By L. V. Gaudet
© October 2010
Life always seems to have a way of throwing changes at us. Birth, death, marriage, divorce.
I weathered two big life changes with a mixture of fear, dread, wonder, and eagerness. First, becoming a mother, and second, becoming a stay at home parent. Both added a new dimension to my world, a whole new life full of trials both expected and unexpected.
The next life change had a much smaller impact on my world. What is supposed to be perhaps the biggest day of a girl’s life wasn’t that big life changing day a girl dreams of. But then, it was more of a public sharing of what we already knew – that we were already married in our hearts and home. The party was done, the guests gone home, and bills waited to be paid. There were no eye openers as everyone behaved pretty much as expected. As with any wedding there will always be both regrets and good things.
Now life brings me to the next big change. The girls are both in school full time and it’s time to consider the next phase of my life, the return to work. It may not be the biggest change my life has had, but at the moment it feels like the biggest.
As I sit here contemplating that next move – getting a job, I have to admit that I am a bit scared. It kind of feels like getting your very first job as a young adult.
Let’s face it, after six years as an unemployed stay-at-home parent preceded by almost seven years working with the same company, I haven’t have to job search in roughly thirteen years. And, six years of unemployment will hardly help my employability, regardless of its reason.
I need four basic items before I can even start. The first two are easy enough. My iron is older than my house, and they both certainly have seen better days. And my ironing board, well I have my suspicions that it may pre-date womens’ right to vote in our fair country. It’s well past time to retire it.
The most challenging problem, of course, will be finding suitable childcare. Any childcare I find would have to be able to either get the kids to and from school directly, to and from their designated bus stop for our house, or to and from another existing bus route and just hope to heck there is room on that bus every year for them because the school board won’t make room on a bus route that doesn’t deliver them to their residence. And, of course, there is always the possibility of having to change schools and send the kids to another town – assuming the school has room and is willing to take them, and there is some means of getting them to school from the childcare provider. I desperately hope to keep them in their home town school where they can grow up knowing and becoming friends with the kids in their own neighborhood.
Of course none of this is new and I certainly am not the first parent to face this dilemma. It’s all part of being a working parent and dealing with a desperate shortage of childcare spaces and lack of school transportation for daycare kids.
Going into the world of parenthood, I thought full time childcare spaces would be hard to find. They are, but they’re not as scarce as that elusive animal – the before and after school care. There has been a big push lately for creating daycare spaces and the drive to get every child below school age into some form of preschool program. But when it comes to the need for spaces and transportation for kids after they hit kindergarten, the ball has not only been dropped, it’s been lost down the sewer grate.
The last thing I need is in a bit of a catch-22 situation. Looking at my wardrobe it’s very clear that, after two kids and so many years without replacing the items in my wardrobe, I’m going to need a job to buy the clothes I need to get a job.
So, while I ponder the how-to’s of returning to work, continue my snipe-hunt for the ever elusive before and after school childcare that will actually allow the kids to get to school, and steel myself for the coming tide of rejections; I will try to not think about how returning to work will change the dynamics of our family life, or how I’ll juggle cramming everything I do now into a few very short evening hours like all the other working moms do. That is as thought for another day.