More Than Money

Sometimes as the full-time at home parent I wish I could contribute more financially to our situation.

Recently an opportunity to do just that opened up. A friend I’d painted several houses with in the past, called and offered me the opportunity to paint a house with him.

Without much thought I jumped at the chance. Mainly because I wanted to earn some extra money for our family, but also for a variety of completely selfish reasons too. If I took the job I would be out of the house. Hours of my day would be spent away from screaming children. For a few glorious days the background noises of my life wouldn’t be Curious George cartoons, talking Elmo toys and the annoying Thomas the Tank song my son’s trains play every time he touches them.

After the logistics of schedule juggling, asking favors from friends and grandparents, throwing sub par meals on the table and basically seeing my wife long enough to high-five her as she walked in the door from work and I walked out the door to paint, we made it work.

Little did I know before I arrived, but the house we were painting belonged to a young family, WITH A TODDLER. Yes a screaming toddler that didn’t like meal time, had a hard time going to bed, and played with all the same damn toys we have. It was no escape from my house, it was more like being transplanted into a parallel universe!

The night before the last day we were scheduled to paint, my daughter came in to our room at 4 am to tell me she needed to throw up. Since my wife was about to work a 24 hr shift, I got up with our daughter and sat with her as she got sick at 4:30…5:30…and 6:30am. She was supposed to do an activity with her siblings and her Mimi the next day, which was how I was going to finish my painting job. But how was I going to work around this situation now? Suddenly I was having flashbacks to my final year of teaching…the year I missed a total of 25 days of teaching because of reasons EXACTLY LIKE THIS!

Eventually everything worked itself out. Our daughter started feeling well enough to do their activity. I was able to finish my house painting project. I collected my check and it was all over. But, in the end was it worth it? Probably not. But it was a nice reminder WHY I DO, WHAT I DO in the first place. It was good to be reminded that my staying home is best for me and my sanity and for our family.

What’s next for me? I’m looking forward to getting back into our usual routine. Cooking decent meals for my family, enjoying playing with my kids and spending time with my wife when she gets off work in the evenings. It was good to be reminded that financially isn’t the only way to make a contribution to my family.


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