10 December 2013

Welcome to the December 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Change . . .
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories and wisdom about life changes.

Sometimes, on this journey through life, we head off down a path not knowing where it is going to head, this can be both exciting and scary at the same time.  Five years ago this was us, it was scary and exciting, my husband gave up well paid employment to become self employed, just to add to the pressure at around the same time I became pregnant with our second child.  The first four years were great with a steady flow of work, then around a year ago it steadily started to dry up to, well, virtually nothing.  When a job was advertised at the company he had been freelancing for it seemed like a proposition that we couldn't ignore, but we were hesitant.

When you are self employed you need to spend time looking for work, selling yourself, it can take a while for the work to come to you.  My husband felt he was not someone who could sell himself and waiting for the work to come to us was not happening, you can't live on fresh air, we did need a steadier income.  But self employment had defined who we were as a family for the previous five years what would that mean for us.  We loved the flexibility, we could do things as a family on any day of the week if we wanted to, we could plan our holidays as and when we desired, we could visit family for extended periods rather than just a weekend, but none of this is possible with no income.

We are a home educating family, we had a rhythm to our week which had slowly fallen apart over the last year as my husbands work became erratic and I was never sure whether he would be in the house or not.  Trying to plan our time at home became so difficult that I simply stopped and I felt like we were drifting like flotsam on the tide with no direction or aim.  We still had days out with groups, I always had something to look forward to and not having it was putting a strain on our relationship, I was working harder to keep it going.  I am so grateful that during all that time we never had any money worries, we had plenty of savings which helped us through the months, I think that strain may have pushed us over the edge.

So he applied for the job, got it and in September returned to being an employee, exactly five years since he had quit.  The few weeks before I was both excited and anxious.  Excited because I could bring back our home rhythms, anxious as to how it would change my husband and our relationship and also how the children would cope with it too, all they could remember was him being self employed and all that that entailed.  The first few weeks were hard everything was so different for the children, it took them a while to get used to daddy being out of the house for the same number of hours on the same days each week.  The week had a new rhythm, daddy at work for five days and at home for two.  I slowly introduced a new rhythm at home building up over the weeks adding new ideas and activities as the days and months went on.  I felt that it was important to take this slowly as too many changes at once could be too much.

Then five weeks into this new journey it had a big test, my father in law who had been ill for some time took a turn for the worse, we got a call late one night to say he may not make it through the night.  So after doing a full days work my husband set off on a four hour journey, late at night.  He phoned a colleague to explain what he wanted to do and by the next morning his employer had told him to take all the time off he needed.  This was so reassuring for both of us, it had been one of our worries knowing that this could happen at any time with the condition my father in law had, to know that his employer was totally supportive.

We are a few months into this journey now and are feeling very settled.  The children have got use to which days are daddy days.  The house feels much calmer.  Our rhythm is flowing gently along.  A few years ago I would have resisted such a change but it has been such a positive move forward for us at this time.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by afternoon December 10 with all the carnival links.)
  • Mature StudentAmber Strocel is embarking on a new adventure in 2014, by returning to a space in her life she thought she'd left behind - that of being a university student.
  • And then there were four — Jillian at Mommyhood learned how quickly love can grow when welcoming a second child to the family.
  • Handling Change As A Mother (And Why That Takes Things To A Different Level) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she helps her young daughter navigate change and why it is so important, as a mother, to gauge her own reactions to change.
  • Without Dad-One Year Later — Erica at ChildOrganics shares how her life has changed one year after losing her husband suddenly.
  • Family Ties — Lori at TEACH through Love realized that her most significant, most painful wound paved the way for her to share her greatest gift.
  • Rootless — After Dionna @ Code Name: Mama's parents packed up their home and moved to Florida this fall, she is feeling rootless and restless.
  • A Letter to My Mama Self in the Swirl of Change — Sheila Pai of A Living Family shares a letter she wrote to herself to capture and remember the incredible changes from the year, and invites you to do the same and share!
  • Junctionssustainablemum explains how her family has dealt with a complete change of direction this year.
  • Planning, Parenting, and Perfection — Becca at The Earthling's Handbook explains how most of the plans she made for her adult life have worked out differently than she planned, but she's ended up getting a lot of what she really wanted.
  • Why First Grade Means Growing Up... for Both Me and My Daughter — Donna at Eco-Mothering discovers that her daughter's transition into first grade is harder as a parent.
  • First Year of Mothering — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot reflects on the quiet change that took her by surprise this year.
  • Building the Community YOu Desire — A recent move has Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children working toward setting up a new support network.
  • Slowing down in 2013 — A car fire and a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome made 2013 a very different year than the one Crunchy Con Mommy and family were expecting!
  • The Seven Year Cycle — After 7 intense years of baking, birthing and breastfeeding 6 kids, Zoie at TouchstoneZ wonders, "Will I be enough for what comes next?"
  • Rebirth — Kellie of Our Mindful Life has found that each of her births leaves her a different person.
  • When a Hobby Becomes a Business — This year, new doors opened for That Mama Gretchen's hobby of writing and blogging - it has turned into a side business. She's sharing a bit about her journey and some helpful tips in case you're interested in following the same path.
  • 5 Tips for Embracing a Big Change in Your Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about a big change in her family and shares tips that have always helped her family embrace changes.
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes — Ana at Panda & Ananaso ruminates on how having a child changed her priorities.
  • Homeostasis — Lauren at Hobo Mama is finding that even as elements shift in her life — in cosleeping, homeschooling, breastfeeding, & more — they mostly remain very familiar.
  • Sally go round the sun — A new baby brings joy and unexpected sadness for Douglas at Friendly Encounters, as she is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
  • Embrace it — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen muses about the changes in her family this year and how she can embrace them . . . as best she can anyway.
  • Big Change; Seamless but Big — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how one of the biggest changes of her life was also a seamless transition.
  • Celebrating Change — Change feeds Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep's soul. And all the work that seemed like monotonous nothingness finally pays off in a clear way.


  1. Smooth transitions are such a blessing, yes? I wish your family peace with your FIL's illness!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and blessings to you and your family. I've subscribed to your blog and look forward to following you on your journey. Aloha, Lori

  3. Career transitions are tough! I'm starting down the self-employment road now (graphic designer), and I love the freedom and flexibility, but the worry about whether there will be enough work/clients is something I grapple with. Thanks for sharing!

    Donna @ Eco-Mothering.com

    1. I wish you well with your new venture, I do think you have to be a particular type of person to really succeed at being self employed so hope you do!

  4. Sounds like that year of unknown was incredibly hard where you now are finding some stability and peace in the steady rhythm of 5 on and 2 off. "Settling in" sounds like some relief. I hope you continue to settle in deeply, as a family, to peace, connection, rhythm and flow. As all those flow in you will certainly begin to deepen trust and joy in your relationship and family. Roots. Feels good. Congrats on making through some hard times and taking a moment to acknowledge and share with us a glimpse of your strength.

  5. What a big change! I'm glad to hear it's given you all the renewed rhythm you need. I find that's important to us as well. Even self-employed still and homeschooling and naturally lackadaisical, we've found it helpful to figure out our family's rhythm and enjoy the structure and stability it gives our lives. Thanks for sharing!


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