Life After Quitting: Mid-Year Review

Lifestyle


Taking my daughter to school is the best part of my day. It’s something I never was able to do until I quit my job and something I didn’t even think would be so special for me and for her.

I get home from the gym and have about 20 minutes until we have to leave for school. I brush her hair, make sure she properly brushes her teeth, make sure her backpack has everything it needs and nothing it doesn’t, forms are signed, homework is complete and we head out the door. We live close to the school, but need 30 minutes to walk there so we end up driving. The entire time we talk. We talk about what is happening in school that day, what she dreamed about, some YouTube or Musical.ly personality that is so funny. She often rambles and I just listen, grateful to have this time where I get a peek into her mind uncensored. I know it won’t be long before she’s an age where she feels she needs to hide things from me or adjust the story.

We park around the corner and walk to the school. Lots of kids her age are dropped off or walk alone from the car but she likes having me walk her to the door. Sometimes she even holds my hand. The conversation continues. We cross the street, I’ve gotten to know the crossing guard and we share pleasantries, comment on the weather, tell one another a joke. I get to the door, kiss her on the head, tell her I love her. Sometimes her friends catch up and they walk together but she still waits to have me kiss her on the head before racing into the school.

On the way back to the car, I again see the crossing guard, as well as many parents I have come to know. We say hi, we comment on something that happened in the community, the new mural on the school exterior, an upcoming field trip or event. As I drive home the crossing guards and some parents wave to me and I wave back. Since I’m already in my car, I then head out to run that day's errand. The post office (I call it my home away from home since my business address is a PO Box and I am selling old clothes on Poshmark), the grocery store, the bank, the tailor, the library.

I get home, still in my gym clothes that have dried and are sticky. I shower, throw on some casual clothes (usually overalls) and get to work. That hour between the gym and errands fuels me through my day at the computer. It’s like meditating, it calms me. It reminds me of why I took the leap, quit my job, changed all of our lives. No, I can’t buy you another JoJo Siwa bow and we can’t have sushi takeout after karate every Monday night. We may not be going on some epic summer vacation and we no longer go to Starbucks for lady dates. We may be pinching pennies and making do but we have that hour each morning where it’s just you and me and this is more valuable.

Being self-employed is freaking stressful. Each month, hell each day is drastically different. The routine I knew in Corporate America is gone and each time I think I’ve created a new routine the rug is pulled out from under me. There is no reliability, no consistency, no safety net. Last month, I started a contract with a company I used to work with when I was in Corporate America. We’d be co-subs on government projects, there was a woman at that company who was the only person I met in ten years of managing webinars who used the same platform I did and in the same manner. We became friends, supported one another, advised one another, vented to one another, and often collaborated on projects. She reached out on Facebook and asked if I’d like to help with a big annual webinar, one my old company and I supported in years past. I agreed. The past couple of weeks have been surreal. I’m in my overalls in my home office instead of in a dress and heels in a white box in Rockville, Maryland or a brown box in DC. But I am on conference calls with old coworkers and subject matter experts from across the country who I previously worked with, met at conferences, taught years ago how to use this technology. Last week, I had a conference call with my old team mate. We worked together almost a decade; he was hired six months after me. When I was asked who to be my support person from my old company for these webinars, I asked for him. On the call, we talked a bit about what had changed but we got back into our old routine and it was pretty awesome. I haven’t lost it.

I was stressed about taking on this project. I said yes because well, the money is good. Also, I think it’s important to keep my skills fresh. I don’t want to go back into that field, but I have no idea what the future holds and it’s stupid to let any skills or contacts go stale. But my blog business is still new, still something I haven’t gotten a firm grasp on. I literally spent eight hours Wednesday just replying to emails and then I had work for the contract. And after, I still had to do social and content for the blog. But having this contract is forcing me to create not a routine, but at least a rhythm. It’s reminding me of the corporate badass I was, and how I still have that badass in me, I just need to use those powers for the good of the blog. That managing a blog and managing a team and a schedule of webinars and events doesn’t have to be completely different, and with a little creativity I can use a lot of the skills I honed in the past decade for this new venture. This isn’t a 9-5, it’s more like a 10-10 but it’s a business, and it’s mine.

And best of all, I can do it and also take my daughter to school every morning.

The video has nothing to do with taking my kid to school, I just love it.

23 Comments

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23 Comments

  • Ann June 18, 2018

    Genuinely curious not intending to be offensive…how do you reconcile your budgetary restrictions with your career, which, based on posts, includes a fair bit of shopping?

