This week I walked away from a really great side hustle.
This was not an easy decision to make. Not at all.
Did I enjoy it? YES!
Did it earn me good money? ABSOLUTELY!
Do we need the money? We can survive happily without it, but the money definitely HELPED!
Then WHY did I quit????
Let me back track for a bit.
Four years ago my husband lost his job. It was a devastating, punch in the gut, slap in the face, completely unexpected thing to happen. (This is a whole other story for a different day, but the experience shook me.) I spiraled into a depression and struggled every day to get out of bed. I was constantly worried. Worried about our future and about our present. Worried about how we were going to raise three kids on…..virtually nothing at the time. This experience has shaped a lot of my views on money that I have today.
Long story short, after 7 long months my husband was able to find another job (and even a better job). This released a huge burden from my shoulders, but I still felt guarded and uncertain. (I even tried keeping good news from everyone I knew because I was worried about letting that guard down and didn’t want to celebrate).
I decided then and there that I was not going to leave our financial well being in the fate of someone elses hands. I was going to begin actively contributing to the family finances.
I am a stay at home mom, and that has always been my first and most important job. I take this job very seriously and knew I needed to keep it as a priority.
That was when I settled on teaching piano lessons out of my home. Now, I KNOW that this little side hustle really wasn’t going to make a HUGE impact on our financial situation. But, in my fragile worried little mind, it was calming to me to at least be doing SOMETHING to make a little money.
I started out small and only accepted a few students. I found that I LOVED it! I loved teaching and spending time with my students. I also found that I loved earning money; the paycheck was small, but after over a decade of not earning money it felt really good to be having a little personal income. I began accepting more students and grew my waiting list.
This went on for three years and I was ecstatic. I was making money! I was contributing to our family finances! I had my own business! YET, I was STILL doing what I loved most and being a SAHM. It really felt like the perfect opportunity for me.
And it was perfect…until it just wasn’t anymore.
During my third and final year teaching piano I began to struggle finding the right balance between my job as a full time mom, and my side hustle as a piano teacher. My kids were spending more and more time watching TV and arguing with each other (I would talk to my kids about this again and again, but it was difficult to enforce while I was with a student), and I began to feel myself slipping. I didn’t like that I wasn’t giving 120% to my job as a SAHM anymore. I didn’t like that I wasn’t being there for my kids in those moments I NEEDED to be there. I knew at this point that I was going to have to give something up; I was going to have to learn to be okay with not being the mom I wanted to be, or I needed give up my piano teaching side hustle.
I chose to give up the side hustle.
Now, I am all for side hustles. I am all for making more money. I am all for teaching your kids responsibility and independence from you. I just realized that the piano teaching wasn’t the right fit for ME personally.
We all have our own ideas of our lives and the type of person who we want to be….and neither way is right or wrong. My kids spend a lot of time at school, and at friends houses and at extra curricular activities and I decided that during those few precious hours when they were at home and awake I wanted to be present for THEM. I wanted to be able to drive them to the places they needed to be, referee their fighting, and spend quality time together.
This doesn’t mean I am giving up the side hustle. I still feel very strongly that I would like to contribute to our family finances. It really helps calm my anxiety to make a little bit of money. I just need to find a better fit for me and for my family. Something during the day hours when the kids are at school, or the night hours when they are asleep.
I talk a lot about saving money and making money and sacrificing to have more money. And I agree with all of that 100%. However, never lose focus on the things that matter MOST. What matters most will be different to every person. Spend wisely. Budget. Side hustle. Do what you need to do by all means. But, never do it at the sacrifice of the relationships that are very most important to you. Money comes and go. Things wear out and break. Relationships are what matters. I will NEVER get back these years with my kids. They are growing (to to fast!) and before I know it I will have all the time in the world to work as hard as I want. But. For now, for me. I am choosing my kids and my family over the side hustle…..and I know I will never regret it.