Friday, January 29, 2010

17 years, 5 months and 15 days...


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....

21 comments:

strokeofliving said...

Yes 17+5+15 is an great SAHM run and yes you are completely blessed to have two albeit P/T jobs in this economy. It does't matter that you hadn't considered how all of this would make you feel. What matters is that you realized the joy these two opportunities are currently bring to your life.

Congratulations!

Anita said...

I understand your points, and while I am very happy for you, I worry that your f/t job status may impact your blog, and keeping in touch. I think I would love a p/t job, it is the best of both worlds. Now if it could pay well.........that would be icing on the cake.
Good luck!!!

Gibby said...

This is such an interesting perspective, because after being a SAHM for 8 years, I feel like I have no identity. I feel like I used to, back when I had a career, but now I am just somebody who stays at home, waiting for one of my kids to beckon. But I guess that this IS my identity, and I had better embrace it by now! Congrats on your new job...both jobs sound perfect for you!

Sue Jackson said...

Pam -

What an interesting and thought-provoking post! I made a decision to leave my career and become a SAHM in 2000 (wow, 10 years ago now!). At the time, we thought we had enough in savings to keep us going for about 18 months and then I'd go back to work - it was supposed to be a temporary break! Two years later, I got sick, so it was good I was no longer working outside the home. Now I do freelance writing, part-time.

I wouldn't worry too much about having two part-time jobs instead of one full-time one because...you love what you do!! That is more important than anything else. I think both of your jobs sound awesome. I worked in my school libraries in middle school and college, and I always enjoyed it.

Good luck on this new chapter in your life!

Sue

Diane said...

Good luck Pam. Working with inter-library loans was good and bad for me, as I found way too many great sounding books to add to my TBR/Wish list LOL

injaynesworld said...

When the Universe opens a door like this, step through it. You never know where it's going to lead. Best of luck on this new chapter.

Jayne

Mass Hole Mommy said...

Hi there! Friday following!

tori said...

You are the busiest SAHM I've heard of. By what you descibed as your duties at your p/t job it sounds like full time responsibilites! I'm amazed. I hope you love your new job just as much as your first and you don't feel too overwhelmed (it's normal to feel that way at first until you adjust) but you know if this blog suffers I'll be begging you to quit! :)
good luck!!

Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandy said...

(Me again...typo I couldn't live with.) News to me as well. I think the new job sounds interesting. The fact that you became a SAHM as a CAREER I think makes this even more bittersweet. It's really like changing jobs after 17 years. Anyone would have mixed feelings about that. Good luck! I can't wait to hear more about it.

~Shelley~ said...

I've been a SAHM for over 10 years now..and I LOVE IT!! The hardest, yet most rewarding, job there is :)

New follower from "Friday Follow"! I'd love for you to come visit me!

Have a great weekend!
~Shelley

Alexis AKA MOM said...

What a great time and to be able to be home is great. The library jobs sound great and something you love to do is even better. I've been blessed to work from home for a few months now and loving the flexibility and the time to be with the kids.

Sounds like a great win win situation :)

Felissa Hadas said...

Stopping by to follow and say hello with Friday Follow. Congratulations on reaching 100 followers.

Felissa
www.felissahadas.blogspot.com

Marie said...

Congratulations and good luck:-) I hope the new job is great and that you enjoy this new chapter in your life!

Isk8Jewel (~Julie~) said...

Congratulations! I hope you are able to continue to find joy in your library jobs... I think you will. Best of luck!

Veronica King: aka Queen Vee said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! Yours is too cute!

It's amazing that you were able to be a stay-at-home mom for that long, I wish I could afford to do the same. But it'll be a nice change of pace doing something outside of the home that you enjoy! Best of luck! =]

Midday Escapades said...

Congrats on your new job and this new phase of your life. I am actually the opposite of you. I have a 17 and 15 year old and I'm only now thinking I might be able to be a WAHM.

Thanks also for linking up with Friday Follow. I'm your newest blog follower.

Mommakin said...

Oh, congrats, Pam. It will be wonderful, I'm sure. Really. This is great, exciting news!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

It always takes a while to adjust to a new role, but it sounds like you're ready, more or less. My career was my identity for way to long. Now I think of myself first as a grandma-caregiver, even though I still work half-time in the office. It's good to explore new facets of our selves.

Mattenylou said...

Best of luck at your new job! I worked at our library for years, lots of fun, you'll love doing the ILLs, enjoy!

Anita said...

Hi Pam, I'm visiting via Best Post of the Week.
I'm one of the many stay-at-ome mom bloggers, and must say that I'm addicted to it as many of us are. :)
As I was reading your bio, I envied your energy to do all of what you do!

I wish you well with on your new journey!

Oh, coincidentally, I wrote a post a few days ago talking about the career that I "used" to have. Many bloggers wrote interesting comments. Stop by an take a look at if you'd like.

 

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