Somewhat off topic. Some whining, too.
Something is bugging me and I'm a little uncomfortable sharing (I know, I'm surprised, too). It's been bugging me more and more over the last couple weeks. I feel stuck. In my work life, I'm literally stuck because I'm not licensed in Oregon and can't get licensed without a job (that's the short version). It's at best frustrating and at worst discouraging. One of the results of my unemployment is that I have a lot of time to do laundry, dishes and other forms of cleaning, not to mention the volumes of relational work. *(Relational work is part of the massive amount of unpaid work in the home that traditionally falls to women to do. This includes caring for the emotional needs of family members, mediating conflict, listening, helping people get out of a bad mood, visits, letters and phone calls that keep the family connected to the rest of the family, etc.)
I have become a stay-at-home mom.
Stay-at-home moms out there, please hear me out. This isn't criticism of people I see as inferior, because I don't see it that way. I support any woman's choice regarding what she does with her life. Absolutely no judgment there. The problem I have is that it wasn't my choice and I know from previous experience that I feel pretty overwhelmed easily. It doesn't help that it really is a 24-hour job. I've tried really hard to define myself for myself. That is, I've tried not to let myself be defined in my own head by the roles I inhabit. This is hard because US culture encourages us to define ourselves by our career choice. We introduce ourselves to other people and one of the first questions is often "So, what do you do?" We base a lot of our assessment of others on that one fact. We base our assessment of ourselves on that fact, too, and I realize it affects my personal assessment more than I wanted it to.
And I don't know how to escape this, other than getting a job. I miss getting up every day, having to take a shower early, putting on a little make-up, wearing some of the nice clothes I have and going somewhere my talents or expertise are needed (though I will admit to not missing driving 30 min or more to get there). I miss doing something I really enjoy. I'm terrified I'll have to get a crappy job that limits me that I have to keep indefinitely while I continue looking in every possible nook and cranny for a better situation. Not the end of the world, I know, but I spent a long time getting my fancy-schmancy degree. My personal relationships, including my marriage, suffered greatly and I lost parts of myself I'm just beginning to find. Not to mention the ENORMOUS debt I've incurred. Seriously, I could have bought a pretty nice house for what I've committed to.
I definitely keep myself busy. I started my Etsy shop to have an outlet for all the jewelry I make and don't wear or give away. This has opened a whole new world of social networking to promote this shop. It's really amazing how social networking has encouraged incredible immediacy in commerce and overall debate. It sucks up a lot of my time and I'm not sure if it will pan out, if I'll sell even one piece. I do a lot of laundry. Sometimes I do dishes, though that's the one area where I get defiant and stop doing them for a few days (or, more recently, a few weeks). I love to read, but I feel guilty, like I should be looking for a job or working on Etsy stuff.
I, like so many unemployed, get discouraged at times. I'm uncomfortable not working at what I wanted to. I'm somewhat uncomfortable about accepting money from the government and frustrated that it works out to about $7.16/hr (and that's on the high end). I'm grateful that unemployment compensation is available and I'm grateful that I have a roof over my head and I'm in very little danger of getting kicked out. I'm grateful that my ex-husband is a good guy who still puts up with my crap, loves our daughter to bits and is someone I know I will always be able to count on.
I suppose this means I'm comfortably stuck. Negotiating cognitive dissonance is exhausting. I'm going to go play with beads.