It is a strange feeling to be pushing 40 yet still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Comedian Paula Poundstone had a joke, “Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.”

After staying home with kids for nearly a decade, the attempt to find a new path has been a difficult one. There are several possibilities to consider:

Do I find a full time job and hope it pays enough to cover child care?

Do I find a part time job and hope the hours fit just right?

Do I go back to finish my degree at $900 per class? (ouch)

Do I grab a shield and some cahones and run for local office?

Is running away and joining the circus still an option???

Time is moving fast; faster than ever, in fact, which only leads me to believe this momentum is not going to slow down. My father died at age 46. Granted, he was far less healthy than I – but I cannot help but to use that as some sort of demented gauge. What I am trying to say is: time is running out for all of us and I am starting to feel it.

The cracks in our drought stricken earth are starting to remind me of the new lines on my face and hands. I am already more tired than I used to be. And I have to admit, at times, I have a strong desire to wear Depends Undergarments. Not because I need to, but because I am lazy and have to pee a lot. Point is I’m getting old, alright?

Being a stay at home mom has had its benefits. We have made a lot of sacrifices so that I could be home with the kids instead of them being at a daycare all day while I made peanuts. But they are older now (12 and 7) and I feel I need to discover some new roles for myself. I simply do not think that folding towels and making sandwiches is my ultimate destiny.

I sure could have made it easier on myself had I finished college when I was younger; while I had the time, energy and it was more affordable. Tuition has about tripled since my last days at Parkside. Imagining those loans is enough to kick start an arrhythmia. Why, oh, why didn’t I finish back then? I suppose any forehead smacking is a waste of time at this point. But for the youngins out there – do it now – the 38-year-old in you will be most appreciative. Four-year, associate, trade, whatever….do it, finish it. Don’t squander those years as I have.

The jobs I had in my 20s paid about $14 an hour. Those same jobs now appear to be paying $8 to $10. My latest babysitter charged $10 an hour. Clearly, working for that wage would be a waste. Unless, of course, the position allowed me to schedule hours around the kids’ days. But when do you ever find a job like that? Making money would be awfully nice though, even if it wasn’t a lot. Just feeling as though I am contributing and becoming somewhat financially independent would sure do a lot for my increasingly faltering ego.

A Patch commenter posted once that I was basically worthless because I didn’t have a “real” job, had no skills and made no money. The term “real” could be debatable. It is true I make no money as a stay at home mom. But skills? I have what they callmad skills, my friends.

I started babysitting when I was 10. Gosh, that seems young, but we must have been more mature back in the day, weren’t we? You know, when we were walking uphill both ways to school in 10 feet of snow? I began working at the mall when I was 14. And I worked many different jobs (anything from server to office manager to HR assistant to surgery coordinator) up until about age 29 when I started staying home with children.

Since I have been home, I have learned how to budget for a family of four on a very modest income. I complete all of our taxes, take care of every bill and even sold a house without any assistance. I have an abundance of medical knowledge from researching every illness I was worried about the kids having. I can paint a room, caulk a tub and replace a toilet flushy thingy. I can cook the pants off lots of ya; you should really try my pasta sauce. I can maintain a crazy schedule with many appointments, school concerts and birthdays. And I plan parties and events pretty darn well.

I volunteer. I write. I teach. I heal. I plan. I learn. I organize. I repair. I clean. I cook. I delegate. I discipline. I balance. I listen. See…I do stuff!

But nonetheless, it is time for me to find more to do. Something new. Something productive. Something worthwhile. Something that gives me pride, a wage or maybe even something that makes a difference.

Where the road will take me, I do not know. But I am grabbin’ the keys and am on my way. Eat my chalk dust. Seriously, the drive way is covered in drawings.



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