I confess that the question is still bugging me --making me feel a little defensive, as if I need to justify why my choice to stay out of the paying work force is the best choice for my family. Which speaks to my own insecurities and narrowly defined work ethic, I guess. If there's no pay check, can it be considered work?
It IS work, though. In fact, if you add up my hours per day, I often work longer than an eight-hour day, despite the fact that my children are in school for seven hours. (No, seriously --I sat down with a pencil and counted the hours up.) AND, I don't get weekends off. It's not very glamorous--laundry, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, acting as doorman to the pets --but there are also things I do that call on my creativity, like pretending I understand fourth grade math. I stay busy.
So, anyway, I started thinking about pulling a résumé together and starting a job search. After thirteen years away from the work force (except for a stint as Editor of Austin Family Magazine, which was a dream job except it was A) part time and B) impossible for ME to do part-time and C) impossible for me to do AND care for my family), it was hard to know where to begin.
I studied Journalism in college and clearly, there is no huge demand for true journalists today. Plus, I didn't ever work as a reporter anyway. In my life before children, I was a Development Director for various non-profit organizations. I couldn't return to work in that field because I don't have the contacts anymore to raise the kind of money I used to raise, plus I don't think I ever worked less than a 60-hour week in my entire career which would make it a little hard to pick up my kids from school.
So, okay, what skills do I use now that might be marketable in today's job market?
- I am an excellent laundress. I'm not sure there's a CAREER in it, exactly. But I can wash me some clothes, sure 'nuff. I guess I could work in a hotel if I could learn how to fold sheets.
- I am used to cooking three separate meals at a time and having no luck getting anyone to eat anything. Again, I'm not sure there's an actual CAREER in this, since most of the meals I make consist of plain, dry sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, tacos and spaghetti, but at least I am immune to complaints. (Mostly.) Maybe a Diner for the Culinarily Challenged would hire me as a cook.
- I am a truly fantastic Car Singer. I can't write music nor play an instrument, but if you want me to belt out some Ruthie Foster for you as I am driving you to your Tae Kwon Do lesson, all you have to do is ask. Of course, my KIDS don't really appreciate this talent... (Small-minded of them, don't you think?) I guess there's no career in THIS, either, unless I could start some kind of Singing Cabbie service.
- I am an excellent house cleaner. Maybe I could start a housecleaning service! Except the thought of cleaning OTHER PEOPLE'S toilets makes me want to barf. Actually, that's why I have cleaners to come clean my own house--I don't want to clean OUR toilets, either.
- I am really good at being Doorman (Door Person?) for our pets. I'm not sure that I could work as a REAL Doorman (Person), though, because I find it impossible not to comment every. Single. Time. "Didn't I just let you out?" "Oh, you don't really WANT to go out? You're just checking the weather?" "Why yes, it's raining in the front of the house AND the back." I think Real Doormen (People) are probably the strong silent types. (Of course, THEIR clients probably tip better than mine.)
Okay, I guess the reality is that I have no marketable skills. I guess I should just stick to doing what I already do, which is making myself happy.
It's a full-time job.