I am again a stay-at-home mom. I must point out that this is not by choice – I LOVED my last job in Germany and hated leaving. Alas, military life and moving forced my hand for me. I have been job searching since about 2 weeks after Andy left, regardless of the fact that I said I would wait 6 months, and I have only had one job offer (but I turned it down for the low pay/cost of daycare ratio). I’m going to say something that will divide mothers around the country, so brace yourself: I really do not like being a stay-at-home mom.
*BOO!!! You are so lucky! Don’t you know how much I would kill to be at home? Boo!!!*
I improvised for some opinions above. Now let me explain. I have been a stay-at-home mom variously throughout our almost 14 year marriage. There were times where it made sense financially. We had a baby and were newly married, so let’s just get used to that. You are going to school, so enjoy your time with the baby while you can! Don’t work AND go to school (from the most supportive husband, who deserves that credit. It made getting all those degrees a lot easier). We can’t afford daycare for 3 kids, so stay home. We just moved here; take the time to get the kids settled. Like I said, lots of reasons and situations that it made sense. I have loved all my time with my children. I have been able to see them accomplish milestones and grow before my eyes. I could base our days around their schedules, not around work. When Andy’s schedule was inconsistent (always), it meant that mine was always consistent. I was there for practices, plays, field trips, PTA, volunteering, etc. It was wonderful, and I love the memories.
However, the end goal was always for me to have a career. I went to school for a VERY long time and worked hard for all those expensive degrees. I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom. In every job that I have held – from classroom assistant, summer school aide, sales manager, finances, barista, veterinary management – I have loved the entire idea and procedure of working. I enjoy getting to the office, dragging coffee or treats with me (perks of working with me). I like office attire. I love having tasks to complete, people to call, budgets to review, inventory to manage, co-workers and customers to converse with, people to brief and impress, and feeling like people are counting on me. I also love playing with dogs, although that might be just relevant to my last job. In short, I LOVE working. Crazy, but true.
Besides my desire to work, I also like the image it presents to my children. I have 3 girls, and I’m trying really hard to raise them with the idea that they can do whatever they work to achieve. If they want to be full-time mothers, that is great. If they want to be working professionals and mothers, that is also great. What I have found is that my working has shown them that not only is it possible, it is very achievable. They have learned that when Dad is home, he can make dinner, do ponytails, go to practices, and help with homework. They see that Mom can succeed at work and still make time for games and school events. They also see that Mom is happy doing things on her own and that this is okay – in fact, it’s something wonderful. I would talk to them about the funny things in my day as they shared their days. Lorelei even said she would like to be a veterinarian (until I explained that she would have to give shots to animals). On the other hand, Addie would like to meet someone rich in college and never work a day in her life; I said to go for it because honestly, who wouldn’t love to marry someone rich?
I have been trying to see the positive in joblessness. I am watching Leo everyday, just as I did the girls. He is funny, way too smart, and growing faster than I remember with the girls. Our days are unscheduled for the most part – if we choose to stay in pajamas all day or hike to a waterfall, it’s up to us. I can be there for the girls as they adjust to yet another new school and home. But, there is a depressive feeling to the rejection of unemployment. I want to contribute to my family. Let’s be honest: 4 kids are expensive. We have things we would like to do while we live in Hawaii, and the kids are requiring more things while we still balance the same budget. I was trying to explain the rejection of tryouts to Anya, since she is trying out for soccer. I told her that my applying for all these jobs and getting nothing is like a tryout; I still pick myself up and apply again. I said that with a smile, but I really feel like a failure after all these months. I know that the right job will come along, that I need to be patient and have a little faith in good fortune. It is tough to remember that somedays.
Then again, there are days where I am able to drop off a forgotten lunch and snuggle with my only boy in the morning. I sit here, searching for jobs yet again, and also cherishing the fact that I can sleep in tomorrow. Well, until the kids wake up. To stay home or not? The debate continues, my friends.