For over five years, I’ve made a living writing web content. When I started, I was homeschooling my children, and I needed a flexible career I could manage during independent work times or after school.
Three years ago, we finally enrolled both of them in public school, but my days were still busy caring for them. My son has autism with behavioral and anxiety challenges. I never knew when I’d need to pick him up from school early. I also had to be available for numerous therapy appointments, snow and vacation days, and other emergencies.
Thankfully, my son has finally turned a corner this year. He’s mainstreamed at our local middle school, and he rarely has a problem that requires me to pick him up early. I still have multiple therapy appointments each month for him, but overall I have more free time during the day.
That’s why I decided to branch out this year and try my hand at subbing for classroom/office aides in our local school district. I have a Christian Education degree and have worked with children of all ages in various educational settings. And of course, I did and continue to teach my own kids at home. Several friends sub, and they shared information about how to get started and their positive experiences.
I took the plunge and applied. I filled out all the required paperwork and clearances and attended job training. I even have an official badge! I also applied to sub for the IU-13 and Substitute Teacher Services. I can still write in my free time, but I can also begin a fulfilling career in a classroom.
My first job was supposed to be Monday morning at the elementary school my son attended last year. However, a sock changed everything.
You see, because of his autism, he has sensory issues. If his clothes feel the least bit tight, scratchy or irritating, he feels anxious and won’t wear them. We haven’t had any clothing issues for months, but he sure did have an issue this morning before school!
For some reason, his socks didn’t feel right. He has successfully worn these same socks for months with no issue, but suddenly they feel weird. He complained about the crease and how it felt on his feet and in his shoes. In the past, he simply switched the uncomfortable sock to the other foot where the crease is not an issue, but today, no tricks he tried worked.
As he tried on sock after sock and realized it was uncomfortable, he simply tossed it across the room. And his anxiety grew as he realized he would be late for the bus if he didn’t find socks soon.
My son’s anxiety attack lasted about 15 minutes. He screamed, shouted, cursed and cried. It wasn’t until the very last possible second that he finally choose a pair of socks to wear and rushed out the door to the bus.
Today’s sock incident used to happen every day. I’m incredibly grateful that it only happens rarely now! However, because he does still have anxiety challenges, I decided to reevaluate my career.
Most substitute jobs require me to leave for work around 7 AM so I arrive at the school by 7:10 and have time to find the classroom and get my duty assignments before the students arrive. My kids don’t leave on the bus until 7:06.
Those six minutes are short and long.
What happens if he has another sock incident? I won’t be home to coach him through it. And since my husband leaves for work at 6:30, he’s unavailable. I also committed not to give my daughter, who’s two years older than him, the responsibility of parenting him.
After my children successfully walked out the door today, I brewed a cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths and spent time in prayer and soul-searching. For the sake of my children, I decided to pass on any jobs that require me to leave in the morning before they do. I’m disappointed, but it simply doesn’t make good sense for me to put my career before my kids at this point.
Which brings me to how a sock changed my career.
Because of this incident, I have decided to branch out and find new writing clients. I even began outlining several ebooks (topics to be announced!). I’m exploring other options, too, that allow me to be home for my kids and earn a living.
I know that for me, this is the right decision. And I trust that God will bring me opportunities and courage to search for new opportunities.He has always been faithful and will continue to be faithful in providing all our needs!
And I’m thankful for socks, too.