such an important adjustment!

  2. Isabel says:

    I love your blog. I think you’re really creative and I have no doubt you will be very successful. Congratulations and best wishes for the future.

  3. lesley says:

    Best post ever! And I can totally relate. I’ve had a career that I loved managing a child care center but the irony of that was my children were suffering. They were in childcare/school all day. Although, now I still work at home on my new businesses it is so much better because I am here and present. They are free from the all of the structure. Unfortunately, your child’s teacher is right, no matter how you look at it your kids had a really long “structured” day. A day full of competing for toys with other kids, attention from one or two adults in a room full of kids, tons of rules to follow etc. I know everyone can’t do what we do (stay at home) but if you can, the sacrifice is so worth it. Don’t get me wrong, they need that social/structured time. However, when it gets to the point that all you do is see them an hour in the morning and night then something may have to change. I’m so happy for you. Subside those fears because when you are passionate about what you do everything will fall into place. Your bloggy friend, Lesley

  4. BrookeJ says:

    Congratulations on following your dream!

  5. Congratulations! This is such an exciting time for you and your family. Enjoy your new transition, and know that you’ll always have a reader in me. Love your colours, style and creative ideas. Keep up the great work!

  6. wendy says:

    I am THRILLED for you and your family as you make these changes! I retired from 14 years of teaching at the young/old age of 36 to leave the country and live overseas–so many changes at once for us. New country, my son starting kindergarten and now I was at home full time (WHAT was I supposed to do all day?!?!?!), etc. but it was the greatest blessing we could have ever hoped for. Now with two boys (ages 11 and just 5) being at home continues to bring nothing but joy. You’ll also notice right away how much working outside of the home really costs and you’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll save on gasoline, work clothing budget, daycare costs, etc. I wish you nothing but success and joy in your new journey! Many blessings–wendy

    • Jackie says:

      Wendy, You are totally right. We definitely factored in the costs we could reduce by not working. Wardrobe and daycare were probably the biggest. But, we also estimated the $$ we spent on convenience…meals out, buying things that I didn’t have time to DIY, etc. Last week I saved us $500 by installing the cork floor in our basement myself (I’ll be sharing later this week).

  7. Brenda H. says:

    Keep up the good work! So many of us working mothers wish we could do the same. By the way, of all the blogs I read (which are a lot), your blog is in my favorite top 3!

  8. I’ll definitely stick with you, because I LOVE what you do, and probably when you have more time for blogging and projects without a bad conscience (because you think you should rather spend the time with your family), you’ll be so relaxed and your work will show.
    I wish I could do that, but I cannot work up the courage to quit my job or at least reduce it to less hours, because it is really well paid and we need the money to pay for our home. I also earn more than my husband.
    Well, but I am wishing you a good transition to being your own boss. And don’t think you can blog in your pajamas, we will notice! :D
    Jule {inside9B}

    • Jackie says:

      Jule,

      Haha…I would never blog in my pajamas. Okay, I lie…I totally would, but taking the boys to school in the morning forces me to get all put together for the day :)

  9. Lisa says:

    I am so excited and proud of you Jackie. Now that you’re able to focus on your blog full-time I can only imagine where you will take it. It’s been fun to watch your blog’s progress ever since I “met” you in Holly’s class in Oct 2011. You are definitely an inspiration for me since I would love to quit my day job and follow my passion.

  10. Michelle says:

    Good for you!!!! You will love the flexiblity being at home provides. You and your family will be so blessed by your decision.

  11. Laurie says:

    I’ve been reading a while, but never commented before. I did the same thing 9 years ago (today actually)! Our grad student nanny called me at 10:30 am in the morning to tell me that her school schedule would no longer work (she was being forced to take some day classes since the night ones she had enrolled for had filled up). I ran numbers, talked with my husband, and then told my boss. Right after he offered me a promotion I had been expecting that afternoon. :)

    I never thought I’d be a stay at home mom, especially given the advanced degrees I had worked so hard for and the great career I had. I even loved my job, but not the morning stress and the commute.

    I have to say that I floundered for a while b/c I didn’t have a “Teal and Lime,” but it is the best decision we ever made for our family. Just make sure that you are scheduling yourself some time with adults or you’ll go crazy :)

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks for sharing Laurie. I love hearing others success stories. And, I totally already know what you mean about scheduling some adult time during the day :)

  12. CM says:

    Congratulations on making this big decision and doing the right thing for your family. I also cut down on my work schedule at the end of 2012 to spend more time at home… but my kids still have long days at school and I struggle with wanting to be around more for them. I applaud you for examining your priorities and taking the leap.

