Just Ask Joyce: Stay At Home Mom Asks “Should I Get a Job?”
Q: “I have been a stay-at-home mom for a number of years. I have a college degree that has been doing me little to no good since I had an unplanned pregnancy our first year of marriage. Five children later, I’m rusty in business administration, to say the least. Our oldest is in high school; our youngest is a toddler. Part of me wants to stay home with the baby, but a bigger part of me is ready to return to the workforce. My husband travels a lot and, quite frankly, I get lonely for adult companionship. What would you do?
Joyce’s FIX: Motherhood is the only job that makes you rich without paying you a dime.
I applaud your years of sacrifice. I will assure you, the cost will be nominal to the returns you receive in years to come. I get the impression this will be your last child. You have a college degree, albeit somewhat dated. Why not enjoy the next few years you have with your baby at home while you brush up on some online college courses to freshen up your degree? By the time your baby is in school much of the day, you will likely have discovered where your fit will be in the workforce. Perhaps you’ll explore your options for a business from home. With advanced technology, many people are finding flexible means and hours to work.
Regarding your loneliness, there are avenues you could embrace as well. Join a book club. If a daytime club, get a reliable sitter and give yourself a break and fellowship. Allow your high-schooler to watch the kids at night and have a standing night with friends. Invite people into your home for coffee or lunch. There are many stay-at-homers who experience the same sort of symptoms of isolation. Get plugged into a volunteer program that you find rewarding. If your kids have grandparents nearby and they’re willing to watch your toddler, get involved in tennis or a sport you love.
Perhaps it’s time to have a discussion with your husband about changing jobs and getting one that keeps him home on a more permanent routine. Getting into the workplace is not going to change that aspect of your dilemma, and it has been known to further complicate things. I’m not suggesting it would in your case. I’m merely sharing the idea for consideration.
Now, to address the question you asked specifically — what would I do if I were in your position? The realization of the fleeting element of time hit me square in the face once my oldest graduated high school. Had I been able to control the hands of time, I might have put my successful career as a court reporter on hold for a few more years. I did work in the home until after they began school. Once I established my business, I even had the luxury of seldom missing events in which they were involved. However, I also missed more moments than I care to recall simply because duty called and the business owned me at those times. If you were financially strapped and work was necessary, my advice would be different. But if I had the option of staying at home or entering the workforce, I’d give every possible moment to your youngest child. Each of our children deserves our best we can give as a parent.
Struggling with a relationship issue? Write Joyce Oglesby, Family Life FIX-IT Pro at firstname.lastname@example.org and find a solution for life.