Tuesday, September 8, 2020

My New Normal - Walking Away From My Business to Home-school

I’m about to make some big changes in my life. I’m talking about the kind of changes that make me question my sanity...

For over six years, I’ve worked very hard building a reputable cleaning service. The business has been good to me. It has allowed me to comfortably support my large family, as a single mother, with flexibility and control over my schedule that I wouldn’t find working for another company. In addition, my little cleaning business has put me in front of many wonderful people who’ve enriched my life in ways that I hadn’t imagined.

Which makes what I’m about to do seem all the crazier…

I’m going to turn my business over to my young adult children or mostly walk away from it. The “or” is because they don’t really know if they want to take it over. Either way, I’m letting it go within a week’s time. And I’m doing this without a backup plan to replace the income.

Why the urgency, you ask?

The simple answer is this – my two youngest children (ages 10 and 15) will be attending school remotely from home.

The option to enroll them in on site classes during the COVID-19 pandemic seems wrought with complications.

Seven hours of wearing a mask, limited contact with other students, physical spacing during the bus ride, class, lunch, and recess, and the constant threat of quarantine at the first sign of symptoms feels detrimental to learning. I’m guessing that students will be out of class more often than not. How many times in a school year does a child have a cough, fever, or the sniffles?

I’m not as afraid of the possibility of contracting COVID-19 as I am the negative effects of learning in this alien and sterile environment. Gone are the days of playing in the sand together or passing notes in the hall.

I’ve prayed over this decision for weeks. I’ve cried tears out of fear of making the wrong decision. I’m fully aware that my finances could down in a flame of ugly. Neither decision feels completely right. But each time, the thought of sending the kids to school or leaving them at home during the day to learn on their own feels worse than letting go of my cleaning business.

I should clarify. I won’t be completely without an income. I take a small profit on the commercial side of my cleaning business and a teensy-weensy amount of earnings coming in from my novels, blog, and YouTube channel. It’s just enough to cover the bare minimum.

This is the hard reality for many people right now. Several nearby school districts aren’t giving parents the choice. It’s remote on-line learning or nothing at all, creating a hardship for worried parents. It’s a terrible position to be in – to balance the necessity for income and the heart wrenching pull to be there for our children.

The time for using my penny-pinching, time saving, survival skills is now. The world feels upside down and inside out. Food shortages, job scarcity, and social distancing makes us feel as if we’ve stepped into an apocalyptic movie plot.

I’m struggling to find joy, to feel peace. I’m frightened by the upcoming weeks, months, and years - but I’m choosing to listen to the still, small voice in my head that says, “Keep moving. Remember what you know. Trust yourself.”

My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression. Lately, she has been on my mind more than usual. I learned things from her that I never thought I would need. I feel compelled to share her knowledge with those around me. I don’t have a game plan, but you can expect future posts and videos teaching my grandmother’s Depression Era tips and tricks. She was an amazing, strong woman who found joy during the worst of times.

It’s my heart’s desire to connect with other people that are in similar situations as myself. You are not alone. I’m not alone. There is beauty in sharing with, and encouraging, other like-minded folks going through similar challenges. I pray that we can help each other navigate through this new, strange world. We can learn from each other and make it through this unmarked territory. Best wishes for all of you!

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