  13. CT says:

    Congrats Jackie — this is a big and exciting move you’re taking on. I’ve been thinking a lot about the work/life/family balance thing lately and this article was particularly insightful(written by the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department): http://m.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/#.UOOPdkAJ3dM.mailto

    I hope your new career focus brings you joy and success. All the best in 2013.

    • Jackie says:

      CT, Awesome article. She really pins the issue with work/life balance for women. I totally respect all working mothers, but I am glad to be part of the SAHM community now. It is such a personal choice for each of us and there is no right way.

  14. Patrina says:

    Jackie,

    Such a blessing for your family. Of course we will continue to stick with you. Where else would we get all these fab ideas:-)

  15. Michelle says:

    I’m very excited for you! Congratulations! You are doing what a lot of us only dream of doing but haven’t yet figured out how to make it happen. You will never regret this time you are taking by putting your family first.

    Good luck!

  16. Dude…you got this…you are AWESOME! Congrats by the way! I’m so excited for you and your happiness!

  17. MB says:

    Congratulations! I am a working mom and wish I could be home so I’m happy for you! Your kids will look back and think of you as a loving mom who was always there for them instead of a mom who was too focused on her career.

  18. Colleen says:

    What an amazing post to read. So many women, myself included, can relate to the decision you had to make. I had a successful career in the human resources field (backed by an ivy league degree) but I swear I hated it, darn fancy degree flushed right down the toilet. I felt like I was faking it; that I knew what I was talking about, that I enjoyed the job, that I wanted to move up the ladder and take on more responsibility. Blah! I just wanted to go outside and sit under a tree, daydream and breathe in the fresh air, ya know? Words like “corporate” “cubicle” and phrases like “circle back” make me want to barf. I can’t imagine getting myself and my three kids ready for school and out the door every morning. I know a lot of amazing moms do it every day, but I would not be at my best in that situation. I would be seriously grouchy and mean. I decided to stay home after my 2nd daughter was born, and due to several moves for my husband’s career, I’ve stayed home ever since. I’m thinking of returning to work in a year or so, but with the clarity I’ve gained over the years, it would have to be one heck of a company/position, and probably not in human resources again. These days I work very part-time as an organizer and decorator.

    I wish you success and happiness. I will definitely stick around for your blog. I love your style!

    • Jackie says:

      Colleen, Thanks or sharing! I totally felt the same as you. To get through a day at work I had to put on this facade like I cared…about the next meeting, about promotion, about impressing so-and-so, but the truth was I didn’t really care. Part of me, the part with a strong work ethic and desire to be good at whatever I do, was climbing the corporate ladder. It was like an instinct. And, corporate America expects everyone to always be climbing the ladder. It is not good enough to just be good at your job…you have to be trying to get the next job. Once I realized the money part of it did not matter to me anymore, then neither did the rest of it. I don’t need to climb a ladder…I need to do work that is meaningful to me.

  19. Gwen says:

    I say WOW! I did what you did. The very year I’d have gotten a 27% raise!! But my girls now adults say they liked it. My career did not ever get to that high point but ii saved all my life. I kept giving to The Lord. And its years later you will look back and say, wow we were really kind of poor that year but somehow we bought that really nice couch and paid cash. How? It’s God blessing your choice to be there with your little ones. I think junior high and high school are big times to be there. Just to listen or have a snack ready. It’s worth it!! And your house really is ‘done’ and gorgeous!!! Blessings!!!

  20. Tiffany says:

    Congratulations and best of luck! Your kids are going to thrive with a happy mommy and more family time. Enjoy!

  21. Amy Fretz says:

    Congrats! I think you will do great at your new/continuing job at Teal and Lime :-)! I admire you! I am a SAHM want to start a blog but perfectionist me won’t get started b/c I don’t have it all perfectly mapped out-ugh! Maybe sometime you could post about starting your blog and advise those of us who want to get started. Yes, back to you and the topic of your career change. From your posts I think you have the right package of skills and personality traits to make this career change to full time SAHM and blog writer work amazingly well-motivation, organization, logic, creativeness, etc.. With any change you have to learn new rhythms about yourself and family. I’ve found this process to be a journey. Maybe some things that were built into your previous job you’ll discover that you will need to build in to this new one. Like Lori mentioned above-make time for friends. As a SAHM w/school age kids I know it’s easy to guilt yourself into thinking I need to be working at something (writing, cleaning the kitchen floor, laundry, re-painting the house numbers-ok that’s personal to me) right now but I’ve found taking the time for friends will help you work better, faster, more motivated, during your work time. Give yourself grace as you are discovering your new job and what makes it run smoothly for you, your husband, and children. If snags ever come, evaluate, correct, and change. Ie. I am a SAHM and love to cook good from scratch food but making dinner “every” night and after school snacks is something that I started to hate b/c there were other creative projects waiting for me and I was spending too much time in the kitchen. At the same time I discovered that our upscale grocery store down the street offers discounted sell-by-today expiration date top quality store-made foods in a little refrigerated section and organic bread on a specific shelf and if you go early you can score on these great deals-great quality-great price- solved my problem. Lastly, be you and let that define YOUR version of SAHM/blog writer, not your best friends, Mother-in Law’s,whoever’s version b/c you are you and not them and they are not you. This one is so basic but I get tripped up by it all the time! These are some things off the the top of my head that has helped me. All the best to your new journey and yes, I will keep reading!

