TODAY IS MY 100TH POST!
I thought I should share a little story of how this blog came about.
Once upon a time…no seriously. As I reach a new chapter of my life and upgrade to the 4.0 version, (soon, very soon) I am confused as to why people call making changes to your life in your 40s a mid-life crisis. Especially if you are forced into making those changes.
Crisis is defined as: “1. n. a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger 2. a time when a difficult or important decision must be made 3. the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place, indicating either recovery or death.” ~ Google search
Hmm…none of those apply to me as I leap into new territory career-wise. Well, possibly a touch of #2. The second ”career” I had as an adult ended three years ago as a SAHM. Not the mom part but the stay at home portion. And I call it a career and not a job because a job is something you get paid for.
A career is defined as:
“1. n. an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress. synonyms: profession, occupation, job, vocation, calling, employment, line, line of work, walk of life. “ ~ Google search
Call it what you will but I like the term career because, although it isn’t really a period of one’s life, there is opportunity for progress as a parent and I think that’s a lovely way to put it. You see the 20s and 30s went something like this: college, teaching career, buy a home, master’s degree, travel, marriage, travel, children and let’s stop there for a moment.
Children were always part of my plan. Somehow, someway, someday I wanted a family. I’d be happy with one or two as long as they were healthy, blah, blah, blah. But the other big decision alongside having a child was do I give up my career as a teacher and stay home? The answer was yes and no.
I took the 12-week maternity leave and all the while was researching daycare options. Family members were unable to help and I found that there were no daycare facilities that we felt comfortable with. Not to mention they were all very expensive. And being a teacher, it was almost half of my income.
So the decision was collectively made to stay home and work part-time as a tutor at nights and on weekends. We became a tag team of parenting. We made materialistic sacrifices and planned accordingly. Tightened our belts. Made more meals at home. Halted vacations for a bit and just simply enjoyed the fleeting time as a new family unit. We learned along the way. It didn’t even feel like a sacrifice. It was one of the easiest and assured decisions we had made. I got to have the experience of being a SAHM and still leave the house and keep my sanity. Everybody wins! Oh, and use those hard earned college degrees. And like any job I have had since I was 15, I rocked this new mommy position.
So fast forward to three years ago when my youngest entered Kindergarten. I dusted off those degrees and began looking for a full-time teaching job with benefits and a pension. You know, help lessen the load for hubs, start saving for college, get back into professional clothes and be able to answer that question when meeting new people, “What do YOU do?” As progressive as we are as a country, answering with “I’m a SAHM” doesn’t seem to amount to much. Not that it bothered me or questioned our decision but hearing: “That must be nice“, “ooh, a lady of leisure” and “what do you DO all day?” gets old fast. Can you imagine answering that question when the kids are in school all day? It’s a bit strange to say the least. At least for me. “I’m a stay-at-home maid? Errand girl? Master of cleaning? Professional organizer? Not so much. I’m proud of being a mom and also proud of my academic achievements. And boy was I smug and confident that schools would be fighting over me.
My certificates (now called licenses) were always up to date because I worked for that tutoring company all those years. Never in my wildest dreams would I believe returning to “my profession” would be somewhat impossible. Some of the reasons for not getting said teaching positions over the three years were and I quote:
“I can’t even look at resumes with a Masters.” (Sorry?)
“You have too much education.” (In the field of education? Whaaat?)
“You don’t know the current buzz words.” (True, but most of the new buzz words apply to older methods just renamed and spruced up a bit.)
“You have no current classroom experience” (Hmmm…you don’t say. But wait! Doesn’t subbing count? Being a para-pro? Tutor? Long-term substitute? Anything?)
“You are too expensive. I could hire two teachers for one of you” (Mathematically that is true. But wouldn’t you miss out on all this amazing experience and knowledge? No? Ok then.) And the ridiculous reasons go on and on.
So I returned to tutoring and began subbing very part-time for the past three years. I continue to stalk district wesbites for open positions and apply and wait. Apply and wait. Apply and wait. Sounds like some kind of disgusting skin disease. And I’m not the only one, folks. Most of the subs and para-pros are also previous teachers who chose to be a SAHM (or dad) at some point. We can’t get back in! Not to mention going up against the thousands of recent grads who can’t find a job either. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that I took time off and have to work my way back up, network, prove myself once again. But do the degrees count for anything? Does working part-time and staying current in the field not help my case?
