I was a SAHM for many years. This summer, due to financial pressures, I went back to work, and, due to the schizophrenic hours of the job I was able to get, I am becoming the stranger in our house. I work most evenings, some mornings (due to split shifts where I get a 3-5 hour “siesta” in the middle of the day), sometimes into the wee hours of the morning or overnight, and I get two days off a week–but rarely on the weekends. So, as you can see, I am here now while the rest of my family is gone. I can’t just tell my kid not to go to school so we can spend time together :(. Occasionally, I’m allowed to request a certain day off. Well, now it turns out that I’m only allowed to do this six times a year–no one bothered to tell me until now–and, of course, I’ve already exercised that option that many times in the four months I’ve worked there. I was going to write a Pit thread, but I find myself more sad and depressed than angry.
This job has forced my husband to put in a lot fewer hours at his own job so that my daughter will have at least one parent. He is forced to pick her up from after-school care by 6 p.m. Back when I was always home, he felt free to stay at his job later. I guess they’re getting by without him–gasp! And, of course, they have weekends together. But, I see my kid about two evenings a week, and most mornings, if I am able to be awake.
My husband took a business trip a couple months ago and I just about fell apart with all the cobbled-together child care arrangements (not to mention that I had to use two of my apparently precious few schedule switches.) However, I could leave for a month (not that I have the type of job that entails business trips) and they would be fine. The dishes would pile up without the invisible fairy to do them, and that’s about it.
Welcome to America. This isn’t about “pursuing a career”–it’s about making ends meet. Turns out, though, that we pay a price either way.