A Renounced Stay At Home Mom
Christopher was just two months old when I went back to work. I couldn't wait to get dressed up and leave every day, just for some relief away from home. I enjoyed working and the allowance I gave myself each pay period. But within a few years, working any ole' job wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.
I left my insurance job in October of 2008 to finish school and help with the photography business, because my husband was still full-time active duty with the Marine Corps. My unemployment was supposed to be temporary; a relief from my current situation, but it became so permanent.
Material things lifted my spirits temporarily, but I wasn't happy at all. In desperation to escape the path I was on and to pursue a brand new career, I went to college and got a degree.
Christopher was almost four years old when I left my job. I didn't take him out of daycare. I used those days to get my school work done and help with the administrative end of the photography business. It meant a little freedom and going to bed at a reasonable time. I still pursued other employment but I wasn't qualified for any reasonable job except for the industry I'd worked in for nearly 20 years.
For months after I left my job, I got up and got dressed like I was going to work. I felt less guilty about dropping my son off at daycare if I was dressed like I had somewhere to go.
In 2009, my husband had a deployment coming up. It was going to be my first time as a "single mom." I decided to temporarily give up my job search which had seemed to take up a chunk of my day. We were making ends meet and I was still in school anyway.
It wasn't until Christopher graduated from Pre-K that I officially fell under the umbrella of "stay at home mom" SAHM. I never felt comfortable with that title. Fresh off of the "working mom" boat, I knew how a SAHM was stereotyped. I wasn't going to be "lazy" or "enjoy" what working moms said, "must be nice".
That summer before Christopher started Kindergarten, I was organized and we had a plan for nearly every day. I had a handful of classes left, and I was still looking for a job. It was exhausting.
As a SAHM, I was an overachiever. I never allowed myself to relax into the stereotyped role. I was unemployed, not a SAHM. I was proud of neither.
It was exhausting.
When I graduated from school at age 40 and had a degree under my belt, I found few job opportunities in my field of study. I wasn't ever called in for an interview. It was around this time that I began to seek fulfillment in writing.
I had started blogging and enjoying the freedom of my days away from school work and continued overachieving at running a household. The scent of fresh baked cookies often filled the house when the school bus came around 2:15. The aroma of a googled recipe filled the house whenever Papa Bear made it home. I was doing everything and too much. I did everything I thought June Cleaver did except I had long stopped dressing up.
It was exhausting.
Nearly eight years later, I am still "unemployed". We've survived summers, all three of us at home day in and day out. My husband retired four years ago and while I thought I'd go crazy the first week he was home cleaning light bulbs and windowsills, I didn't.
I'm still looking for a job. I've wasted as much time as I've accomplished great things in eight years. I regret none of it. I'm comfortable. I am rested.
I wish I'd known we were going to be alright for this long, I would have enjoyed it better.
This post is linked up with Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted by Kristi Campbell at Finding Ninee, where the prompt this week is, I wish I'd known...
I'm a cohost this week, so check out some more stories and link up your post by clicking on the blue button below!