Un-hirable Mom

I’m struggling, ya’ll. (I openly admitted to not being able to pull off ya’ll awhile back, but damn it, I’m no quitter.) Having never finished college, (a story for another day) I have been a stay-at-home parent for 13 years. My youngest little boy went to kindergarten this year and I found myself in a weird place. Puttering around the quiet house, I found myself lost and didn’t easily adjust; I no longer had to watch the clock for preschool pick up or try to fill the afternoons until the other boys got home from school. Over time, I got used to the idea of school days being time for me and enjoyed coming and going on a whim. It was a freedom I had yet to experience as an adult, since my first baby was born when I was 22.

But honestly, I haven’t really been content. I started looking for jobs but am very limited in when I can work; my husband travels for business and trips can come up with little notice at times. Last year, I worked a part time job – easy work as a receptionist, 5 nights a week for Volkswagen. Was it what I envisioned myself doing in my life? No, but the extra money was nice and I liked having a job. It worked for about 5 months, when I finally had to quit – my husband was going to be away 4 out of 6 weeks and I would be paying the babysitter my hourly wage. That’s hardly worth it when you consider that our kids would be without both parents 5 nights a week. Even now, by the time I got the kids to and from school everyday, I’d really only be able to work part-time … unless I can find a job that will allow me to work from home. When you consider the above, along with the fact that I have hardly worked in 13 years AND have no college degree, where does that leave me? Under-qualified to start any real “career” and stuck finding jobs that can work within my narrow availability. Oh and by the way, I probably need summers off (again, unless I can work from home) because I won’t make enough money to put 3 kids in summer camp. HIRE ME, won’t you?!

Much of this is undoubtedly fueled by the many rejections I’ve been getting while trying to re-enter the work force. I love social media – LOVE it. And damn it, I’m really good at it. So I’ve been scouring job listings for positions in social media marketing. There are a good amount, too! Unfortunately, most require a bachelor’s degree or at least 2 – 4 years experience in the field. Most of the time, I still send along my resume and hope for the best. Yesterday was particularly tough, as I received this email from a very promising prospect that was initially interested in me:

“Hi Lauren, At this point I have a group of really good candidates that I’m interviewing first. I will keep your resume on file should things change. Best of luck.”

Which of course, I took to mean, “You suck. The end.” and I promptly burst into hot, angry tears.

So here I am, almost 35 years old and I am stuck. I stopped everything when we had our first child. We didn’t plan to start our family when we were so young but it happened. And although it was a huge sacrifice and a financial struggle at times, we did it. We made it work. I stayed home with each baby and watched them grow before my very eyes, witnessing every one of their firsts, giving every part of myself fully to them, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doesn’t any of that count for something? It seems so wrong that I am virtually un-hirable, in large part, because of it. Where do I go from here? How do I find my place in this world now that the kids need me less, if no one will give me the chance?