I read this great article last week (sorry, I don’t have the link, but I’ll try to find it and come back to it) about a mom going back to work after her kids went to school…and it dawned on me that, unlike that woman, I really can’t go back. I mean, I guess I COULD, but I really can’t…the thought was sobering, scary, and a little depressing. So, here’s me, Coming to Terms with a Dead Career.
Coming to Terms with a Dead Career when You’re a SAHM
I guess that a lot of moms kind of take the time as a a SAHM to re-assess their lives and maybe STAY a SAHM (and for the sake of this discussion, we’re just going to say “moms” from here on out and not bother with the acronym, because it’s ungainly and stupid), but for me, my career meant a lot to me–as I am sure it is for a lot of other moms. It was how I defined myself and my value to myself, my husband; how I proved my worth to my parents and how I earned respect. Now, I feel I have nothing. No peers (blogging community friends are all in the interwebs, so they don’t count because they don’t feel “real”), no one to say “good job, here’s a bonus”, no one to argue the finer points of the art of land use planning with. Alone. I’m alone.
And I can’t go back, either. Tears are welling in my eyes, this is just such a big deal. If I did go back, I would have to start from the bottom. Prove my worth again from the basics all the way up. My certifications are expired (so I’d have to work for 4 years as a junior and then re-take the exams), my contemporaries have moved-up and onward. And my field is not even changing that fast, but I would be perceived as a “baby” in my field–even though I have well over a decade (closer to 15 years) experience.
But it’s dead. It’s all dead. I can’t re-start all of that. I was the boss, the leader, the person who called the shots and got the team motivated to pull-off miracles.
And now I change poopy diapers and plan playdates. And when this stage is over, I have nothing to go back to. Nothing.
And because of this, I feel worthless and invaluable at the same time. I give so much to my family that I didn’t before, but I bring almost no daily-bread to the table–I play with my babies, for goodness sake. But there’s nothing for me beyond that.
And when this stage is over? When the family doesn’t need me in the same way? Do I restart with something new? Go be a teacher so I have the same schedule as my littlies (my husband keeps bringing this up)? Work on making a career out of blogging (I’m voting for that one, since it CAN be done)? Or build tiny houses with my dad (my dad is voting for that one–it would be fun)?
I guess it’s like when you go to college and you leave behind high school, your home, your friends–and start fresh. I’m just in the holding-period before I actually have to decide, but, yeah, the decision-time is coming in a few years and I have to admit, it’s hard Coming to Terms with a Dead Career when You’re a SAHM. It’s hard admitting you’re not in control of your professional self and that your uniform will probably never be power suits and heels again. No, I’m pretty sure it’s t-shirts and jeans from here on out. So, maybe that’s not so bad…