11/20/2013 05:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Necessary Change for Happiness

Quite a few weeks ago, I woke up and realized something. I'm not sure how it happened really, but I was unhappy. At first I wasn't sure exactly what was bringing me down, so I took some time to really assess what was going on. I felt like the life was slowly getting sucked out of me. It was such a gradual happening, that I guess I was even lucky that I realized it at all. After some thought, I came to the conclusion that there were a few contributing factors.

First off was my job. I work as a graphic designer in the funeral industry. I was starting to find it very stressful and emotionally draining. I would come home from work and found that I just had nothing left to give to my family. I lacked patience and was just missing that enthusiasm I once had with my kids. I really thought that I was going to work in this position for the long haul, so I have to admit that my sudden realization came as a bit of a shock to myself. My job was no longer a good fit for myself or my family.

2013-11-18-baking.jpg  Beyond that, our schedules were taking a huge toll on all of us. I was working long hours every other weekend, and afternoon shifts. My husband works 12-hour shifts and also works weekends, both days and nights. I found that I had become a full-time scheduler. I felt I was always on edge and worried that I was forgetting to book a babysitter or make sure someone was at the bus stop. I could never sign the kids up for sport leagues that would run on the weekends. I was always declining birthday parties and unable to attend family events. I felt like our schedules had taken over and I was completely drained by them. I was never finding the time to do the things I love like running and baking, and I was becoming stressed that I had no time for myself.

So I decided to do something about it. If there is one thing that I've learned from working in the funeral industry, it's that life is short. I decided to actively seek freelance design work that I could do from home. In less than two months I had enough clients and contract work to meet our budget. It felt so good to take control and change my life. I quit my job. Yup... you heard me. It was hard to leave a secure job for often unpredictable freelance work, but I gave my two weeks notice. I started making time for myself, even when it meant saying no to my kids. It's so easy to get sucked into the mommy guilt that comes with taking time for yourself. But I have prevailed. I now run three times a week again, am in a curling league and even make it out once a week with friends for a beer or two.

I have made the huge leap towards happiness. The choices I have made and the actions I have taken in the last few months, I hope will be the start of a new path with a positive direction. I'm really not sure when I fell off track, but I am so happy to be back to doing what is right for me. So, to all you moms out there who feel like the life has been sucked out of you -- don't wait to do something about it. We have all heard the saying, "lead by example." I know that I want nothing more than for my kids to be happy. I feel so good that I had enough sense to change my life so that I could be an example for my kids, and show them how important it is to be happy.