    • Jackie says:

      Amy,

      Thank you so much for all the great advice. You should totally start a blog…just remember a blog is a journey. It won’t be perfect at the start and it will evolve over time…that is part of the beauty of a blog. Each day is a new start. Thanks for reading!

  22. Molly says:

    You are an inspiration! I’m hoping to be just like you – a person who follows their dreams! Huge success will come your way!!!!

  23. Heather says:

    Congrats to you, that is awesome!

  24. Andrea says:

    I am so happy for you. I have been reading for a while but honestly I always thought in the back of my mind, how does she do so much? While my home is nice, it’s not as decorated as I would like but since I work and have children, I know that has to be at the back of my list of priorities and for me that is ok. I find as my kids (twins) get older, I have more time for diy and my income lets me hire some of it out. Best of luck to you, I look forward to reading what’s next!

  25. A says:

    Congrats! That’s a really exciting and scary decision but I think you’ll love it! I’m fortunate enough to work in a field where I only have to work part time and the rest of the time I am with my one year old daughter. The plan is for me to go full time in a couple years so my husband can stay home with her all day. While I love being with my daughter, I have a VERY difficult time being home all the time. I absolutely love my job and have worked very hard for it and I know me staying at home just wouldn’t be healthy for me. I applaud those of you that are SAHM! It’s the best/toughest job out there!

  26. Jennysue says:

    Congratulations! How wonderful! And Good for you for finally taking the leap :)

  27. Mel says:

    Congratulations! You will never regret spending more time with your kids. I stayed home with mine for many many years.

    I love your style!

  28. Yay for you! I remember when we met at the MN bloggers conference you said you hoped to do this some day. And now you have! Enjoy!

    • Jackie says:

      Yes Micaela! It wasn’t that long ago. I met so many amazing women there, you included, that helped me realize it was a valid career move :)

  29. Deepa says:

    An amazing post! you will do great ! Best wishes on this new walk of your life!

  30. Melissa says:

    Congratulations Jackie! You are so so talented and I’m with the other reader who said she can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve now that you have MORE time for projects and blogging.

  31. Michele Adams says:

    So happy for you! You can tell you are happier and more relaxed in the way you sound in your blog! Congrats!

  32. Cathy says:

    Congratulations Jackie! You made a very selfless decision – though I know you think some of it was for yourself. I read your blog every day also. It already seems like you do it full time; you do such a great job. Can’t wait to see what you do now. I am a stay at home Mom also but I work from home while the kids are at school. It allows me to run errands for house stuff, etc during the day. Remarkably, you will still feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. But you will be so much happier.

  33. Gina Amante says:

    You’ve hooked me in as a reader…and a client. As a matter of fact, was just going to contact you again this morning (but will do that separately). I’m SURE your business will continue to grow and prosper. It’s obvious you take pride in your work, and you are good at it! Best of luck!! I work full time with 3 kids, but feel very fortunate that my job offers tremendous felxability, I work from home 2 days a week, etc.

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Gina! Just saw your message in my inbox. That is so wonderful that your workplace offers flexibility…I think that is the key for working mothers!

  34. Heather says:

    Congratulations! I think you will do awesome.

  35. Stephanie says:

    Congratulations! Your journey is inspiring. I am already a stay at home mom, but hope to have time/energy/creativity to do some sort of work that doesn’t take over my SAHM duties. I can’t wait to see what your already fantastic blog becomes with you giving it your all!

  36. Nancy says:

    So happy to read this post congratulations on taking the leap it seems like th e best decision!!

  37. CohoesMom5 says:

    Congratulations Jackie! I have been reading for a while and have really enjoyed your projects and writing style. Your ideas have inspired me and I will continue to look to you for inspiration. You are one of only three blogs that I read daily.

