Becoming a SAHM
When I had my fist 2 children, I was a working mother. The decision to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) was an organic one. However I never intended it to be a permanent position. My husband had just gone active duty and I decided not to return to child care. I wanted to try something new, but I didn’t know what that something was.
Fast forward 14 years and we’ve added another child and a couple of fur babies to our family. And I’m still a SAHM.
What to do next?
One of the reasons staying at home became an organic decision was because I thought it would be nice to have another child and be able to stay at home to raise it. A year later our 3 child was born completing our family.
But slowly over the next year I found myself becoming more and more unhappy with life. I never got out of the house. I never had other adults to talk to. Most of my friends had jobs and my husband was at work or training all the time. I was lonely and often felt irrelevant. Not to mention that I was so busy taking care of my husband, children, and house, that I wasn’t taking care of myself.
I finally sat down with my husband and told him that I wanted to go back to school. I found a program that looked interesting and started taking the general studies necessary for the program.
Today I have my associates degree in Respiratory Therapy and I’m a certified EKG Technician. Yep I was pretty close to being a serial degree earner.
While becoming a SAHM was an organic decision, the decision to go back to work wasn’t. I never seemed to find that thing that just fit.
So I earned my associates in Respiratory Therapy, then used our PCS to California as an excuse to stay home. I mean the kids needed me at home right? And our youngest was no longer in preschool.
I had all my excuses ready and I wasn’t afraid to use them. Our oldest has ADHD, our youngest was diagnosed with autism in the first grade. If I didn’t stay home to handle it all, who would right?
The truth is, I just couldn’t seem to find the thing that fit me and I was scared. So I would earn a degree or certification, or sign up for one MLM or another trying to at least contribute something while making those excuses.
Finally reality hit. I started to realize that it won’t be long before my husband is eligible for retirement and we are sorely unprepared for that day. My dream after he retires is to be able to buy a house and maybe even travel. But you need money, and savings, and clean credit for that.
It was time to put on my big girl panties and get over myself.
Somewhere in my head I thought finding a job would be easy. I mean I had the certifications and background to easily find work in a hospital right? Plus, the military hospital was always hiring from what I had been told.
I was wrong!
Writing a resume is hard! Especially when you have a 14 year gap in your employment history. My hard earned EKG certification wasn’t accepted by the local hospitals, and the military hospital that “is always hiring” wasn’t.
I was frustrated!
Then as I was doing an online job search for EKG jobs, a miracle happened. A completely unrelated job popped up in my search. It caught my eye enough that even though it wasn’t in my field, I decided to give it a look.
I’m so glad I did.
The job listing was for a behavioral technician position at CARD (Centers for Autism and Related Disorders). It was a part time entry level position, with paid training, paid travel, flexible hours, and room for promotion.
It was perfect!
The part time flexible hours make for a great transition for someone like me who hasn’t worked outside the house in 14 years. The career progression and promotion possibilities let me know that this can be a long term career if I want it.
The biggest plus for me though is the training.
Let me explain. One of the reasons that I was so hesitant to get jobs in my other fields is because even after graduating, I didn’t feel like I knew the job well enough to do them without supervision. In other words, I was scared.
There was no worries with this job though with it’s supervised on the job training along with paid eLearning modules and paid certification. I wasn’t scared, I was excited!
Plus I already felt like I was ahead of the game, having worked with my son who has autism for the last several years.
Then came the stress
All was going well. I applied for the job and my application was accepted, aced my interview, and was hired the next day. I signed my life away in paperwork, got all vaccinations and TB tests done and nothing.
You read that right. Nothing.
A week went by. My start date came and went and I hadn’t heard back from the person in charge of my packet. I sent emails and waited all for nothing. Finally, I got in touch with someone only to be referred back to the same person who did absolutely nothing again.
I started wondering if they had changed their minds. Nervousness, anger, and frustration was taking over. I kept having to remind myself that I signed their contracts and that they hadn’t contacted me to rescind their offer.
At the time all this was happening, I was reading a book called You Are A Badass by Jenn Sincero. The book itself was goofy to read but the message was one that I needed at the time. It talked about staying positive even when you are presented with obstacles. That what you put out into the universe is what you will receive.
So every day, I would get on my treadmill (my zen place) and I would work it out with myself until I was able to put positive vibes out in the world concerning my new job. My husband was big help in this area. He believed in this opportunity for me and wouldn’t allow me to give up! Yes he’s awesome!
My persistence and positive thinking finally paid off and a month after my original start date, I was able to begin training. I am now a Board Certified Autism Specialist working to become a Registered Behavior Technician with a goal towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.
I never asked what caused the delay. It wasn’t important. All that is important now is that I am working and I am constantly improving.
The Whole Point
Transitions are hard. Being a stay at home parent is hard. Finding the right career is hard. Going back to school is hard. Returning back to work after a long absence is hard. But with trial and error, persistence, a whole lot of positive thinking, and a good support system, you can accomplish anything. Never quit looking. The right fit for you in what ever you are looking for might show itself when you least expect it!
If you need help keeping a positive mindset, there are plenty of good books out there like You Are A Badass that can help you with that. You Got This!