17 years, 5 months and 15 days. That's how long I've been a stay home mom. Even though I've worked part-time since 2002, I still consider myself to be a SAHM because my work hours have always accommodated my kids' schedules very well. Very rarely have I not been available for my kids due to work. Well that is all about to change. Today is my very last day as a SAHM. That's right. Next week I will be starting a new job.
I won't be leaving my current job at the library. But I will be adding another part time job at another nearby library. I really enjoy my current job and the fact that I get to wear a lot of hats and do a lot of fun things. Even though I don't have a Library Science degree, because our library is small and understaffed, I get to run a book club, write book reviews and a book blog, I get to choose and order all the DVDs for the library, in addition to keeping up with all the regular Circulation duties. My new job duties won't be as varied and I won't be working with the public, but I will be handling all the inter-library loans for the library and that is something I enjoy and don't get to do too much of in my current job.
I must admit when I was first offered the job, I was very excited. And I felt very lucky to have found a job in this economy. And both of my employers were more than willing to be flexible with my hours so that I could accommodate both jobs. But after a few days, the reality of the situation really began to hit me. Gone will be lunches and field trips with friends and days when I can just relax if life has gotten hectic. No longer will I have plenty of free time in which to run errands, make appointments, or just relax in the morning with the newspaper and a bowl of cereal. I will no longer be available immediately after school, if my girls need to stay after and miss the bus. All of this did give me pause. But the thing that really brought me up short was when I realized that I can no longer think of myself as SAHM.
I hadn't thought about that when I applied, interviewed and accepted this job. I didn't realize that my "title", my very identity, would be changed by a simple part-time job. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. I'm really OK with no longer being a SAHM. After all, my girls are 17 and 15. Let's face it, my kids really aren't "home" all that much. They don't really need an at home mom. And I don't mind working more hours, though it is going to take a little getting used to. I think the thing that bothers me most is that I'm giving up my "identity" and all my free time for two low level, low paying jobs. If I'm going to work almost full time, I think I would feel better about it if I was being well compensated for that time. Of course, this is no different than when I had one part time, low paying job. But since it was only part time, I could easily justify it by saying it was about the joy and not about the money. And that is still true. But one part time job is a hobby, two is a career. I'm not sure if it's still going to feel joyful. Of course, I didn't think about any of this when I applied for the job. I know it sounds like I'm complaining, and I promise you, I'm not. I've just come to a realization and I'm contemplating how I feel about it.
In any case, 17 years, 5 months and 15 days is an amazing run. I'm lucky that I was able to do that for as long as I did. And it was never something I took for granted. I was grateful for it every single day. I think what's bothering me is that it's over and I didn't think about that when I decided to apply for and accept this new job (truthfully it all happened very fast and almost by accident. But that's another post).
Well, next week begins a brand new chapter in my life. I'm anxious to see how it will unfold....