Years ago, when I was young and somewhat naive, I chose to forgo the option of becoming a professional.
I attended college as a non-traditional 29-year old mother of a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. I knew I wanted to give them everything they needed.
I am not talking about fancy clothing, expensive toys and computers and cars.
I wanted to give them a happy home to come to when they jumped off the bus, greeted by dogs. I wanted to teach them how to color Easter eggs, how to squish pudding through their teeth and drive bicycles really fast through deep mud puddles – and maybe fall over into those huge puddles.
I wanted to teach them a work ethic too. Every other day, one of our sons had to crawl out of bed to feed out baby calves. Starting at the age of 6, our boys knew how to operate an alarm clock, get out of bed, change into chores clothes to feed calves and then get back into house to shower, eat and get on the bus.
Sure they complained about having to do it, but they did it. If they didn’t, they knew I was going to come in and get them up and I wouldn’t appreciate it.
For 20 years, we managed to live and work side-by-side. Our sons are amazing human beings. They work hard all the time. They managed to save enough money to pay for college and graduate debt free. My husband taught them about budgeting. I stink at budgeting.
I gave them the fun; Steve taught serious stuff.
Now, when both of said sons are gone and out on their own (I do still see them. One works with us and the other comes home from college every weekend.), I have the opportunity to return to a professional career.
And it’s so hard!
It’s not like I sat on my ass for those 20-years. I wrote a farm column for 18-years. I kept myself up-to-date on web programming, Adobe PhotoShop, InDesign and all social media. I learned these programs on my own to have that background when I started applying for careers. I use them on a regular basis.
I am committed. I am a hard worker. I love writing, when I am in the mood, which is obviously today.
I have been given permission by said husband to do what I need to do in order to gain employment in the public relations/communications field.
But that doesn’t seem to matter. Getting an interview is a struggle in this employee-filled market.
I guess the main reason I write this edition of my blog is this: If you are a woman, you have a four-year-degree, and you want to stay home with your children, seriously look at your choices.
I made that choice. I stayed home. I am working in a soil lab. A job that doesn’t use my best abilities (well, I think anyway).
After a 20-year hiatus from the professional world, I struggle to return to a career that gives me the chance to be creative and fun. Meanwhile, I see mothers that have chosen to stay in the workforce and continue careers while they are mothers.
I find they have succeeded. They have gained knowledge and influence. I am proud of them. Their children turned out great too. So there really is no right or wrong decision. I just never planned on it being so difficult to return.
I am a tad envious of those women that stayed in workforce and were successful as a mother and professional.
Seriously look at your options. Make sure you do what is right for you. I know I did make the right choice to stay home, I have raised amazing human beings. I just never imagined returning to a professional career would be so damn difficult. I will continue to fight for a career. One of these days, it has to work out. Right?