Taking the Leap
When I was little -- maybe 1st or 2nd grade, I loved to play "school" in our playroom in the basement. I used to come home from a day at elementary school and the first thing I wanted to do was teach everything to my little brother.
For as long as I can remember, I've had a passion for education. With the exception of a minor detour in high school (I thought I wanted to be a journalist), all I could think about was working with little people. I wanted to see the "ah ha!" moments when they finally understood a concept. I wanted to have a positive impact on their lives. And that's exactly the path I took-- through college, graduate school, and even six years as a 2nd and 3rd grade teacher at a Title I school in Northern Virginia.
My interest in helping other people never subsided, but my career path went a different direction after I got married over five years ago. My husband and I tied the knot in October 2014 and by the next Spring, we had made the decision to move across the country to Denver. Shortly there after, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. (Ask me how our VA relatives felt about that! Gasp!) I was about four months pregnant when we moved into our new home. I had been looking for a full time job for months, and with no luck. Sure, there were upper elementary job openings, but nothing for 2nd or 3rd grade.
I finally decided to work as a kindergarten paraprofessional (or "kindergarten teacher assistant", as some of us might know the role). I can't even put into words how much I loved this job. I taught specials each day, led reading and math groups, and had absolutely no papers to bring home and grade each night. It was a teacher's dream gig. But pregnancy is tough and when I was within a couple weeks of my due date, I made the difficult decision to walk away from my job and those sweet, little five and six year old faces. I wanted to go back after maternity leave -- I truly did. But when you start with all the math equations (income minus child care...minus gas money...minus...minus...), it just didn't make sense to leave our newborn baby boy for a job that simply didn't pay enough.
When little man was about one, I decided to give an MLM business a try. I sold jewelry to anyone who would host an online party. My entire family and close friends have a sparkly little collection of accessories stashed away in their bedrooms, thanks to yours truly. Over time, however, the job lost its luster. It just wasn't for me.
Shortly after our son turned one, we decided to try for another baby. We were incredibly fortunate and got pregnant relatively quickly. After baby girl was born, I knew I had to make another attempt at finding part time work. This time, it was retail. I worked a handful of hours each week at a home decor store. This time, it just wasn't fulfilling enough to keep the mom guilt at bay. As I was looking for candles and pillows in the stock room, the thoughts would come flooding in--
"Are they okay?"
"I hope the kids both fell asleep okay!"
"Maybe I should call and check on them"
"What am I doing here?"
"Does this even pay enough to make up for the fact that I'm away from my family?"
Finally, a friend of mine (and fellow virtual assistant) gave me the nudge that I needed. She reminded me of all the skills I had from teaching that would so easily transfer to a virtual assistant business. She taught me enough virtual skills for me to feel comfortable making the leap and before I knew it, I was getting myself registered as an LLC, setting up a website, networking on social media, and booking my first client. Sure, there were lots of other odds and ends tucked in between, but I made the leap. I dove head first into the deep end...and I have absolutely no regrets.
I am my own boss.
I make my own hours.
I choose my own clients.
I stay home with my two kiddos and will watch them grow up.
I have a career I am passionate about again.