Changes for Jo

Well…Sometimes in life we make the choices and sometimes the choices get made for us.

Back in January I started talking with my kids about cutting back my childcare hours.  I was easily working than more 50 hours a week.  It was too much.  As life was passing me by I kept being sad that I was having great grandma experiences with Carver, Gannon and Georgia but the other grands I wasn’t seeing much-even then, most of experiences with them were childcare related.  I know that is partly because of where everyone lives and, of course, I realize it could never be fair but I don’t think it’s unrealistic for me to see them once a month.

I found myself feeling frustrated when our own kids did come home because I couldn’t get things done that I needed to get done.  I was always feeling behind.  After talking with my kiddos and looking at my finances I had made plans that in the fall I would cut back and only do care Monday through Thursday.  I didn’t announce it but I had plans in place to do that.  I thought having the one extra day to do my “stuff”, I could take a Saturday and enjoy life a life a little including seeing the grandkids that live further away.  My kids were all so happy about my decision.

Well then Covid-19 hit.  I’m high risk and ended up having to close my childcare in an effort to keep me safe.  Here in Iowa schools ended up being closed from March 16th through the end of the school year, I opted to stay closed during that time.

In early May I contacted my doctor and told her that I was wanting her advice.  I wanted to know what she recommended for me.  I told her I was already considering cutting back.  I told her I want to do what is best for me and for my families telling her I can’t keep them hanging.  I asked her, “If I was your mother, what would you recommend?”

She said:  If you were my mom, I would tell you, if you can figure out a way to make a living financially without childcare, I would close your childcare.

She went on to state so much of Covid-19 is still so up in the air.  Will there be a vaccine?  Does a person have immunity?  How many years will pass before we REALLY know the details of this virus?

I talked with my kids…yes, I didn’t want to get it, but I also didn’t want my home and environment to be the spread of it either.  I know kids don’t get it as often but…they can and I didn’t want the responsibility of keeping them all virus free.  So my decision was in part to keep them safe…and in part to keep me safe.

So…I made the decision to close my childcare.  I talked with my childcare families and let them know my decision last week.  

Kalissa got a new job.  Kelli changed hours.  Both of them are on a schedule that they will need childcare on Monday and Friday.  I’ll still be taking care of Kalissa’s boys and Georgia but happily, that’s Grandma care which is completely different.   I can put cribs upstairs in the bedrooms and the kids can nap upstairs.  I can sew in my sewing room while they are napping…it will be so different.  I can put one of them in the car and go do what I want or need to do if I only have one of them.  I’m thrilled with the prospect of being more of the grandma and less of the childcare provider.

The financial part will be okay…perfect, no, but okay.  I think the trade off of time and freedom will be worth the financial considerations.  I paid off the house in March (what perfect timing) so without a mortgage to pay, that really helps.  We’ve not had credit card debit for years so that really helps too.  All in all, I’m a fairly frugal, low maintenance person so I think I can tighten up a bit and make it all work out okay.  Goodness knows I have cross stitch and quilting things I can sew or stitch on for years to come and happily, I like the stuff I have so I’m happy to work on it.  Besides, you all send me stuff too so I’m sure I’ll be in good shape.

I think what pushed me most in making the decision is this…I have thyroid cancer.  I don’t have any idea how many more years I have.  I’m hopeful we’ll get it all figured out, but realistically, I don’t know if they will.  I might only have a few years to live.  I don’t want them to spent on the hamster wheel.  I might not ever get to retire if I don’t do it now.  So I’m committing to a more frugal life and taking my chances and retiring now.  No worries…I’ll still be here blogging.

If I end up needing more money, I can pick up a job that doesn’t involve a lot of people contact down the road and do it a couple days a week.  For now, this is going to be okay.

That’s all the financial part…the people part of this decision is all so much harder.

Oh Sawyer..I miss you too!

Having the kids all here kept me so busy.  Seriously, I believe they are what got me through the first initial really hard month of grief after my husband died last June.  They had me smiling even when I didn’t want to-even when I didn’t think I could. They gave me something to do rather than dwell on grief.  They asked hard questions and got me talking about Kramer’s passing.  Even though they are a needy bunch, they really helped me through it all.

Telling the parents is for sure, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I have wonderful families.  They are the kind of childcare parents that have opened their family and their hearts to me.  I can’t say enough of good things about them.  They were always very respectful of me…kind to me and just great people.

The good news, is that even though they were sad for themselves, they are all happy for me.  What a blessing to have good people in my life.  I so hope we can stay connected.  Once things have calmed with covid, I have offered to do some drop in care for them should their new regular provider need a day off.  I really do still want to be a part of the kids’ lives.  They all have been so special to me.