  38. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations, you can do it!
    You have inspired me and I love looking at your blog.

  39. Lynn says:

    I’m coming out of my “lurking” to let you know that I applaud you!! You listened to your inner-voice. What you are experiencing is magnificent and exciting…enjoy! Our children are little for such a short amount of time (though it feels long at the time) and they will be able to become themselves so much easier with you around them more. I’m so happy for you!

  40. Marisa says:

    Fantastic post. Good for you.

  41. Good for you, Jackie. To tell you the truth, I wondered how you did it all. Several years ago I had to decide if I wanted to keep teaching or go back to what I loved- designing, decorating and organizing. Sure, it’s somewhat of a financial sacrifice, but it’s so worth it. My son is graduating this year and I love the person he is. We’ve had our struggles (perhaps me learning to give him more space), but our relationship is close and I know who he is.
    I wouldn’t trade anything for it, and it has worked for our family. I think you’ll find the financial end has a way of working out. A friend of mine found that they were further ahead when she quit her downtown city job to take something part time closer to home- less $ on eating out, clothes, fuel, and all the rest. They are so much happier now.
    I can’t wait to see where 2013 takes you. Teal and Lime is fabulous because of you. Now we’ll get to see the best of you!

    • Jackie says:

      Shauna, Thank you. You hit the nail on the head…when my boys are grown I want to know them. I stayed home with my oldest when he was less than 2 years old, but then went back to work. Within a year I felt I was losing the bond and I did not know him. I did not know how to nurture him or understand him. Now I feel like I am slowly regaining that…and it is beautiful!!!

  42. Jen says:

    You will succeed! I just know it! Congrats again, you were blessed with such a talent and it is so great that now you can spend your days doing what you love – designing and being a mom. Taking the leap is the hardest biggest step, now it’s time to soar.

    Congrats again! Love ya!!

    xo,
    Jen

  43. Jen says:

    You will succeed! I just know it! Congrats again, you were blessed with such a talent and it is so great that now you can spend your days doing what you love; designing and being a mom. Taking the leap is the hardest biggest step, now it’s time to soar.

    Congrats again! Love ya!!

    xo,
    Jen

  44. Congrats Jackie! What a scary but completely amazing choice! I love the quote you shared about having to be willing to lose sight of the shore! All your fears are natural but you, your family and the blog are going to do nothing but grow and blossom. Enjoy every minute!

  45. I feel the exact same way~ my son goes to college in a year and I need to make this blog work or get a job~ I so want this for me~ No more bosses~ I am tired of making everyone elses dreams come true. And don’t worry if no one reads your blog I just started …I am your newest fan. :)
    Kim

  46. Marcie says:

    Congratulations, Jackie! I made the transition to staying home with my now one year old at the end of the last school year (I used to teach). I won’t lie…it was a tougher transition that I expected, but I wouldn’t change being home for the world.

    You are an amazing mom and clearly giving your family what they need most. I look forward to following your journey as a stay at home mom.

    I found your blog a little over a month ago and read it daily. Teal and lime are my favorite colors and splashed all over my house…the colors drew me in, but your warm personality, chic ideas, and realistic approach to things keeps me coming back :)

  47. Awww, I love everything about this post. So happy for you on your new adventure! This blog is going to go SO FAR with your passion, talent, and values that are so evident all over teal and lime! I’m looking forward to following along!

    ~Sarah

  48. Katherine says:

    Congratulations on your life change!
    Mothers working outside the one has become a necessity for most,over the last several decades. Stay at Home and Work at Home Moms have been minimized and looked Down upon. The most important thing a mother can do is to raise her children with love, compassion a sense of self worth and the priority of family. All of these things center them and give them the desire to be their best.
    Again, congratulations to you and your family for embracing motherhood to it’s fullest.

  49. Polly says:

    just found your blog and am a HUGE fan! we are hoping to finally add some square footage to our 1947 bungalow this year, and I look forward to using it as an opportunity to be a mood board customer- your stuff is great! go mama :)

    best,
    plk

  50. Lori says:

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog. Today I ended up here while meandering around cleaning, organizing and design blogs. I am touched by your candidness, your authenticity. Good for you! I wish you the very best as you make big changes in your life and I’m looking forward to reading more Teal & Lime!
    ~Lori

  51. Yusra says:

    I love your blog! You have nothing to worry about, I am sure:) you re such an inspiration to me and many others…. That in and of itself is success!

  52. Melissa Klein says:

    Found your blog recently and LOVE it. Just found this post today and wish you MUCH SUCCESS. You are so talented and are now one of my FAVORIT BLOGS!

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