Monday, June 7, 2010

Trading Sneakers for Skirts


I have a full-time job. But future employers won’t find it on my resume, and my current employers won't give me recommendations. I earn no salary, and I don’t get sick days. If I’m lucky, I’m allowed vacation days, but I have to bring my work with me. The job requires no formal education, no background checks, no prior work experience, and no dress code. It’s the most challenging position I’ve ever had, yet also the most rewarding.

What is my occupation? I go by many titles, but I prefer Domestic Engineer or Household Commander in Chief. Stay-At-Home Mom is false advertising because I rarely stay at home. And Housewife is antiquated and downright insulting. Clearly, I’m not married to my house. I’m also not a fan of Homemaker, Soccer Mom, or Mistress of the House. You can call me what you like, but don’t ever accuse me of not having a “real” job. This profession is real, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

Although I love my job, I feel it’s time to move on. With one child thriving in school and another more than ready for social interaction with age-appropriate peers, I realize my employers no longer require my services on a full-time basis. On a personal level, I have to admit I’m craving fulfillment in another venture.

The prospect of returning to the workforce is frightening. Although my current little bosses are demanding and their needs dictate my daily schedule, they are ultimately quite forgiving when I make mistakes or occasionally show up late for work still wearing my pajamas. They didn’t hire me, and as much as they may try, they can’t fire me. I can’t say the same for employers in the real world.

So what’s a Domestic Engineer to do when she’s ready to cut back on her hours and pursue a vocation elsewhere? She weighs her options, polishes her resume, and fights her nerves during interviews. And if she’s anything like me, she contains her mixture of fear and excitement as she calmly and professionally accepts a job offer from an employer who never questioned the fact that she spent the last 6 years wearing sneakers and ponytails, changing poopy diapers, and singing along with Dora the Explorer.

As I mentally prepare myself for my new job, I wonder how my life will change. Will I have the time and energy to give my loved ones the attention they’ve grown accustomed to? Will my weekends be spent playing catch-up as I use my days off to complete the tasks I normally do during the week? Will my time away from the kids make me a better mother? Will I have any time to myself?

I also think about how will my career shift will affect my family. Responsibilities that once fell solely on my shoulders will have to be shared with my husband, and the children's schedules will have to adapt to fit mine.  Everyone in the house will have to chip in to compensate for the hours I won't be clocking in at home.  It will be a major life change not only for me, but for all of us.

I value my experience as a Domestic Engineer. I’m certain that the work ethic, patience, and creativity I’ve learned through intense on-the-job training have prepared me for the new job I am about to start. I know that when my first day of work rolls around and I trade in my sneakers for skirts, I will embark on this new endeavor with the confidence that I did the best I could as a full-time Domestic Engineer and performed my duties with the utmost dedication and love. Will I miss it? Absolutely. But I remind myself that I’m not quitting my old job, I’ll simply be doing it part-time. This chapter of my life may be ending, but the storyline will continue through many chapters to come, just with a new character added to the mix. And I can’t wait to turn the page and find out what happens next.


17 comments:

  1. LOVE this post and the new blog design! and i wish you all the best returning to outside employment :-) i should tell you the story sometime of the "working mom" i encountered at a dr's office one day who was ranting about how she needed her child seen NOW because she wasn't "just a housewife" - yeah, that was a fun day :-)

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  2. One thing I can tell you is this, "Don't be hard on yourself" You will feel guilty but you'll get past it. Nothing is as good for your children as having a mother that is happy. If working "outside" the home makes you happy go for it..and as most woman know, when we chose to work outside the home, the work inside the home never stops! Good luck, I am sure you will do great!

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  3. AMAZING post! My Mom calls herself a Domestic Goddess, and even writes that down when having to fill out paperwork. Good luck in your new job, I know everything will fall into place for you and your family. =)

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  4. Great post! Congrats on your new job! :)

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  5. Great post - so funny - and I totally get it. While staying "at home" with my kids has been the hardest thing I've ever done, I know it. I know I'm reasonably good at it, and the thought of going back into the "workforce" is terrifying (but also awfully appealing). Good luck and I'm looking forward to hearing what comes next!

