But we moved again when I was pregnant with Veronica, and I just eased into my new job as stay-at-home-mom—I held that job for almost 10 years. Apparently it’s the one job that is recession-proof.
It’s amazing to me the divide between women who decide to stay at home with their kids and women who choose to work. I always felt like women who chose to work looked down on me. I would get the usual “You are just one of those unique people who can be happy with staying at home.” Why don’t you just say “Oh, you’re too stupid to realize the importance of maintaining your own career.”
I tried to stay out of it and convince women that we should all stick together. Sure I was always grateful to my ex husband for enabling me to stay-at-home with Veronica. I can’t even imagine what would have happened with her if she had been in day care all day instead of having me shuttle her from doctor’s visits and physical therapy appointment. To be honest, even if I had a job, I would have lost it due to the amount of medical care she needed.
I struggled for so long about not working. As a young college student, I always thought I would have this amazing career as a writer. But it just didn’t work out that way. I married a man who was gone all the time and we lived over a thousand miles away from family. Then we had a disabled child that needed constant care. A career just wasn’t in the cards for me.
So now I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with school. This time next year, I should have my MFA in Writing from SCAD (that just gave me chills). And I have to admit a secret—I’m a little scared about getting back into the workforce.
Almost 2 years ago, my ex lost his private contractor job in Iraq when he had to have his leg amputated below the knee. I soon went out to look for work and I was able to find a job at a local daycare center.
I was the lead teacher for a classroom of 2-3 year olds. The pay was terrible, but it was money—the kind of money that pays the bills and buys the food on the table. I was also able to drop the kids off at school in the morning. They rode the bus to the daycare center in the afternoon. They were able to eat snack and do their homework for an hour. I got to leave by 5:00 so I could take them to all of their after-school activities.
About a month later, my boss at the daycare wanted to change my hours. I wouldn’t have got off of work until 6:00. I quit. I wasn’t going to miss any more of my kids’ event for a low-paying hourly wage job. That is when I decided to go back to school and get my master’s degree.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to go back to work. But the kids are older now and sometimes they don’t want me to come to their school anyway. I have also learned that I have an amazing group of friends and neighbors who are more than willing to drive the kids to their activities for me when I am busy.
When I am able to put the guilt aside, I am able realize one thing--I’m ready to have an answer for people who ask me “what do you do?” I want to tell them, “I’m a writer.”
And being a writer may mean that I have to miss a karate practice or art lesson. It may mean that I’m too busy to make chicken noodle soup from scratch or volunteer to set up the Christmas party at school.