Parenting

Career window shopping

Some women shop around for clothes and accessories, but Jennifer is on the lookout for a potential career change

My new bosses are shorter and far more demanding than my old boss. Photo by Mamarazzi Photography

When I left my job more than two years ago to raise our children, I left a company and co-workers I adored and a job I was good at. I know this isn’t the case for many stay-at-home moms, who escape jobs they can’t stand and look at being at home with their children as a chance to not only get away from their jobs, but also to take the time to reflect on what they are good at and where they would like their careers to go after their children are old enough to go to school. 
 
I bet we all know at least one woman who got pregnant, went on mat leave and never returned to her job, right? I know several, and all have gone on to start successful businesses that are very different than what they did in their careers. 
 
Others, like me, were romanced by the idea of spending their time with their young children, with nary a career plan in sight (though I do joke about becoming a plumber or a lumberjack, both high paying and sought after trades in my town). Now in the thick of raising my children, I find myself constantly window shopping. Not for skinny jeans, purses or shoes, but for a job. Any job.
 
I’ve considered applying to be a salesperson for a pest control company (considering all of our mice, raccoon and spider problems, I’d be a pro). I’ve grilled plumbers on what it takes to join their ranks and what they love and hate about their jobs. Cake decorator, grocery store food sampler, dairy cow herder or gasp — even a marketer and graphic designer (also known as: the jobs I left behind). On a recent playdate I brainstormed with other moms about what get-rich quick schemes we could come up with so that we could afford to buy exotic off season imported fruit for our children and new underpants for ourselves. We are all in the same boat of being super talented ladies whose past lives have vanished and now spend our days elbow deep in laundry or wrestling a squeaky-wheeled shopping cart through the pink-stickered produce section. 
 
I recently came across this post by Today’s Parent contributor Dana Dougherty Reinke who captured 100% how I feel about staying at home. How I worked for 15 years to get to a stage in my carer where I was proud and successful and now often feel that my education and talent is wasted.
 
Those are the rough days, where I spit-polish my resume in hopes that a plumber has an opening for a non-claustrophobic petite woman not afraid of poop (my plumber pal admitted crawling into small spaces and backed up toilets are his least favourite service calls). The days when my kids fight non-stop and I lock the bathroom door so I can use the toilet without interruption. When I block out the bickering and let them watch TV so I can cruise LinkedIn and Monster for an employer who would overlook the huge gap in my resume. 
 
But I always hold off. Because in the last two years I know that as much as an outside caregiver would take great care of my kids, it is me that is best suited for this job, my new job. Because on their worst days it is me that they need the most, and on my worst days, it is their relentless enthusiasm that reminds me that this is all worthwhile.