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  6. For many years, I was a single mom to three boys. I had a full time job with a forty five minute commute and a 70 pound dog that needed attention, too. It's not easy. But you do it because just like with deployment you are strong enough to. I am no longer a single mom but since I have yet to live with my husband, I still run my home like I am. You'll get in the groove and you'll do fine. Here are a few tips that may help....

    1. Keep a bedtime for your children. Sometimes, those precious few hours between their bedtime and theirs may be the difference in break and break down.

    2. Ask for help. Your husband is there so have him help fold laundry while you talk about your day or watch a movie. Throw socks at his head to motivate him! :)

    3. Give the littles chores too. Even though you may have to re-do things...don't let them out of it. Otherwise, you'll find that you are forever doing it instead of simply re-doing it for awhile. Your oldest can set the table, put shoes away, fold washcloths and help match socks. Your youngest can help pick up toys.

    4. Crock pot. A lot. At least until you are in a better routine and know what your evening schedule will be like.

    5. Don't be supermom. You probably won't be able to do everything that you used to do. If you need to send cookies in for school, give yourself a break and buy them. There's nothing stating you can't put them in a tupperware container. :)

    6. Throw a load of laundry in the washer every morning and in the dryer every night.

    7. Friday night do pizza or Chinese or anything that is quick and easy and just let's you relax and reconnect with your family.

    8. Let Saturday be errand day but stop all errands at noon and spend the rest of the time doing family things. The kids will need it and so will you.

    9. Use your lunch break to do bank runs, pharmacy pickups and dry clean drop offs if you can. It can make you feel like you have no lunch but you will be glad you did when you only have two or three quick errands on the weekend.

    10. Get ready the night before. Have clothes picked out. Bowls on the table ready for breakfast (oh and buy pop tarts...they will be life savers on the mornings you run late!), back packs packed and in the car. I have one son who HATES getting up so every night he would go to bed with clean socks on because he said that let him sleep in some (I drew the line at going to bed fully clothed!).

    :) Sorry for the long comment. I've just juggled home and work alone for so long that I've learned a few things along the way.Good luck and Congrats!!

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  7. Congrats on the new job dear. I know you will do well!

    www.musingsofanarmywife.blogspot.com

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  8. Oh that means you got the job you wanted! I am so very pleased for you. I love the way you have revealed this in such a cleverly written post. It is interesting, the questions you pose. As for you doing well in your new job I am absolutely convinced that you will thrive. With regards to everyone else adjusting to this change, including your current employers, it will be interesting to see how it unfolds and I can't wait to read all about it because at some point I want to follow in your footsteps.

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  9. How exciting! Can't wait to hear more about the new position.

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  10. Cute =) So what are you going to do next? I have a feeling I may be getting something part time in the fall also, I'm sorta nervous, but also excited! I hope it's a fabulous experience for you!!

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  11. don't kid yourself into thinking that your "previous job" will be part-time just because you've taken on another full-time job :). that being said, congrats and good luck with the new position!!

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  12. How exciting! Good luck! :)

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  13. Good luck and congrats on your new job! Cant wait to hear more!

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  14. Congrats on your new job! I am looking forward too yet dragging my feet to do this. I still have a few years until my youngest is old enough but I think it will just be a new chapter and adventure. Go you!

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  15. Congratulations and best wishes toward this next exciting phase of your life. We are all rooting for you!

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  16. I forgot a couple more things....

    Buy an alarm clock radio for your oldest. Set it to go off about ten minutes before it's actually time to get out of bed. Those few minutes will help wake him up (I'm not sure if you have boys or girls so I say him because mine are hims!). It will help him get out of bed and get moving once it's time to "kick it in High Gear!".

    And lastly....relax. Enjoy this! You'll learn as you go!

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  17. This is absolutely one of my favorites!!! What a wonderful, fantastic blog!!!! A must read for all Domestic Engineers getting ready to enter back into the work place!!! AWESOME!!!

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