Are you ready?
Ever since we announced the pregnancy last Christmas, I’ve been asked that question countless times. I’m not sure why, but I keep answering no.
I’ve been off of work since the beginning of the month, committed to taking at least six weeks off to get things done around the house and spend time with my new family. With the time I’ve had so far, I’ve come to realize that I really should be answering yes when people ask me, “Are you ready?”
The entire situation is still pretty surreal to me. Especially since the due date has come and gone and we’re still waiting for signs of labor. I know won’t be ready for the lack of sleep and the myriad of things I will need to do to help care for a newborn, but I know I’m ready to be a father.
I know because I know what it means to sacrifice.
I left behind an opportunity to become a financial advisor (a job I idealized for quite some time) because of the uncertainty in the economy. I figured it would be better to put my head down at the stable job I have now until I can figure out how to make more money on my own. Plus, a stable job = a stable paycheck. Something certainly necessary when it comes to raising kids.
I stepped up to the plate when my parents needed help. For the past 4 years, I have been caring for the welfare of my mom and dad. Managing their finances, medical care, and business has been quite the strain on my free time.
I chose to forgo my annual vacation in order to save my paid time off. California allows up to 12 weeks off for baby bonding time. The state also pays partial pay for up to 6 weeks of that time if employers participate in the State Disability Insurance fund. My employer does not. They must allow me the time off for the baby bonding time (paternity leave), but do not provide any paid benefits. In order to draw any income, I have to use my paid time off, which includes sick hours, compensation time, and vacation. Because of my discipline in the use of the time over the past few years, I have been able to save up enough time to get paid during the entire 12 weeks.
Even though I can stay at home and get paid for 12 weeks, I have decided to only use half the time. That way, I can go back to work and log some overtime hours to supplement our income. I think it’s more important for my wife to stay home as long as she possibly can. If I can do anything to help her with that, I will.
I know because I know what it means to work hard.
I officially started my business in December of last year. Trying to run a part-time business while working full-time is tough! I haven’t really made enough money to write home about, but the experience has really helped me refine what I want to do. My entrepreneurial spirit has been reignited and I really feel like I can take my ideas past the stage where I’m just talking about them. My goal is to make enough money working on my own so I can start scaling down how many hours I spend at work. Hopefully, in five years I’ll be ready to transition completely out of my work and be my own boss.
During the last week of June, I spent my weekends off of work working day and night to finish the work on the nursery. When I identify something that needs to be done, I work with extreme focus and tenacity to ensure it gets done on time. For a moment, it felt like a hopeless project – given the trouble I had with the flooring. But nevertheless, I was able to get it done and even got the furniture set up.
I know because I know what it means to love.
You know. The kind that is unconditional. I’ve never been closer to my wife than I am now. I can’t wait to meet my daughter so I can share the same love with her. Just thinking about her gets me excited!
So, the next time someone asks me if I’m ready. The answer is yes. A resounding, confident, yes.