Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Just hanging around

I'm not very articulate, I talk a lot but I get distracted and end up off track and find it really difficult to explain how I'm feeling.

I hate being interupted with a subject change, which is what my family do as they think that is the best way to help me. In fact most people's response to anyone struggling with something they don't understand is to try and take their mind of it by changing the subject, looking at the positives and thinking they are helping the person to move on.

Yes, I can apply for a job now after 4 years living in South Africa, but apart from one of our kids and a nephew, no one else in our family has had to look for a job in over a year. I don't mean no one is working, but for example my hubby has been employed by his company for 30 years.

I'm not really qualified as anything. My expertise comes through years of experience, volunteering and networking to build up to my dream job, a job where I felt valued and it was two way. I had a salary. I did things for other people.

The past 4 years has been about me doing things for other people and as much as I enjoyed it and met some lovely people who have become very good friends, I didn't feel fulfilled.

It is important for me not to be pigeoned holed. I've done the single mum bit, married, more kids, divorced, married, step kids, worked part time in the chip shop, studied for a degree, been a SAHM, but on reflection I had a choice. I had to work, I could chose where I worked and what I did. Fed up of working in care homes on night shifts and evenings in a chip shop to make ends meet, I decided to study, to raise the stakes and I failed (at first) then a few years later I picked it all up again after working as a dinner lady in a local school, I became a teaching assistant, then was asked to work in the special needs department. I'd been a part time youth worker aged 21-32, so I had lots of experience with kids and alcohol, drugs, violent homes, criminal records, homelessness. I had gained a wealth of knowledge that I could put to use. After working in an autistic school, I did my teaching training, I got a job in child welfare and was lecturing in special needs and training classroom assistants.

Finally I felt like I had achieved something. I was still a mum and someones wife, daughter, sister, but I also had other words I could add to my identity. Regardless of where I was of who I was with, my identity was and is always 'Married with 5 kids' but I no longer can add anything else to that description other than 'none of them live at home anymore'

It's a conversation killer, let me tell you. When I add the youngest is in boarding school and that I don't work, it's a conversation killer. People tell me how lucky I am. I'm not lucky. My hubby works hard and pays for all of this. Yes I don't financially need to work, but I do need something for me.

I'd give it all up to go back to having the kids back at home, a career, a foreign holiday once a year. But you see the more you want from life, the more you want to travel, explore, earn, the more sacrifices you have to make.

In order for hubby to have his career, earn the money, provide us with the opportunities, the more I've had to give up on a personal nature. Of course I benefit, in fact a big part of me loves it, but while he's working hard, I'm spending too much time on my own. I don't want a job, I'd like a career. I'd like to feel personally fulfilled, but it's all too much effort. I don't have time to spend another 6 years building up my career, we'll probably only be in Dubai for 2-3 years, before the next move and then I'd have to start all over again.

It depresses me, I feel stuck in a loop, who knows what will happen next, where we'll go, will I even be able to work in the next country? Will I actually want to career again? At the mount I'm fortunate to be able to drop everything to travel with hubby, afford my own own travel and adventures, be the one to welcome and entertain visitors, spend quality time with family when they visit or I visit them.

I have the chance to start something new, write a book, enjoy my hobbies, rest, read, study. All the things hubby would love to have more time for but he's too busy with his work, his travel, his career.

We have a good life, it is our life and we've worked hard to get where we are, both of us, him earning the money and me raising the family. But the family no longer need raising, neither of us are ready to move back to the UK, hubby only has 7 years left before retirement. I don't want to to be in a full time career when he reaches that stage, we want to be able to spend time together, more travel, more exploring without work holding us back.

I'm just struggling with the in-between time and I honestly just don't know what the solution is, do you?


  1. I do know how you feel - or at least watched my mum do much as you are having to do. She was a teacher and could never have a career with my Dad travelling for his job. As for me I made the decision to support my husband and leave my career as a journalist too. I do feel lost and inadequate from time to time. Keep volunteering, keep writing and you never know. You experience is valuable share it!

    1. Thanks Tattie, it is really good to concoct with other people in a similar situation, one doesn't need sympathy, just to know that it's the same for/with others and that in itself makes things a lot easier

  2. Your words resonate with what has transcended my life: First my mum and then me. That choice between career or allowing your other half to have their career. Bring the stay at home partner looks great from the outside, but it's not all that it's made out to be.
    For me you've put your finger on a very important point: Not wanting a job, but a career instead. This is the conundrum I find myself in at the moment.

    1. when i had to fight every step of the way to get something for myself i was stressed every day, migraines/headaches, constant coughs and colds (mind you could have something to do with living in the UK) i never sat still for 5 mins and i took on everything. Now i have the time to fight, the time to be me, i just don't have the will power and determination to pick something and stick at it, i just need for once in my life someone to organise me