From big corporation management to stay at home mom and business owner
I think it is time to tell my story about how I got here…
Well first I started working when I turned 15 at my first and only full time job. I have worked at other places thru out time but have always had that same full time job for a big company (no I will not say where). For the people that know me don’t say either because that is not fair to them.
I worked that same job for the past almost 14 years. When I went off to college I continued that job and the first summer break I had I moved in to a management position with them and over the past 10 years I have moved up in the ranks to upper management positions. 5 years ago I had my daughter and never would have thought I could handle staying at home ( I would go crazy with nothing to do but take care of my daughter). At this time I was all about what women could do in the business world and thought why would anyone really want to stay at home. We’ll since having my daughter I have went thru some great changes in who I am and what I really believe.
Yes women can do what men do but we can do more. We can hold down a 50 hour a week job and handle our children. However it will wear you down and drain you. Trust me that exact thing happened to me. My husband does a lot more that the average husband he does all of the cooking in our house and some of the cleaning. When it comes to my daughter and our dog he plays with them. I am not going to paint you a picture of a perfect life because I don’t have that we are not perfect and we struggle daily. However I am going to say I have gotten a great deal. I have a husband that supports me. When I have been hurting so bad I didn’t want to move he has been there to do what I need and when I recent let my job go due to my poor health he told me not to worry. I am not the kind of person that can make rash decisions and just go with the flow. I MUST know and plan out how everything is going to happen and if I can’t then I won’t go thru with it.
For me trying to be the person I was before my pregnancy and never backing off with my job and ambitions I slowly started to notice things. One I was almost always so tired I came home from work and couldn’t do anything but sit or lay down. A few years ago I started to notice other things too my back and shoulders always hurt, and when I had my period it was always so painful. There were even a few times I was in so much pain I could not get up and if I did my legs wouldn’t even cary me. This was scary there was even one time that my husband had to carry me out of the house to the car and drive me to the hospital in the middle of the night. The hospital had no idea what was going on and I was sent to several doctors yet no one had a real answer for what was happening to me. I still don’t know the full answer myself. Incase you don’t know I am not even 30 yet and my body is going thru so much and I can find no answers.
In the last year I have also started to have headaches on top of all of the other things that have been going on with me. When I say headaches I mean it felt like someone had taken a rod and shoved it in the base of my skull and it came out just above my left eye. At first I though these were caused by my wisdom teeth that a embedded in my gums and don’t have the room to come up because my teeth hurt and everything else in that side of my head and neck. The funny thing is I went to the dentist and there aren’t even any wisdom teeth on that side I have some on the other side and they can be removed but that was not the cause of my headaches.
Over the last year I have been to the doctor and have been on many medications and they help for a little while but not for long. I started going to a chiropractor and the headaches would go away for a short time (maybe a few days) then they were back and usually uglier that they were before. I was in so much pain during this time I couldn’t focus, sleep, and most of the time couldn’t even eat. I wanted answers and there seemed to be none. My regular doctor suggested that I was having these headaches due to the tension in my neck, sholders, and back (ultimately they were due to stress). Honestly I didn’t want to believe or see it. They got worse where there were times I couldn’t drive and could hardly stand I got to where I was missing days at work it was so bad. If I had to be at work since I was in a management position I was no good to the people there and this began to cause problems.
In October I was told that there was another person from another store that visited ours and that it was stated that I was not doing what I was supposed to do. Honestly this made me angry on that particular day I was in so much pain from my headaches that I was dizzy and sick to my stomach. I couldn’t do what I had done before and take my medicine because all I would do is get sick and it wouldn’t work. Why would anyone think they had the right to expect someone about to pass out to be up and working was beyond me. After a few discussions with my bosses it was decided that maybe I should take some time and try to see if I could get better since they thought that my health issues had caused me to be unreliable. This also made me angry I am a person that wants to work and due to my health my job is stating that I am unreliable. Haven’t I worked here for 14 years and been here even when I am sick. Haven’t I been here and taken a medication only ment for night time so that I can stay because there is no one else able to do it. On these occasions I have had to have my husband pick me up and drive me home because I can’t drive with the medication in me. Is this not what we would consider a committed employee? I couldn’t believe it. This wasn’t the way the company I worked for treated their employees. Was it?
I worked for a company that was willing to pay me to be out of work until I was better. Which is great however this process was so frustrating I couldn’t believe it. It took almost 3 weeks for them to aprove me for 5 weeks of short term disability and I called everyday and was told a different story every day. I went without pay for 2 weeks of that and during this time I realized that my family could make it without my pay. As I said before this time was hard for me because I had no control and no idea what would happen they still had the option to not aprove me for paid leave. Finally I was a proved for 5 weeks which by this time were almost up and if I wanted to extend it I would need to file again with paperwork signed by my nuroligist whom I had just seen prior to my aprove and wouldn’t be going back until January. My insurance had hit the point where I was having to pay a good portion of the bill to be seen. The company I would for was nice enough to give us a health care spending account but that was gone and now I had to pay the deductible. I could not really afford to see the nuroligist again just to have her sign paperwork for me to maybe get an extension on my leave. So on the 17th of November I was supposed to return to work with a doctors release since that is the policy. I was also supposed to see my regular doctor the same day.
The week before my leave was scheduled to end I received a message wanting to know when I would be returning to work. Since at that point I didn’t know I told my boss that. I knew I was scheduled to return on the 17th but that that was the same day I was supposed to see my doctor so with out her release I didn’t know.
During the time that I was not working I was seeing several doctors along with a physical therapist to try and solve the tension issues I was having. I didn’t want to believe that the real reason I was having so many problems was the stress and physical activity I was enduring at my job. Facts don’t lie though slowly I have came from having headaches daily to only every once in awhile and the pain is next nothing. Even though I don’t want to believe it I have realized that I was lying to myself.
When I went to the doctor and told her about how I had been feeling during my time out of work she was happy but knew that I would return to the previous issues if I returned so from there it was decided I would not return to work so that I could get better and learn how to stay better. Ultimate my job was hurting me and I didn’t want to see it.
Since I wouldn’t be returning to work I knew I needed something to keep me busy. I have always loved crafts, knitting, crocheting, and of course reading books. So what was I going to do with myself? My husband helped me out and said why don’t you start your own business? My mom and I had been doing cakes for friends and family for a while now and hoped to eventually get licensed and open our own cake business but we weren’t there yet. Again for me would that cake business be enough? So I started my own business on an etsy site and am happy at this point in my life I don’t have the stress of work and I can still be who I am at home with my daughter. I never thought I could be happy with staying at home but I have realized it is time I care about myself and my health if I don’t do that then I will never be happy or any help to my family.
This is my journey and it is just beginning. I am having so much fun making things and trying new things. In the near future I hope that my mom and I are able to start our cake decorating business and continue to grow my handmade business. Wish me luck and follow us to be a part of our journey.
If you would like to visit my etsy shop see it here http://jamleewicks.etsy.com
We are also on facebook at http://facebook.com/jamleewicks