As the start of the new school year approaches, we've been preparing for some big changes at home. For one thing, we're working on getting back to the "school year schedule." For another, I have started potty training Jesse, because I'm making arrangements for him to attend preschool in the fall.
As for me? My changes are getting back into an exercise routine and getting out of the house for a job!
Admittedly, I have the same old reservations about saying goodbye to being a stay-at-home mom. What if my kids need me and I can't be there for them? What should I do if the kids are sick and can't go to school? (I don't think hubby will be working the night shift forever.) How am I going to handle being apart from them? (It's hard enough being apart from Jennifer during her whole school day!) As to the last concern, I think if I make the transition slowly, then that would work best. This is part of the reason why I like Kim's schedule so much. It's only for a few hours for 4 days a week. Not 5 or 6 hours! EEK!
But aside from those usual concerns, I have some others, too. What if something happens at the workplace that puts me in jeopardy? What if someone tries to assault or kill me? (I am trying to get into a self-defense class, so I think that would help alleviate that fear.) What if I get hurt? What if I get into a car accident on my way to work, which would NOT have happened if I had NOT been on my way to a job??
I'm sure there are a lot of moms out there who have had to cope with these very same fears. I know I COULD just continue to be a SAHM and happily stay in my comfort zone. After all, hubby keeps telling me he's cool with it either way -- job or no job.
But I am doing this for me, first thing, and for my children, second thing.
I know it would help me a lot to just get out of the house for a while. It would also help improve my social skills, if not my communication skills (thereby opening me to new communication challenges I will face as a deaf person and challenging me to find a way to resolve those hurdles). I wouldn't be so isolated, and it would open me up to new experiences. Most of all, it would be a great opportunity to get new ideas for things to write about (like this transition, for example?).
My children would benefit because they would see me, a woman, going against the traditional expectations set in place for women. I keep telling my daughter that the whole idea of "a woman's place is in the home" is just so oppressive, archaic and out of fashion these days. Well, I think it's time to step up and practice what I preach! No, I don't believe a woman's place is in the home, and I also believe that housework/cooking/childcare should be split between parents on a 50-50 level. Not 25-75 or 10-90. So this is partly why I want to join the workforce. I grew up watching my mother bear children, cook, clean and take care of us kids (sometimes while in a wheelchair) while my dad just worked and didn't do much else (besides enforce discipline). I grew up thinking this is what women do. Now, at 36, I no longer subscribe to that belief. No way! A woman can work just as a man can. And a man can do housework just as a woman can. (Hubby actually cooks and cleans better than I do!) So seeing this message in action will only reinforce my teaching both of my kids that they should not expect one gender to be better than the other and that some traditional roles and ideas no longer hold as much weight in society as they used to.
So, with this goal in mind, I set to work researching the best job options for me. During the time I was signed up for Workers Rehab, my counselor went over several job options with me. I even had a doctor do a physical to see what kind of job environment would be best suitable for me. However, that was then, this is now. I am not in the same physical shape I used to be in (though I am trying to fix this problem, as well, if I can ever figure out how to get my hip and foot to cooperate!).
I started my research anew.
At first, I thought maybe I could work with herbs, since I grew up with a father entrenched in herbal remedies and who often shared with me insights on certain herbs to use for certain ailments, but after some thought, I decided not to pursue that avenue. Biggest worry? That I might accidentally kill somebody! (There are some real toxic herbs out there.) I don't think I could handle something like that. So I crossed that off my list.
Then I thought, childcare? Maybe I could work at a daycare center. After all, I could be close to Jesse. But the truth is, I have a short fuse. (Yes! I'll admit it!) I just don't have the patience to have that kind of job. (I am trying to resolve that problem, as well, but it's slow going and very hard to break away from. I know I must eventually deal with all the anger I carry around inside. I am angry about a lot of things. I know I must resolve those issues and not let the anger weigh me down anymore.)
I then thought of working as a freelance editor. This is still a possibility, but I need to go to school for that. And I have no way to pay for school at this time. And, anyway, that thing is iffy and better suited for my own home-based business thing. Not as a career. I need a career. (Technically, I consider being an author my "career," but that's apples and oranges.) So, I'm saving that for later. After I can go to school for that, THAT can be something I can do from home. (A Plan B, I guess. LOL) And, actually, I have worked as an editor before -- for magazines and even a few books -- but I would feel MUCH better about making that a home-based business only after I have educational training to back me up on it. At least so far, I have experience! Yay!
Next, I thought landscaping could be in my future. After all, I DO make a fuss over a yard looking nice. And I DO have ideas for making up a yard. Also, it's so embarrassing that I'm married to someone who thinks all you need to do is mow a lawn or trim some hedges to take care of a yard. (No offense to hubby, but there's so much more you can do with a yard besides mowing it! That's the creative in me, ayup.) But then I thought...naahhh. Don't wanna be working outside day after day after day after day. Plus, I want a job where I could wear something nice. Not work clothes; office clothes.
Hmm. Office. I know I'd probably go batty having to work in a cubicle or at a desk all the time. But maybe I will find a way to make it survivable?
So I thought and thought. Eventually, I recalled reading a blog post on Karen Putz's blog, on a profile she did of a deaf medical coder. So I thought, medical coding? Could I DO that?? I checked this job out on the Web, reading up on what's required, what the job calls for, the kind of person it would be best for. The job DOES involve calling up people, but after thinking of how one deaf lady worked around that, I think I, too, can work around that. After all, the people at the business would KNOW I am deaf, right? It's not like they'd put a gun to my head and force me to use the telephone! I mean, surely, they would make exceptions? The big part of this job is using a computer and working with forms. I could do that! I also liked how this job does not require you to work on weekends, which I'd definitely want to spend with my kids.
I contacted someone via email who teaches classes on medical coding and hope there will be a response. If not, I'll keep trying to find somebody who can get me started on that path. As mentioned, the funds available to pay for this is scarce, so I'm hoping I can get a job that will help me to pay for that, so that I can then start my training for that desired job.
And all this time, I'm thinking, wow. Job. Up until now, I've only done side jobs and the regular teen jobs. Babysitting, housecleaning, office cleaning, petsitting and I was even someone's personal driver (though minus the big black hat. Haha). This will be my FIRST REAL JOB! I will actually be joining the workforce for the first time. Wow. But as excited as I am about that, I'm also nervous. I mean, I AM 36 years old. How many 36-year-olds do you see flipping burgers? (I have actually seen some 30-somethings working in fast food places, but usually as a manager.) It's embarrassing. More embarrassing that I won't know what I am doing or that I have to learn stuff 20-somethings have already mastered.
But...this is just the way it is. Thems the breaks. This is what happens when a stay-at-home mom joins the workforce for the first time. As nervous as I am, I should also be grateful. Because, bottom line, this is not an experience everybody has. This is MY experience, sure, but it's also one that is not so widely common. Also, at least this way, my getting through this experience will teach me how to help my own daughter should she go through this very same transition later in life. And, on top of that, it's just one more thing I'll get to write about.