    • Alison Gary June 19, 2018

      I have really cut down on my shopping, and am looking for ways to partner with brands where I can receive gifted merchandise, but the same kind/style/brands I wore previously. You’ll see that the style of outfits are essentially the same but more often you’ll find them gifted (c/o).

      I’m focusing on buying pieces that I can see myself wearing for a long while, but are also pieces that won’t sell out so quickly that I can’t feature on the blog multiple times without people getting angry that the item is sold out (or there’s similar enough pieces out there that I can offer decent alternatives). I actually like this challenge because it forces me to be far more careful with what I buy, and then can truly recommend really good pieces to all of you. It’s less new outfit new outfit buy all the new and more these pants don’t stretch out and give you a dumpy butt, here’s how to wear this dress four different ways so you don’t need to buy four different dresses. It’s forcing me to choose quality not quantity, which is what I’m always preaching. It’s helping me walk the talk. What’s cool is this change in mindset hasn’t really hurt my revenue and it also makes me feel better about essentially supporting my family by other people’s shopping habits.

      Awesome question, and one that should be answered since the only reason I have a job is because of you readers. You deserve to know “how the sausage is made” so you can make smart decisions on what blogs and sites to read and support!

  • Dawn June 14, 2018

    I’m in the same space as you. Also, that video is awesome! I remember a snippet from your instastories and I’m glad I got to see the whole thing!

  • Lorena June 7, 2018

    Yes, it sounds stressful but evidently the time with your daughter is priceless. GO ALLY!

  • Karin June 4, 2018

    I quit my job 10 years ago to start my own business. Every word you said rings so true. I had the exact same experience walking my son to school for several years.Treasure this time with your daughter – it goes by so fast, but it makes all the late nights worth it!

  • L H Carter June 4, 2018

    Thank you for sharing this peek into your morning routine and your new simple but not easy work. I’m happy for the 3 of you to have the opportunity to have this life style.

  • Lisa June 3, 2018

    Yes, I totally agree and do the same with my daughter. You look so happy in the video and I ❤️ The ❤️ Sweater

    • Alison Gary June 4, 2018

      That’s wonderful! And the sweater is Talbots and I’ll have it in tomorrow’s blog post!

  • Stephanie June 3, 2018

    Love this post congratulations

  • Gail June 3, 2018

    Congratulations to you. It’s working. I love your blog and have been reading for years. Whoo Hoo Girl!

  • Sonia June 3, 2018

    What a great post! Though true motherhood evaded me, I can still feel your joy and satisfaction that only bonding with your child can bring. Spending quality time with Emerson means so much more now that you can enjoy the special bonding time you have with her free of distractions and the daily grind taking precedence. Being a working mom is always difficult, but at least you have some free time to be able to watch your kid grow. Enjoy it to the fullest.

  • Laurel June 3, 2018

    Love this! You are SO right about the time with your daughter. Those years will be gone in a flash. Heartwarming post and glad to hear you’ve still got it. (No doubt here.) 🙂

  • Kim Kash June 3, 2018

    I love this! Back in the hustle of entrepreneurship myself, it’s both inspiring and grounding to follow along on your adventures. And the video is adorable, a perfect illustration of the sweet relationship you and your daughter have.

    • Alison Gary June 4, 2018

      Thanks Kim! And wishing you much success with your new biz, though I don’t think you’ll need it! <3

  • Katharina June 3, 2018

    You can and should do it all, just we can’t expect to do it at the exact same time.
    Kudos to you for keeping it all together and for holding on to your priorities. I believe we give and do more from our mind and heart when we fill them with sense of self, share our talents and strengths and embrace the people and things we love. Your family are your loving roots and everything in life branches out from there.
    Always enjoy your posts, photos and articles .

  • Pat June 3, 2018

    As a full time working mother, this post truly warmed my heart. I am glad that you now have more time for the things that matter, as you wanted. We chose to downsize from a big home to a smaller home last year and the space the change has created in my life (and my head) has been amazing. We have a simpler lifestyle now with far less “stuff” and I feel I can be more present for my 12 year old son (as well as my older son who is away at college). Finally, I disagree that the video has nothing to do with taking your kid to school – it clearly shows the love and bond between you as mother and daughter.

    • Alison Gary June 4, 2018

      Thanks Pat! We live in a relatively small home, and it really is a mind shift. Less stuff, more closeness, fewer chores, more connection. If we won the lottery that we never play (LOL) I don’t think we’d move, just upgrade bits of what we already have!

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