I am returning to this post for possibly the 5th time this week. I just don’t seem to get the time to sort through my thoughts and put pen to paper. I began this post on Tuesday after having met with an acquaintance to discuss possible employment. That meeting resulted in a week of feeling low, spent, unwanted, and desperately wanting to know what the answers were – how do I move forward, and where to. I really didn’t want to dwell on negative thoughts in this post, and thought of ways to pull myself out of the black hole. But it’s not honest, and there is a reason why I fell into a hole, and well, there’s no point ignoring what is.
Against my wishes, I am seeking part-time employment. To be honest, I would rather remain a homemaker as I truly believe in its value to our family, and I think I am doing a good job. But we can’t afford mortgage repayments, and I do not want to rent forever. It is also terrifying to hear how older women are over-represented in homelessness, forced to live in their cars, or on the couches of friends, or worse still on the streets. Without a home as security, and my limited work history having left me with barely enough super to buy a caravan – a 70’s pre-refurbished model at that – I am leaving myself in the precarious position of being part of that statistic.
So I have sought a volunteer position with a view to securing employment once I am familiarised with the current policies and procedures. But it became quickly apparent that my 15 year hiatus from my profession has others viewing my ability to do it again with skepticism. I had recently returned to tertiary studies to study the current legislation, and I performed well in those studies. It really did not take much to get back into the game. Yet I found myself having to convince an employer, and the remainder of its employees that yes I can do it. After all, I have had 5 children, not 5 concussions, and most work is learnt while on the job not within the borders of a resume. I shouldn’t have been so naive, should have expected some hurdles, but I truly didn’t think that people would be so short-sighted. It made me realise why some women refuse to give up work despite the pressures of family and responsibilities of home. It is just so hard to get back in.
I do not regret being at home with my children while they were young. I have one chance only with my kids and that is worth any sacrifices I have made. I will recover from this feeling of being swallowed whole and will move forward towards something. I don’t know what that is yet, and maybe it doesn’t matter what the thing is, so long as it helps our family to move forward with a sense of security.
I’m curious to know how others in my position have navigated this stage of their life. Did you abandon your previous career and begin again in another? Did you resent having to do it, or having to push against the misconception that being a stay at home mum means you are dumb unable to handle the ‘real’ world? Are you happy now that you are back at work, or do you wish to god you never started this battle?!