I’m coming dangerously close to celebrating my first year of unemployment and can I tell you how much it sucks? Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for my adjunct position at the University, but I really miss working full~time. I miss being in a library. I miss helping people. I miss having a reason to wake up in the morning, put on a fabulous pair of shoes and leave my house.
You see, I kind of straddle this weird line ~ I’m not really a stay~at~home~mom (SAHM) because I don’t have any little people that I’m caring for during the day. I have a house full of tweens and teens who really only need me to drive them from Point A to Point B and give them money when they need it. So I can’t exactly go to any “Mommy and Me” groups to make friends. That would be creepy. And all the people who have children my age are working during the day. So I spend a majority of my time online, reading books and watching television. This is not how I imagined my life would be.
Although I keep track of my library friends, I’ve found that as time has passed that I have little in common with them. While they’re talking ILSes, big bad vendors and other hot topics in Library Land, the only thing I can contribute is “Today on Oprah….” So I’ve removed myself from the conversation and in the process, I’ve lost an important part of myself.
For five years, I was a SAHM to four children under the age of five while attending college. My plate was full so I didn’t really have time to focus on what I was missing (friends, conversation, a life, etc)…. But when I started working, I realized how much I had lost. Again I’m not complaining, I truly value the time that I spent with my kids and I know that we are much better for the time that I spent with them, but I also gave up a lot to be a SAHM. While working in the library, I was able to create an identity separate from my husband and my children (It was so nice to be known as Dani and not as “Tony’s wife” or “So~and~so’s mom”). Then I started interacting with other information professionals online and I started to feel like my voice was being heard. I felt like I was contributing to something deep and meaningful. Omg, it felt good.
Now that I’m coming up on a year of unemployment, I find myself questioning my place. I read with interest Meredith’s post about finding the work/family/fun balance and I wish that I had taken a more practical approach to my life. I wish that I had found that balance that Meredith seems to have found but I didn’t and I wonder sometimes if it’s too late in the game for me.
Unfortunately, my family situation dictates that relocating for a job simply isn’t an option and positions in libraries around here are relatively scarce. So I’ve begun to expand my employment horizons and look into other career fields. For me, this is a scary proposition because I truly enjoyed working in a library. I gained a great deal of satisfaction from helping people locate information. For me, helping students with research was like going on a treasure hunt and I can honestly say there wasn’t a day that passed where I didn’t learn something new.
So now I sit here wondering What next?