What Being A Stay At Home Mum Has Cost Me
When my son was born I felt my lost income pretty quickly. I’d worked in childcare up until three weeks before my due date. After squirreling money away in preparation for taking time off work with him it was pretty painful watching that bank account flip into reverse and slowly drain out.
When he was six months old I picked up a job working two mornings a week in a creche for a personal trainer who trained a groups of mothers. Over the following year I worked part time as a nanny for a couple of families on different days, and also another part time creche position. Yep. Some weeks I could work three different jobs over four days.
But I was willing to do anything I could to keep working. I had my son with me at all times, and it proved impossible to find one job that could offer me all the hours that I needed, that would also allow me to take my son to work with me.
Although it was sometimes a bit of a shambles, I actually really enjoyed the variety.
Back To Regular Work
We then moved interstate and we enrolled our son – two years old by then – into childcare. I also started a regular part time job in a childcare center. I worked two to four days a week. And life was pretty normal for a while there. Until baby number two came along. So I left childcare to return to being a full time stay at home mum.
Which is where I’ve remained for most of the last six years.
It’s been a privilege and a joy to be able to be at home with my kids, and I’m grateful that our family has been able to afford to survive on one income. It’s not been without sacrifice, but this time has been well worth it.
However I didn’t realise just how much I’d given up until now.
The Real Cost
There is a nearly six year gaping hole in my resume. I’ve worked sporadically as an Ergobaby product demonstrator, but even that job has started to fade out into the distance. The last time I worked for them being over a year ago.
Otherwise, I’ve obviously been very active writing for the last five years, but I’m not sure if potential employers are really seeing that as something that “counts”.
So, I’ve dusted off my resume, attached a cover letter explaining my absence from the working world, and have spent the last couple of months sending it off in all directions.
And have heard very little in response.
And the responses I have had want references. Current, contactable, relevant, references. And ideally more than one. Which I’m struggling to provide. For example I have a glowing written reference from an employer saying that I was not only great at my job, but my colleagues improved from working alongside me. How nice is that?! But it was written in 2010. Apparently that makes it a bit out of date.
I’m starting to realise that maybe it was arrogance on my behalf to think I could take half a decade out of work and then just saunter back in, just because I am now willing and able.
But then, I was able to get a job in the first place. I was employed before I had any experience at anything. Surely some experience, even if it was a while ago, is better than none at all?
Honestly I don’t know. Keep applying, keep trying, keep brain storming ways to make this work. This morning I applied for a childcare position offering just two hours a week. I’m willing to be incredibly flexible if it gets my foot in the door. And we’re not in any kind of crisis here as a family. We’re comfortably treading water on a single income. Everything is fine. And I’m sure that I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself panicking that I’ll never find a job. My mind is always a bit of a contradiction of anxiety and optimism. On the one hand I see myself as an old woman having never worked another day in my life, and on the other hand I do feel like somehow this will all turn out okay.
Tell me, how did you re-enter the workforce after a break with children? Or are you in the same boat as I am?