Friday, 14 March 2014

Balanced Challenge: Day 3: How My Family Benefits From My Work

I wrote up my notes from yesterday's chapter last night, but I didn't get the chance to format them into a blog post until today. I guess that's all part of being flexible, right? ;)

When I read the title of Day 3's challenge, I did wonder if I'd be able to come up with something to write. Tricia's blog was entitled How My Little Kids Help Me In My Work, and since my little kid is still in utero, I don't exactly have any examples of how I'm able to do that just yet. I definitely have some ideas of ways in which my kids could be involved in my work, but since I don't have a whole lot of experience in this area, I decided to change today's blog post very slightly. Instead of answering the question of How do you involve your kids in your work?, I'll be talking about how I anticipate my family benefiting from my work at home.

Deciding to work from home definitely wasn't a spontaneous decision, but it was an easy one to make once Simon and I realised that we could afford it. We'd always talked about me being at home once we had children, and not just because it would cut down on childcare costs. My kids might not have my complete and undivided attention when I'm at home if I'm writing or doing housework while they play (and it's probably a good thing that they know they're not the centre of my universe) but I like knowing that I am there if they have a problem or something they want to talk about, and that I can witness their growths and achievements first hand, whether they're taking their first steps or learning to play an instrument. In fact, I kind of feel sad that Simon will be out at work for nine hours a day and might miss out on an exciting development with one of our children!

Besides the obvious fact that I'd be instilling a love of reading and writing in them from a young age, I hadn't really put too much thought into how my chosen career could impact my children until now. Since Tricia is also a writer, she made some great points in the third chapter of Balanced, many of which I could relate to. Here are some points I finally decided upon:

  • Through seeing me work on my novels, edit them, submit them to publishers, revise them, and hopefully eventually get them published, my children will see first-hand that it's possible to achieve your dreams--but that you have to work hard to get there. 
  • I might not have any immediate plans to interview people as research for my novels as Tricia often does, but my kids will still get to connect with other writers and artists, as well as fellow book-lovers from my work at The Christian Manifesto. My colleague Shondra sent me a lovely card all the way from Indiana, when I told her I was pregnant, and she's taken on some of my usual tasks for TCM to help ease my work load. Even if my kids don't get to meet mummy's "internet friends" in person, they'll definitely know that they have love and support from all over the world!
  • In turn, they'll also learn about how hobbies and interests can connect a community of people of all ages and races, all over the world. I might not have any local friends who write Christian Fiction, but I've met plenty online--and this will also open up conversations about internet safety!
  • Reading and writing can help us develop compassion and empathy, so not only do I hope that my work makes me more patient and understanding with my children, they'll get to learn equally important lessons through their own reading. Hopefully this will open up some great discussions topics, as well.
  • Since my husband has a more typical 9-5 job with an annual salary, while I'm going down the artistic route of following my dreams even if it doesn't make any money right now, we can demonstrate to our kids that following your dreams can look different depending on your skills and interests, and that each of our routes are equally valid options. We can show them that doing something you love is more important than making a lot of money, gaining fame or meeting other people's expectations. 
  • And in turn, we can show them that it takes a lot of effort and sacrifice to get to the place of fulfilling your dreams--getting a book published doesn't happen overnight, and because of the career path I've taken, we don't have a second income right now. 
  • Hopefully, as my career develops, my kids will have opportunities to go on research trips with me, or at least visit museums and libraries and develop a love and respect for history. 
  • We can show our children that mummy and daddy contribute to the family in different but equal ways.
Towards the end of Chapter 3, Tricia writes, "When you spend a lot of time together, kids follow what they see. They also ask questions. A lot of questions." I hope that, through seeing me work and asking me why I'm writing all the time, my kids can learn some valuable life lessons which will eventually enable them to make decisions about their own futures and careers. 

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

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