Thursday, May 2, 2013

I Raised My Kids, Now What?

     My first job, while I was in high school, was at a place called "Barker's Jubilation" at the Mall. It was a restaurant, game room, and bar with a dance floor. I was hired to keep control of the game room. Keep the machines clean, make popcorn, deal with whatever issues came up, and clean up the popcorn everyone spilled all over the floor. Pretty simple job. My boss would usually find me, game room ship-shape, popcorn popped, reading a book. He decided I was bored and under-tasked, so he moved me out to the cash register to be a greeter/hostess/cashier/game room attendant. Now I realize I should have asked for a raise! It was a cool job but one of the managers was always in the office with one of the other managers in a "Do not disturb" kind of way. One night after closing, cleaning up, and counting out my drawer they never came out to check it and tell me I could go. When I finally went to ask them about it they told me they needed privacy and sent me away. 

     I went downstairs to the payphone to call home. I couldn't be out past my allotted time and I knew this was going to blow it for me. On the other end of the phone I was told to just get home. So I went upstairs, got my stuff, and left.  I went the next day and got a job somewhere else. 

     After high school I worked at the I.R.S. in a very non-glamorous job in the refiles annex. Right up until the morning I went to the hospital to have my first baby. I stayed home with her, mostly. I mean, when money got more pinchy than usual I would deliver pizzas or sell Tupperware, but mostly I was home with her, and then the rest of the kids. 

     Three or four years ago, now that the kids are all big, I applied for a job as a glorified receptionist with an accounting firm. For the first time in my life I did not get the job. It was humiliating. It still is! But in that interview the guy said to me "Why don't you just babysit?" What? Because I un-apologetically  said I did not regret for a minute the choice I made to stay home with my kids? So I'm not 'good enough' to enter your work force since stayed home raising my kids and giving up luxuries which other people don't consider luxuries?

     We all decide. I know people who say they  couldn't take it if they had to stay home with their kids. They decide to work because it helps them stay sane, they say. I have a difficult time trusting people and I could have never been sane leaving my kids with strangers. There's no car on the road which could have justified that in my mind. Because all day, every day, I would have been wondering what was happening with my kids. Were they happy? Sad? Playing? Crying? Napping? Eating like they should? And when my kids were little I did a lot of babysitting for people who did want to work, so hopefully they could feel comfortable about their own kids while they were away. 

     But here I am, with great big kids, no grandchildren yet. So what am I supposed to do at this stage of life? Hobbies? I like to paint stuff (not walls) and I do, but there's only so much of that I want to do. I do not have enough energy to do what I want to do on any given day, so lots of things need to be done around my house. Even if I had energy, my husband works from home. Babysitting is out, even if I wanted to do it. 

     What do you do when you're done raising kids but there's nothing new on the horizon? Should I sit around and turn into one of those meddling mothers who is always looking for a husband for her daughter and a wife for her sons and complain about not having grandchildren yet? Do I start reading romance novels? Do I garden? None of these things seem like something I want to do. Who has been here? Who knows how to point me in the right direction? Surely I can not be the only one. But it sure feels like it. 


  1. I am currently a sahm. I'm just starting out at one year and counting. I just couldn't fathom letting someone else raise my babies either. I was a retail store manager and have no desire whatsoever to return to that profession when the time comes. I've been praying for a way to help bring some extra money in while still being home and that it would be something I love. Once our move is over and we are settled I'm going to try my hand at refinishing furniture for resale. I've painted a lot of our own furniture and am helping some friends with theirs to get feedback. I hope you can find something you will love to fill your time. Whether it makes you money or not. Enjoy watching the fruits of your labor over the last years and spend some time on just you. I'm sure you totally deserve it!

  2. I am certain you're not the only one to feel like this, although I'm not in that space. Yet. I could never let anyone else raise my kids. I know it works for other people but I would rather be broke and with them than successful and not. I don't wonder so much about what it will be like 18 years or so from now, but I even wonder what it will be like with them both in full-time school! Perhaps my photography business will really take off then? Here's hoping.

  3. Hello! I am in the same boat as you are! My kids are raised! Now what? Have you found an answer yet? Help!