I guess what really bothers me is that I am feeling punished for making that decision. I didn’t just stay home and laze around.
I raised two well-adjusted, competent, kind, funny and ready participants for society. I volunteered at schools, non-for profits and our animal shelter. I ran a household and all the nitty gritty that goes along with it. (I really don’t need to list every detail.) There were no paid days off. No professional growth conferences and luncheons. All this while tutoring part-time. You know working. At a job. Where you leave home. File taxes. IN EDUCATION. And still that’s not good enough. I guess I didn’t “sacrifice” enough. I didn’t stay in the position I had those ten years ago and prove myself worthy. I’ve even been in contact with former co-workers, supervisors and principals who could vouch for my work ethic and still no leads. It’s not who you know anymore and I’m not sure what is considered to be good enough to fill a position.
So, here we are. Contemplating a change in my career at the mid-life point. After dedicating my life to education in some way, shape or form for 15 years. But, what else can I do?
“I’ve always wanted to be a librarian.”
Hubs: “Don’t you need a Masters for that? Six years, right?”
“How about I go back to school and get other teaching endorsements like ESL, or Technology? Computers are the future!”
Hubs: “But wouldn’t that make you even more expensive? You would be a Masters + 30-45 hours.”
Hubs: “How about that yoga teacher training you did for a year? Any leads with that?”
“That was really more for personal growth and um, yoga teachers make like $30 a class if students show up. And then you have to fight the other 50 teachers at the studio for class spots. Not very Namaste.”
Hubs: “Okaaay. How about at home daycare.”
“Yea, no. I’m trying to avoid being in a mental institution. And I want to leave the house.”
“Physical trainer” - Don’t you have to be in shape for that?
“Write a book” – Have you read the grammar and sentence structure on this blog?“Barista at Starbucks” – I haven’t ruled that out entirely. But I am afraid I would drink all of my paycheck.
“Work at Target. You’d get a discount!” – Yes! I go to Target ALL the time. Ooh, that falls into the same category as the Starbucks dilemma. Not to mention Kristen Wiig ruined that job for me. In a good way.
“Dog walker or pet sitter.” – I was hoping my days of cleaning up poop were over.
“Open a book store!!! You LOVE books. Like the one on You’ve Got Mail. Sigh.” - Did you see the ending? You have heard of Amazon, right?”
“Make something and sell it on Etsy.” - I still draw using stick figures and once stapled the hem of my pants for work.
“I know! How about a school bus driver?” - *Crickets* (That really was suggested.)
These are the convos I have with all of my friends and family. It has become sort of a party game without the drinking. We’ve run every scenario. All requiring some type of degree, education, training or experience. Even my doctor is weighing in and on a routine check-up suggested I go back to school and be a nurse. Mmmm? No.
1.) That involves more schooling and expense and
B.) I hate blood and needles.
Is it the economy? I’m not quite sure. I can’t answer that. Are schools struggling with funding, therefore they can’t hire “expensive” teachers? Maybe. But something has definitely shifted and changed from 10 years ago in education. Even just for women in general. I heard a woman once say that you CAN have it all, just not at the same time. I agree with her.
So as I continue to work part-time and search for that teaching opportunity or new endeavor, I decided to start this blog and do something that makes me extremely happy. All the while meet new people who share the same passions in life.
Talking about books you can’t put down. Ones that make you laugh and/or cry. Or sweep you away on a fantasy romance with a book boyfriend. Finding exciting new music and bands while reminiscing about the ones from our past. Connecting books and songs together. Sharing family recipes and the ones that were successes from Pinterest. Finding insightful and sometimes humorous quotes. Even share my yoga knowledge to find peace, build strength and make you more bendy.
Maybe there are other moms and dads out there that took time out from the “rat-race” to focus on parenting and now can’t get back in. We need a plan B, C, D. We’re not having a mid-life crisis. This is a second wind. An awakening. A second chance to leave some sort of impact, touch lives and inspire others. Maybe even in little “doses”.