Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Limbo

Being a stay at home mom is HARD, to say the least. Some people are cut out to do it for a "living", and they do it well. I have some friends and family who are those people. Me, however, well, I've always been a worker of some sort. Now before you start bashing me, let me clarify that doesn't mean I'm saying that being a full time mom isn't work (hard work), because I know first hand what work it is. I am really missing my work life, outside the home, though. I have LOVED being able to have time to stay at home with Lilli. To watch her grow into this little person, with a strong mind of her own. By the way, I have no idea where she gets that (snicker, snicker). But I constantly feel like I'm in limbo. This was never meant to be a long term change. Just enough time for me to get adjusted to two kids, and without loosing all of our income on child care expenses.

I have been working (for pay) since I was 11 years old. That's when I started my baby sitting business. Back in "those" days you could babysit at that age. Just as long as you were responsible, I guess. I got my first "real" job at 16 and have worked pretty much non-stop since then. I put myself through college. I took classes as I could afford them and worked my ass off each summer to pay for the upcoming fall semester. That's partly why it took me double the traditional time frame to finish (I changed my major one too many times too). It's hard when you are 18 to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life! Some people just know, and while I kind of did too, it took me some time to find the right fit in college course work. However, when I entered into the criminal justice program, everything just clicked. I was already working in the professional/social work/criminal justice world at this time. I just needed the degree to go with my experience. I ended up quitting my job and focused on school full time for a year and finally finished. I continued in the social work/criminal justice world with work and spent about 10 years working in Domestic Violence Advocacy in one way or another.

That line of work takes a toll on you emotionally and physically. I developed a pretty good protective barrier and learned, over time, how not to take my work home with me. But after working crazy hours, carrying a 24/7 crisis pager, and having a pregnancy from hell, it took it's toll on me. Dave and I decided it would be best for me to leave my job, once I was put on full time bed rest. That was such an agonizing decision. I was scared to join the ranks of the unemployed. Would I be able to find another job? There were so many unknowns and I tend to be a bit of a planner. This was very scary and new territory for me. So July 30, 2010 was my last day of work. I had been discharged from the high risk unit just a few days earlier. I went in, cleaned off my desk, said some goodbyes, and after 5 years at the agency I worked for, that was it. Kind of an anticlimactic end to my DV career. It felt bittersweet. I focused my time on Everett arriving soon. I was told from my OB's that I probably wouldn't make it past that next week.

Fast forward to now. At the end of next month I will have been a stay at home mom for a year. Wow. I honestly never saw that coming. I am glad I have had time to heal, mainly emotionally, from Everett's death, but I feel so ready to get back to something. Some of my fears with finding a job have played out recently as I have applied for several positions I'm well qualified for, and never received a phone call, let alone an interview. I know the job applicant pools are saturated with people, mainly overqualified and employers are taking advantage of being able to hire someone with more education than necessary for the job, at a lower pay scale. I experienced that with a job I interviewed for back in November. It required a bachelors degree. They ended up hiring an attorney for the position. I guess I can't blame them.

I am considering applying for grad school for next year (2012) if I continue to not find something. It seems so many positions that used to require a 4 year degree are requiring more now. It's hard to justify spending that kind of money (on tuition) when I most likely wouldn't get enough of a pay raise to cover the cost of the student loans. I know everything happens for a reason, well almost everything. And I'm hoping in the not too distant future I will find what I've been looking for. It's taking a lot longer than I expected, but I tend to be a little impatient.

~Steph

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