Up until recently, I’ve been happy to be a stay-at-home mum, working on my blog and social media (along with a few other projects) at home, helping out at school and concentrating on our family.
Then I came across the perfect job. I mean perfect. It utilised my qualifications and interests and I was so excited. One small hitch – they were looking for someone full-time which I just couldn’t commit to. I emailed and asked if they’d consider a job-share or flexible working situation and they responded favourably, so I applied.
In the two weeks after applying, I let myself believe that the job was meant to be mine. I planned everything in my head from child-care arrangements to my first-day-of-work outfit. I dreamed of alterations I’d make to our house with my paycheck, and what new car we’d buy. I could see myself sitting at a desk and being amazing at this job.
I found out this afternoon that I didn’t get the job. Not such a huge surprise really, when you consider that they were looking for a full-time employee, but I had built it up in my mind and felt so disappointed. I even shed a few tears.
I’ve been mulling it over and trying to figure out exactly why it’s hit me so hard, and I think I’ve got it.
I’ve been a stay-at-home mum for almost nine years, and I left work to continue post-grad studies before having children, so it’s been over 10 years since I worked. While I studied in an area that I’m so passionate about, I’m terrified that a decade out of work has left me unemployable. I feel useless. I feel uninteresting. I feel superfluous.
While it was important for our family that I stayed at home while our children were pre-schoolers, I feel the societal pressure to return to work now that they are all at school. And I’m not going to lie – I miss working. I miss feeling useful. I miss the contact with other adults. I miss the disposable income. While I love this blog and all it entails, I miss actual people. I miss being able to have a ready answer when someone asks me “so, what do you do?” I feel like I’m at a crossroads – do I try to become a ‘proper’ blogger? I don’t know – am I cut out to work at home by myself? Do I do more study and go back to work? Do I focus everything on a job hunt in a very competitive market?
I don’t know what the answer is.
So this evening, I did what I always do. I over-analysed myself, and then I used it as a lesson for my children. While colouring in front of the fire with them after school, we chatted about playground squabbles and childhood disappointments. And tonight, I told them that today, I feel disappointed. I explained that I was going to sit with my disappointment today, and then pick myself up again tomorrow. We had such a fascinating conversation about how they deal with feelings of sadness and disappointment and I was so proud of how well they could articulate their feelings and their coping strategies. I am doing my best to raise wonderful, empathic humans, and every now and then I get a glimpse that we’re doing ok. This was one of those moments.
So, while I’m still bummed about the job (and I think I will be for awhile), I can take heart with my little reminder that I may not have been right for that job, but I’m perfect for the job of Mama to my babies. While I know that I need something ‘more’, tonight, that’s enough.
Well…that, and a glass of wine.