When I was growing up, getting a job was a big deal. There was an extreme emphasis on work, working and doing so with dedication. My parents had always worked and along the way I learned that being an adult meant having a job. I went work the day I turned 16. In high school, I used to wake up early and work before going to class and after school on days I didn’t have practice. I worked my way through college, balancing classes, demanding extra-curriculars, and a job in which I was the boss. I worked. Hard.
And then I got pregnant.
Everything changed. My entire plan flew out the window. But I was married, my husband had already graduated and was working in the Army, so we were secure. After graduation I took a year off, focusing on our little girl, but the call to work was still there. I was lucky, and when I decided to go back the jobs were there waiting for me. But when I had my son, we lived in a different state and The Great Recession was in full effect. There were no jobs. Well there were, but I had two kids and a husband who couldn’t be counted on to come home, so the jobs with weird hours or minimum wage didn’t work for us. It would have cost me more in daycare and gas than my paycheck.
Fast forward to now, and here I am. Still looking at jobs, still trying to find the right one to fill this time in my resume and that will actually hire me. Because, frankly, they don’t want me. Why would they? I am over educated (i.e. expensive), I have three kids (i.e. sick and personal days galore), and I’m a military spouse (could move at any moment). I WANT to work, but I want to be there for my kids too. I want to be the one who raises them and watches them learn. I want my paycheck to earn more than just the costs of daycare, because what’s the point otherwise? I want the job to move with me so I can earn towards a retirement and contribute to our future. I want upward mobility. I want to use my degrees I worked so hard for and spent so much money on. Essentially, I want the golden unicorn job that lets me have it all and I’m scared that the more time that passes the harder and harder it will be for me to re-enter the workforce. I’m scared that if I settle for an “okay” job, just to fill the void in my resume, everyone in my family will suffer. I’m scared of not living up to my potential, to the dreams of my younger self.
I want to show MY kids that work, working and doing so with dedication is important.
But there is a time and a season for everything and I’m coming to terms with the fact that this is my season for loving not working. This is my time to put all of that drive and effort into loving my family and the people around me, pouring positive energy into the universe. This is my time to write, create, and be thankful. This is my time to rack up skills like driver, personal chef, and logistics management and practice failing miserably with grace and style. This is my time to budget and make due. There are far worse things, I know, but I just can’t help looking at job descriptions and thinking Now Hiring…Just Not You.