More often than not, people wonder why I’m not working. It’s kind of a complicated answer.
I entered college with dreams of becoming a doctor, only to change my major to nursing when I realized that having a family was going to be my priority. When I finally graduated with my nursing degree, I don’t think I fully understood the complexities of the job. I should have taken a moment (or two) to reflect on my future career goals back in college, when I’d get sick with crippling nausea before nursing clinicals. (Red flag!!!) Being a student was easy. I was good at it. However, going into hospitals and acting like I knew what I was doing, was a bit of a stretch. Needless to say, my education was lacking in what real nursing was like. Sure, I could write a damn good care plan and write perfect research papers, but that’s not what you do as a working nurse. (Plus it didn’t help that I had zero confidence as a new graduate in my first job.)
When I finally realized that I had to get out of nursing for my own sanity, I became pregnant. I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and with my husband’s support, I did. That was the year 2000.
Sixteen years later, with a 15 year old and 12 year old daughter, I’m still at home. Not working, but yet incredibly grateful.
(I must also point out that I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for women that do both – work and have families. It is an incredibly hard task and I applaud you!)
I know that I am extremely fortunate to stay home. Our family has lived on one income for 16 years and have adjusted our way of life accordingly. The earlier years were hard; we didn’t travel, hardly ate out and only had one car. However, as my husband’s experience level increased and his work performance excelled, we had a little more breathing room with finances.
Many people wonder how a woman can cope with staying home all day with young kids. Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined it any other way. I was there to see my children’s first steps, hear their first words, hold them when they were sick, take them to preschool, participate in their schools’ activities, help them with their homework, and create a stable life around them from which they could flourish. I was able to teach them manners, instill a strong work ethic for school, teach them how to be independent, and be good-natured women. Even now, I’m able to talk to them when they come home from school, learn who their friends are, and talk about their school work and their crushes.
Now that my kids are older and involved in after-school activities, my days are longer and quieter. Sure I have some down time most days, but my husband has very little to worry about at home. The cleaning, laundry, meals, shopping, ironing, finances, school activities and projects, kids’ pickups and drop-offs, shoveling, gardening and yard work, and any thing else that pops up from time to time (like Christmas shopping or small home projects), he doesn’t have to think about. I sincerely believe his ability to be 100% focused on work has allowed him to excel there. So many other working parents have to take sick days when their kids are sick or leave work early for a day care pickup. We’ve been lucky that I have been able to take care of everything that happens at home, so he can focus on his career.
But that brings me back to this idea of working. Sure, I’ve looked here and there, but I haven’t really found anything I feel is a good fit for me.
When it comes time to actively start looking for employment, my resume will be mostly blank. An employer may wonder why there is such a large gap of years missing and why I have no experience. Hopefully, they will realize that my 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job of raising my children and running a household for 16 years leaves me more than qualified for most non-technical jobs out there.
Even though nursing won’t ever be my big career, it gave me a good start. During my years in mother-baby and pediatrics, I learned a lot about growing children, which gave me all the confidence and knowledge I needed to be a mom – something that I was severely lacking in.
I think my ideal job, however, is somewhere out west. Maybe in a National Park. I’d love to be the park ranger that hikes trails and helps others, collects specimens, or analyzes rocks. Maybe, one day, I’ll be able to experience that, but for right now, I’m happy taking care of my girls.