I feel bad as there is a serious shortage of childcare in our area.  If anyone is looking to start a new job, in home childcare is a real option in this area.

So…here’s to a new chapter in the life of Jo Kramer.  It’s not one I intended on writing.  This chapter is going to still be filled with kids…my grandkids though.  This chapter is going to have cross stitching and quilting and gardening…oh my.  I didn’t think I was ready for this, but now that it’s here, I’m really excited.

39 thoughts on “Changes for Jo”

  1. Jo. I had the same sort of thing happen to me I took a 75% pay cut by taking my pension early hubby had retired and take a 50% pay cut as well. We got lump sums but the kids needed help with buying houses so we gave them lump sums rather than keeping it in the bank. We manage and we go out days like my mum always told me you cut your cloth to suit. Anyway you could always quilt peoples quilts for them.
    Enjoy your retirement

  2. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, I wondered about what this lockdown would do to you’re child care business. In one way I’m sorry you had to change the way you’re doing things. I’m happy you are taking to the retirement part so well. Praying that you will enjoy the free time as you have been.

  3. What a wonderful And exciting future for you. A long life is not a guarantee for any of us so I’m happy to know you have begun to put yourself first for a change. You’ve had a rough year, a complete life change, and now every day you will get to decide how to spend every minute. I remember an old line from a different era of cigarette commercials with the catch phrase….”you’ve come a long way, baby”. Yes you have, Jo! Congratulations

  4. I am such a believer in God’s timing. As you were already considering cutting back, along came quarantine to show how life without full-time child care would be. I think many of us learned lessons during this time of sheltering in place. I’m so happy you can do it, although I know how hard it was to say goodbye to the families. Grandma time is so much different than full time care and you’ll get to spend time with all of them.

    Congratulations on the new schedule, with more family time and more Jo time! You must take care of yourself :-)

  5. I have to tell you this is wonderful news! This will be so good for you and good for your kids and grands! I’m very happy you have not only made this decision but you are happy and at peace with it.
    Love and prayers

  6. Good for you Jo, sometimes you just need to do what you know is right for you, even if it’s really hard. Blessings.

  7. Jo, Having been in the childcare business myself, I know what a hard decision it is to make. Telling it to the parents was the hardest, most emotional thing I had done in a long time. Now I look back and it was the best decision. I know you will feel the same. This “thing” has changed us in so many ways. I am furloughed from my part-time job at the Library (it is open with the FT people doing curbside) with no clear return date, if ever. So here also, looking at the world differently and how I live it. Retirement was not to be for a few years. Enjoy this time, the kids and the grands for it only happens once. I thought when I raised my kids that time moved fast and now with the grands, it is going by in a blink! Keeping you in my heart and thoughts!

  8. I’m happy for you. Family time is precious, even more so as we age. The time you’ll be able to spend being “just” grandma will be important to your grandkids too.

  9. Congratulations!, I know this was a hard decision for you but I’m very happy for you! It will be a different sort of life but if you’re like the rest of us who are retired you’ll wonder how you ever had time to work! Working 50 hours per week you have earned your time of retirement . I only wish we lived close enough to our grandchildren to be part of their daily lives as you are with some of yours. This wasn’t an easy decision but I’m very happy you have made it for yourself.

  10. Hard decisions for sure. You have to make it your life now, it sure sounds like it will be special.

  11. Susan Strasser

    I’m happy for you that the decision has been made and supported by your extended family. Best of luck!

  12. Congratulations on early retirement! From reading your blog, I thought you were enjoying your time off! Yes you will miss the kids and the extra income but the extra time will be worth it! Enjoy the next phase of your life!

  13. Jo, I’m excited for you! More time with the grands! I know this decision was a toughy for you, but I think it will be good. You need to take care of you and in turn you are taking care of others. I’m so happy for you and for what’s in store for you in the future. Take care and sending Hugs!!!

  14. Congratulations, this sounds wonderful. There are many options to make money again, if you choose. Flea markets are fabulous for an outgoing person like you. God will help you.

  15. Mary Ann Mettler


    Remember your fingerprints are on all that you do – thanks for your help in raising a lot of kiddos and now more time with the grandchildren!! Those are win win situations for sure. Somehow I know you will keep busy with all your quilting and cross stitching. Sending love.

  16. Anne Deedrick

    Congratulations Jo on your retirement! So very happy for you to be able to enjoy all of your “Grands” and also some “you” time! You deserve the best. I’m sure you won’t regret a second! Hugs to you, Anne

  17. Someone mentioned doing long arm quilting as a small business. Your work is so pretty. But doing something as a business can be more stressful, I guess.

