( updated from original post 3-28-2011 )
A few years ago my husband started coming to me with the idea that I needed to go back to work. I needed to do something more outside of the house. And honestly, I dug my feet down and protested with all I had. I loved being a housewife. I loved being home when the kids were sick, there for them when they came home from school, and even more I loved the freedom I enjoyed. But I could also see his point. We needed more money, we wanted to do things with our house, go on vacations, and enjoy a more comfortable life. But still it was so hard for me to consider leaving all that I felt was so important.
At first I wanted to show him how important my being home was. But there came a time when my children grew up and even I couldn’t ignore that I needed something more. I started looking around at the options. How could I tell my children they needed to have a good work ethic when I was home and not showing them by example?
Now in truth, I have had other jobs. Before I was married I had jobs in a few different areas, but nothing that I would ever call a career. I’d worked in retail, even served my time as a “Waitress” for a country themed restaurant. And by that I mean I was TERRIBLE at it and only lasted a few days following a guy younger than me around who reminded me of Carlton on the Fresh Prince, only he was white and considered being a waiter at that establishment one of the greatest jobs one could have. I however wasn’t cut out for remembering orders and was quickly moved to hostess where people enjoyed asking me random questions about country living. Another job consisted of asking if I could wash people’s hands with fruit salad smelling scrubs and telling them why they needed to spend their money on such luxuries, even though each night I cursed the warm vanilla jasmine moonlight cucumber melon scent that would cling to my skin and hair. And it wasn’t so much the job, but the attitude of the other women who worked there that disturbed me. Welcome to retail!
Then my opportunity to work doing what I loved came around. I became an assistant preschool teacher. And I was so excited. In fact, the first few months besides having some bumps here and there were pretty
great. My daughter was a student there and I loved the environment of a private school and being around other people who seemed like they loved children as much as I did. I think even looking at it a few years later, that given some guidance and support from a good mentor or bosses, I would have loved it there and wanted to stay for years. But sadly, my time there was filled with so much drama and chaos, that I was relieved when it was over. That experience taught me so much about people and how things can look so pretty from the outside and be so different once you break through the façade. I saw myself as an advocate for children and families, yet I learned quickly that money and power can destroy that quickly no matter how you try. And ultimately not only was I let go for following the instruction of a senior teacher who mocked the fact that she hated kids and was going to retire anyways so she didn’t care, but that group of “friends” who I actually cared about and shared time with weren’t really my friends after all.
My husband was pretty amazing through all of that and kept pushing me to find something else. Try new things, make new friends, and even more.. determine what it was that I wanted to do. Before I knew it, years had passed. I’d thrown myself into my youngest child’s elementary school years. I volunteered, joined committees with the PTA, and made that so much of a part of my day that I felt like I had no more time to do much more. Yet, it was still not enough…
My children have always been told that working is not an option. Once the boys turned 14, they both went out and found jobs working part-time. We didn’t push them to do more than they could and school work always came first. But it’s important to us that they know that they have to not only focus on responsibilities of learning but learn to manage time and money as well. And thankfully we’ve not had too many issues with it and our boys have each held jobs for years. But one day as my oldest was taking some “time off” from changing jobs I tried to talk to him about what he was going do with his life and how we wanted him to go to college so he could find a career he loved. This wasn’t one of our best moments and we were both getting a little heated about the situation and his desire not to go to college or looking very hard for a new job. He looked at me and just very bluntly said… “You want me to get a job and work hard, but you sit home and do nothing. Why don’t you get a job Mom?” Boy did that sting. I realized that even though he was 17 and striking out because he wasn’t happy with the situation, he also didn’t respect my job as much as I did. It was time for me to start looking for a new job away from home. But what?
So began my search for a job I love.
It took me a few years to fully love and accept that all along I have had the best job in the world. The pay isn’t great and the hours are long. But the job is exactly who I needed to be. I am a writer. I live to write and do it well. There are moments in life that I must keep for all time, not with photos but with words. I quit trying to fit into the mold of what everyone else things I should be. I am amazing just the way I am.
So maybe I needed to become a coupon-queen and save more money. I needed to give up Starbucks and lunches out. But we made it through that hard time better for it. I was able to be home for all of my children no matter how old. Because I was always available for workmen, doctor’s appointments, and taxi driving, my husband was able to work longer hours and take jobs where traveling was part of the new routine. We stopped fighting about money and responsibilities. I began writing more and started a great blog.
Soon after I also started my little Etsy.com shop – Morning Tempest Studios where I make embroidered baby items with my geeky heart that took off quickly and brought in that extra cash that made life a bit easier and gave me a sense of pride when I handed out my business cards.
Looking back I am so glad I had the chance to try out all of those other jobs. I really learned a lot about myself and others. I became a better mother, the most important job I’ll ever have and one I’ll never quit.