Once again I start the new year off as a stay at home mom*. As a stay at home mom I often have the same pipe dream wishes as many other moms out there. Life with a maid, chef, trainer, chauffeur…. These are those things that float through your mind when you finally get that relaxing bath at the end of the day (or middle of the day depending on nap schedules). You know, those first few moments after you slip into the hot water and exhale deeply. In between that exhalation and when the door bursts open and children come running in screeching like tiny Viking marauders. Those wishes are common and usually follow a long, hard day, a never-ending pile of laundry, dishes, or after realizing your favourite pants are getting a little bit snug.
But shocking as it is, that hasn’t been on my mind much. What has been on my mind a lot lately is something of a different manner. I don’t know if it is because it is the season for after Christmas spending guilt, or just the roller coaster of life, but I have noticed a lot of women I know have been talking about their financial struggles at home recently. More than once I have heard someone say, “I love staying at home with the kids, but man I wish I could contribute financially to the family.” I am not going to be arrogant and surmise that every stay at home mom wants this, but the women I interact with daily, friends of friends, family, things I have read from women who are also stay at home moms. All these women seem to mention at some time or another that they wish that they could contribute financially to their family but also remain home. So the wish seems to be for more job opportunities for us who choose to stay at home to raise our kids, but would also like to do something more.
That really doesn’t seem to be a lot to ask and I am sure to some it is not. To a lot of us though, we just don’t have the what they are looking for. Passed by without even a second glance. I’m not talking about jobs making money sewing, knitting or crafting on Etsy. While I love to buy those things (I have a huge Etsy list) and admire people who have the talent to do it, I am not a crafty person. I am more booky and technical. So everything that I see for any type of home based work I could do, needs either a) a lot of experience, or b) some degree that takes many years to get. I don’t have either. I have about 10 years experience working in retail. More than half of those years were managerial positions. I spent four years in college and took three different things. I didn’t finish any of those degrees due to an unfortunate bad decision on my behalf (sorry mom and dad). I took Museum Studies, Travel and Tourism, Marketing, and for shits and giggles I took a semester accounting course several years ago just to see if I could do it. I could.
So while I have a some varied school experience, I never finished any of it therefore I might as well have not taken anything. Which is frustrating because the last time I was in school was 2003 and I JUST finished paying off my loans in 2013. It was all for nothing. I pretty much paid a lot of money to party, live on my own, excessively drink, go to keggers, and eat a lot of street meat. I can’t even go back and try to finish these degrees because after a certain amount of time they become null and void and you have to start over. So that was a decade of loan payments for a whole lot of nothing which makes me sad of the lost opportunity. I would do a lot better if I went to school at this age than I ever did in my early 20’s since I am in a completely different mindset. I no longer believe I am invincible.
Back to my complete lack of experience and education. I can’t do anything from home because I am not “qualified”. I’m smart though, I work hard, I am really good at figuring out how to do stuff on my own, and I am willing to learn like a lot of friends of mine that are in the same boat. But in this day and age they don’t want to have to invest any time into you to teach you anything.They want to be able to say your hired, here is your work, submit when complete. And if you can’t do that the next person in line will. I know there is a lot of us out there, sitting at home just wishing there was something else we could do. Some way to help to alleviate the burden of sole financial responsibility so why hasn’t someone solved this dilemma yet? I mean, there is a huge market worldwide of us SAHM’s and I have never come across anything that is attainable without a list of credentials or a portfolio. That is the Catch 22. I need to go back to school to get qualified to get a job but I can’t afford to go back to school, so I need a job. It is the never ending roundabout and I am just so dizzy and so tired of going around.
The second job I ever had (aside from babysitting) was for a small boutique. I didn’t have any experience in retail at that point but I was young, charming and willing to work. Several years later when the business closed, I remember my boss telling me on our final day “You were the best chance I ever took.” I walked home crying that day. I wish I could stick that on my resume and use it as my selling point.
*Every time I say stay at home mom, I actually mean stay at home parent. I don’t want to not be inclusive of those stay at home dads too. I am just talking from my own experience of myself and women I know.