  18. Good for you. Along with Covid-19, children are being sicken with a newish issue, like toxic syndrome. You would not want to deal with that.
    Enjoy the family and your new freedom. Happy Sewing

  19. How exciting and what new adventures lie ahead. I’m very happy for you and your going to love having some more time with your children and the grandchildren. Its good to stop every once in awhile and take stock of ones life and ask, is this what I want to do? can I make some changes? etc. Very glad your going to give this a try and see if it works for you.

  20. Wow that must have been a tough decision. I also think it’s the best one you made (Other than marrying Kramer). Being a grandma must be very rewarding I’m hoping to get there some day but it hasn’t happened yet. I have loved your blogs on childcare. They have taught me lots. Still prefer the quilting ones (And the home purchase & makeover ones).
    Many blessings to you as you start another chapter.

  21. Stearns Carol

    I’m very happy for you Jo with this decision. I sold my 35 year old design business last year and never looked back. Now you have time to maybe sell a few quilts, develop more patterns and more. You can do it!

  22. Congratulations Jo on making tough decisions with mindfulness. Self-isolation has served you well in “practice retirement”. You’ve had the opportunity to test the waters financially as well as considering your mental health and what Jo really wants out of life. You have served your community selflessly with love and compassion. Cheers to Grandma time :-)

  23. Kairos (Ancient Greek: καιρός) is an Ancient Greek word meaning the right, critical, or opportune moment. The ancient Greeks had two words for time: chronos (χρόνος) and kairos. The former refers to chronological or sequential time, while the latter signifies a proper or opportune time for action.
    Kairos – God’s Timing
    Kairos timing for you has come about through your difficult journey this past year. I’m so happy this is where you have been led. Your childcare parents will be sure to miss you but by offering backup help you will still get to see some of the kiddos. Your grandbabies are going to have such beautiful memories of their grandma babysitting and loving them. I can’t be more happy for you, Jo.

  24. Linda Kay Smith

    I;m sure your decisions weren’t easy to make but it seems you made well-thought-out ones. Best wishes on your retirement and opportunity to do what interests you. Enjoy.

  25. The way you’ve written about this sounds so right, and you sound so happy and at peace. What a blessing these changes will bring. Have fun and just be Jo!

  26. Jo,
    I am relieved. I used to feel exhausted for you just reading about everything you do/did. In my humble opinion you have earned it!

  27. Stephani in N. TX

    Amazing how some of us “stumble” into retirement, and find it’s a very good thing. Time for grands is time well-spent, as is doing the things you like to do. Some time you just have to move on with what life gives you. A few miracles don’t hurt either. I was surprised to think about money I was paying out to stay employed even though I was self-employed. The margin that disappeared in costs made it so we really could afford it. Making adjustments along the way makes us stronger for the next challenges that may yet be ahead. For myself, my husband passed away. I remained in our home, but then was brave enough to sell it and move the distance to be within minutes of my children and grands. Adjusting was easier because I was already practiced in rearranging my life. Hugs.

  28. I was actually wondering when you were going to make that decision. It’s almost as if I could see it coming. I’m happy for you and I believe it’s the right thing for you. It is hard when we have had so much contact with children that we have become attached to though. I had the same thing when I stopped tutoring last year. I miss the kids so much as had taught some of them for years. Luckily, I am close to the moms so I haven’t totally lost the kids!

  29. Congratulations on choosing to put yourself and your family first. I know you’ll love every minute … and you deserve it! Best wishes!

  30. Jacquie Tinch

    “I know kids don’t get it as often but…they can and I didn’t want the responsibility of keeping them all virus free. ”
    You have definitely made the right decision because the belief that children don’t get Covid-19 as often has now been proved false by a large survey in the UK, testing for antibodies in the blood. Children actually get it (nearly?) as often as adults but because their bodies cope with it and don’t show much in the way of symptoms, it had been believed that they just don’t catch it.
    There is now much research going on to see how much they are responsible for the spread of the virus – currently there is a theory that it is possibly less than adults simply because it doesn’t make many of them cough but if they’ve got it, there is always the potential for them to pass it to you, and among themselves which also means their silent infection can pass to their parents and grandparents.
    This is a hot topic in the UK at the moment, with schools reopening for some age groups in the next few weeks IF conditions have improved enough.

  31. Angie in SoCal

    I’m happy for you, Jo. My greatest joy in retirement is all the time I can spend with my grands. So it will be for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top