I am the primary caregiver to my now four and a half year old daughter and fast approaching two year old son.
My story begins during the economic downturn of late 2008 in which I was laid off from my firm in Manhattan as an architectural designer.
I have to admit that the news came as a welcomed surprise as I had been desperately trying to figure a way to somehow stay at home and spend more time with my recently born daughter. When she was born, the thought of being away from home for so many hours really took a toll on me. So much so that I went to a reduced part time schedule in my office to three day a week work weeks. This new schedule provided some improvement, but the desire to be home and still produce income was still tearing at me. Needless to say, the news of being let go was a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to stay home and provided me with that “kick in the butt” I needed to make something happen in order to fulfill my desires. During the commute home, I analyzed my situation and realized that leaving immediately would be the best financial decision given the present circumstances. My wife had only returned back to work three days prior to me receiving notice and eliminating the new childcare expense seemed to make the most sense. That was a Thursday. By Friday I was completely moved out of the office and on Monday my new life began.
I would be lying if I didn’t say that I felt a bit depressed those first few days, but the fact that I was actually spending time with my daughter more than provided the adequate comfort given the situation. A few days passed and low and behold a call came in for potential work. Being I had already been doing some moonlighting on the side, the thought of working from home was not too foreign. I took on a new project and then another and here we are in late 2012 with only a few weeks until 2013. Who would have thought this was possible. Not I, that’s for sure. I thought maybe six weeks, two months tops.
During this journey, I have to say there have been times when I could just run away screaming. For the most part though, being the primary caregiver to my children has been one of the most fulfilling jobs I have ever done. Being with them and not missing a beat has really made me appreciate them and appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given.
Don’t get me wrong, the whole caregiving and working thing is extremely challenging, but this is where I would like to shed a bit of light as to a running thought I’ve had for some time now. Looking at where I am now and at my past, it appears that I had been preparing for this role for quite some time.
Being the only son of uneducated migrant workers, my role early on was to organize and understand the goings on of a household way before my peers. This situation only magnified as I got older and was able to take on more responsibility. I joined the Marine Corps right after graduating high school. Needless to say, this experience honed my organizational and time management skills, to say the least, including many other aspects of my life. After serving in the military, I went on to college and majored in architecture. If you know any architects, you will know that we are the most anal retentive people around with a keen sense of organization, time management, and order. The creative side allows for both Type A and Type B personalities to come out with equal measure. The reason I mention all this is because it seems that all along, I have been preparing to take on the role of primary caregiver.
The experiences and traits learned along the way have enabled me to be very tuned in to running a household while taking care of my children and throwing in a work from home scenario for kicks. In the end, it appears my story did not begin with the economic downturn of late 2008 but really began much earlier, before I even knew what my story would be. What I take away from this is that life is always preparing you for things that you may not even be aware you will be doing sometime in the future. I only wonder where my journey leads.
In closing, I would like to quote Oprah Winfrey in saying “Nothing about my life is lucky. Nothing. A lot of grace, a lot of blessings, a lot of divine order, but I don’t believe in luck. For me, luck is preparation meeting the moment of opportunity. There is no luck without you being prepared to handle that moment of opportunity. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for the moment that is to come.”
About the author
Frank Benavides resides in Huntington, NY with his wife, four and a half year old daughter, and two year old son. Frank is the primary caregiver and works as an architectural designer. To view his work or learn more, visit www.poundesignstudio.com