Have you ever had the experience of liking someone a lot, scribbling down your phone number on their hand or a scrap of paper, and then waiting for them to call? It's been quite a long time since I have had that experience, that is until now. This past month I decided that it was time to dust off my resume and get back into the workforce. I spend hours scouring the Internet and find great jobs online that I think are a perfect fit for me, but even with some follow up phone calls it's led to a whole lot of nothing. The world isn't kind to stay-at-home moms looking to reenter the workforce. While some moms make the choice to stay at home, I sort of fell into the role.
Before having my son, I was on mandatory bed rest...for six months. Initially I thought after he was born I would enroll him in some sort of childcare situation and head back into the work world. My husband and I talked to potential nannies online. Some had iffy transportation. Some wanted to bring their pets with them. For whatever reason, we just couldn't find the right person to fit our needs so we enrolled our baby boy at a highly recommended childcare center downtown and realized within hours after his first day that it just wouldn't work. What happened? We decided to do a test run and leave our child at the center for about six hours to see how things went. When I went to pick up our son that afternoon, I saw that he was left alone in a bouncy seat facing a wall. I quickly unbuckled him and scooped him up into my arms. His face was pink and puffy as if he had been crying. I asked the women working why he was put in what was essentially isolation. They responded that every time they passed by him, he would cry because he wanted to be picked up.
I was in shock. How long was he left like this? Of course he wanted to be held. It was his first day there. He missed me. The thought of my son crying for potentially hours was just too much for me. In addition, the bottles I provided for his meals were still full and his diaper was wet. The staff said he didn't want to eat but seeing how he was left made me question their authenticity. In the parking lot I called my husband up sobbing. I told him the center could keep the deposit but our baby was never going back there again. It was in that moment that I knew I would become a stay-at-home mom. I didn't want to give the facility another chance and I was tired of touring childcare facilities and hearing about their wait lists.
The role of SAHM has been tough, tiring, but AMAZING. I will never regret my decision. My son and I have grown together. I've watched him develop into a funny, loving, inquisitive, athletic young man and he's watched me become a more confident, capable, compassionate mother. Watching children grow from adorable, little chubby-cheeked cherubs into young girls and boys makes one think about the future. Now more than ever I'm amazed at how quickly time passes. It feels like we just celebrated Christmas and yet my husband has been bugging me to decide where we should go for summer vacation this year. I know that in a blink of an eye our little boy will be applying to colleges. The cost of college tuition just keeps increasing, and while we'd like to think we're youthful and spritely, my husband and I know that retirement looms in the not so distant future. Thinking about these monumental events, and the fact that I miss being productive in a professional environment, makes me want to reenter the workforce however the workforce isn't eager to hire parents without "current/recent experience." My past accomplishments as a public relations professional, raising a child/running a household, volunteering, and blogging unfortunately aren't given much weight.
It would be so easy for me to sit here and feel sorry for myself, but having been on this earth for as long as I have I know that there are far worse things than not getting a call back from a potential employer. I also know that life is about the journey. Things happen in their own way and in their own time. I can recall how a little after a year into our relationship my husband took me out to dinner for Valentine's Day. Friends and family were sure that my now husband was going to ask me to marry him. He made reservations at Spike and Charlie's downtown. We got all gussied up in our finest duds. While waiting for the first course to arrive my husband began to sweat and turn pale. Just as our appetizer arrived, he told me that he was so sorry but that he wasn't feeling well and needed to leave. I reached across the table and touched his forehead. He was as hot as a tea kettle. We left the restaurant quickly. He dropped me off at my apartment and drove home. It turns out he was coming down with what turned out to be the flu. First thing the next morning I started receiving phone calls and emails with messages such as, "Did he ask?" "Are you engaged?" Congratulations!"
I won't deny feeling at the time like it was the worst Valentine's day ever. The holiday had my boyfriend laid up with the flu, me eating a bowl of cold cereal for dinner, and now I had to tell everyone that their hunch was wrong. About a week later, as I was about to get on a train to visit my family in NJ, my boyfriend revealed that he had planned on asking me to marry him on Valentine's Day. Before his statement could even register in my brain, he got down on one knee, opened up a velvet box and asked me to marry him. It wasn't planned. It wasn't expected. It didn't happen on anyone's timeline but when it happened, it was absolutely perfect. Whether I understand it or not, I need this pause and quiet time right now. Although the waiting can be frustrating, I know the right job with the right employer will come along when it's the right time. It's how life works. In the meantime, I will continue to send out my resume and make follow-up phone calls. I will continue to volunteer and blog. I will continue to learn and grow with my family and when the time is right, I will get that call. ~HZM