School starts in three weeks. Usually I am excited about school starting, but not this year. I officially start my new job the same day the boys go back to school. There will be no celebration breakfast with other stay-home moms on the first day of school. I will be a working mom trying to manage work and my home life.
Although my new job has not officially begun I have working all summer long. The program I am taking over needed to be completely revamped. My summer days have been filled with writing contracts, developing budgets and revising schedules. I am trying to hire new staff, set up trainings and arranging meetings.
In some ways I have enjoyed working on the various projects over the summer. I have come to realize I am smarter and more capable than I thought I was. My years of being a stay home parent has not always provided me an opportunity to use many of my talents.
However, in other ways I feel completely overwhelmed and defeated. My transition from being a full-time home parent to a working one (after 17 years) is very difficult. I miss having my days free to do as I please. I miss spending time with the boys and hanging out with other moms at play dates. Now I wake up thinking of projects I need to complete before school starts. I create lists and check things off (something I have never done before). I spend hours researching information and haven’t had time to do fun things like Facebook or read trashy magazines.
The worst part of starting my new job is the lack of empathy people seem to have toward me working. I’ve tried to express my emotions about my transition with several friends and family and seem to get the same response, “You’ll be fine. It’s okay. Just give it some time.”
The well-meaning responses from people around me reminds me of the old expression I remember hearing as a kid. It was used when someone was complaining and the person didn’t want to hear it. The expression was said back in the day when payphones were the rage and it would only cost a dime to make a call.
Here’s a dime. Call someone who cares.
I don’t want you to think I am surrounded by unloving and unsupportive people in my life. That’s not the case. But to be honest I don’t know of anyone personally who is returning to work after such a long absence. All of my friends and family are already working and have been for years. When I try to express how hard things are for me now they glance at me with eyes that say, “Welcome to my world or I’ve been doing this for years stop complaining.”
I feel like starting a support group for people like me who are back at work after a long absence. I need empathetic eyes looking at me when I complain about feeling stressed. I need a shoulder rub when I whine about not having enough time to get everything done. I want feedback telling me not that I will be okay, but words saying, “This must be very difficult. It may take a while to adjust and if you need anything I am here for you”.
Frankly what I need right now is a dime, a payphone and someone who cares.