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?