The kids went back to school and now I REALLY feel like a stay-at-home-mom. Prior to that it was summer break, we had just moved, I was unpacking the house, I was planning for a family reunion, I was at the family reunion etc. etc. so the stay-at-home-mom feeling hadn’t really kicked in.
Now it’s official and I’m kindof nervous in a way. What will I do all day? Is this just temporary? Will I ever find another job? Do I WANT another job?? Since I don’t have a job, how does this whole unemployment thing work??? (Side note: applying for unemployment seems like a full-time job in and of itself. I have a master’s degree for Pete’s sake and I can set up my own blog and register a domain name…but the unemployment application process remains a mystery to me. I can’t even imagine how you would navigate the system if English weren’t your first language! But more on this inanity in a later blog post).
Anyway, so far so good. I’ve been able to occupy my time. But the first day was only a ½ day of school so I got off easy.
Plus I had to drive my parents to the airport after dropping the kids off and seeing them settled in their new classrooms. So that took up some time.
Then I ran to Wal-Mart for some things. While there I found myself continually checking my watch. Was it really only 9:55?! Seriously, I thought my watch had stopped so I double checked the time on my iPhone. I had this nagging feeling the whole time that I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing something else. But in a way, I was also enjoying the leisureliness of the whole thing. I got my shopping done. Bought all sorts of crap I didn’t know I needed or wanted. Dropped it all off at home. And STILL made it to school at 11:15 for chit-chat in the hallways with other moms prior to the 11:30 indoor dismissal.
A friend I saw in passing asked if I was going to the park after school. My blank look must have clued her in to the fact that I had no idea what she was talking about. So she mentioned that I was on the group email about a picnic at a local park after the first day of school. At that point I had to confess that I lost my job and therefore wasn’t getting any emails from that work address anymore.
Now let’s just stop right here for a second and mention that this whole job loss thing presents its own conundrum. Who to tell and when? And how?? How do I tell people that I “lost” my job?! I haven’t even told my in-laws (who live in the same town) or some of my siblings, but now find myself in a position of telling random others. It’s not like I’m embarrassed about it…or am I? And it’s not like I really “lost” it. Saying I lost my job makes me sound totally irresponsible. Like I packed it in a moving box which got misplaced in the basement under Christmas decorations and I won’t find it until December. Let’s be honest: they “took” my job. They closed the office, relocated the job back to headquarters 10 states and 2 time zones away. And because I had just moved – oh, and had these pesky responsibilities referred to as a spouse (who has his own job) and a family – I wasn’t really able to follow the job back to headquarters. But I spent a good month trying to find a job with the same company, only to wake from that crazy dream. Why scramble to take a job that I don’t even want just to stay with the same employer? So I took the money and ran. Now that the “my heart is in my throat” panicked feeling about being on the brink of financial ruin is just about gone, I should probably start telling people I don’t have a job. And please stop sending messages to the defunct email address. And btw here’s my new email address. But I’m busy wearing my new stay-at-home mom hat so I’ll get to it when I can.
Anyway – the light bulb went off about the picnic in the park thing. Of course! That’s what stay-at-home moms do!! [Ok, I’m now getting rid of the stay-at-home mom hyphens because they’re a pain-in-the-neck to type] We go to the park with a picnic!! YES! My first day as a stay at home mom (note no hyphens) and I’m hittin’ the ground running!!! Woo hoo!
So I hustle home, pack a picnic lunch and get to the park an hour after everyone else because they all stopped at Chik-fil-A on the way there. I’m eating my homemade turkey and pepperjack on white bread when the organizing mom mentions that her email to me bounced back. With a mouthful of gummy bread, I’m now in the position of telling these always-and-permanent stay at homers that I “lost” my job and that the email address doesn’t work anymore.
They’re all very sympathetic. Tisk tisking as if they care. But it’s awkward so I try to make a joke about it. Something along the line of “but thanks for the invite though, because this gives me a chance to learn from you ol’ pros what I’m supposed to be doing with my time!” hardy har har.
One of the moms pipes up in her most helpful voice and says “well, we’re not stay at home moms. We call ourselves full-time moms!”
Helpful, but not. In my head I’m thinking: WTF?! Seriously?? I’m ALSO a full-time mom. I just happened to work outside the house, but I didn’t have some half-assed part-time approach to my kids. I was just as engaged with and concerned for my children as any of all y’all! Beyotch, I will totally cage fight you now for that comment!!!
In reality I gave a little tee-hee and say “is there such a thing as a part-time mom?” Then quickly packed up the kids and headed out.
The sun has set on Day 1 of stay at home mom land. And none too soon.