Well…, not yet.
I’ve been considering it strongly. Since it was offered. Since I’ve met with the Manager, and discussed options.
In the midst of the long summer holiday, my first priority had become escaping my home environment. I have a tweenager with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, a compulsive art and craft habit, and burgeoning attitude.
I have a little boy, 5 going on 6, exceptionally bright, energetic, and exhausting.
My middle daughter is bright, pretty and creative, and has an ASD diagnosis. Every day is challenging, sun up through sundown. This particular week she had broken the large lounge window, and run out in front of traffic. Twice.
I miss the strokes of working. I was good at it. Sell ice to Eskimos. I could stand up within my work environment and get the best possible result for my client regardless of structure and hierarchy. Nine out of ten clients told me I was awesome (the other one out of ten hated me with a passion). But I loved being good at my job, being told so, being valued. I loved suiting up with a full make-up, stepping out the door and looking like a viable human being, and if anyone interrupted that process, at least they weren’t covered in peanut butter.
The money aspect would be more problematic. While the pay in this role is reasonable for a woman in Dunedin, its not a huge amount for a family of four to live on. My income adjusted rent would rise substantially. I’d have to pay for after school care and holiday care for three children. Petrol costs, parking costs, even the cost of maintaining my hairstyle in a corporate manner would hugely effect my budget. Worst case scenario, I would work 40 hours a week and break even.
Family life would be stifled. We wouldn’t have time for messing about. It would be routine and go go go. But I would have eight hours a day where I felt more in control of that routine. Where no-one was pouring crap all over my house too quickly for me to keep up. We’d still have weekends. Maybe. I could use those for cleaning.
Stress levels would increase. For my kids also. They would like us to have a couple extra dollars in the family pocket, and the holiday programmes do sound varied and wonderful. But I gotta wonder where downtime is. When do my kids get to get bored. To become self-sufficient in creating their own interests, making their days full, creating lives they enjoy? Also, my middle child is likely to get expelled from school holiday programmes. I do not want her in the local special needs day programmes, for a variety of reasons. I also don’t want to spend school holidays feeling guilty for being late to work driving kids all over town because they are in separate programmes. Too stressful.
I would be offering my employer a good, productive employee, for sure. But what about the weeks when my middle child freaks out. And I can’t get out the door to work. Or the school phones me to bring her home?
Then there’s beneficiary guilt. When my marriage ended I continued to try to keep working. My employers wanted me, but all the above factors kicked in making me feel perpetually stressed and guilty. Welfare supported me to come home and parent. Child health services for my daughter have encouraged me to stay there. But now I’m here, the other arm of welfare manages my case. They see that my youngest child is six now. All are in school all day. What can I possibly be doing with my time? Apparently I need to be out working. They’ll pay someone to look after my daughter. Just not me.
And we have a Paula Bennett lead welfare system…
Complicating this, I have just got to the stage in my life where I am beginning to write again. Successfully. I am also beginning to draw again. Successfully. I also work with divination – tarot, runes, palmistry, and am regaining competence in these areas. All of which could come together to provide income for what may never be a stable home environment. If I do go back to work, I may never have the opportunity to do these things.
I am two papers away from completing my university degree. If I return to the workforce, I will never have the opportunity to study again. Because I’m 44. Not 33, or 22. This is it. I’m the adult.
I want to go back to work more than I want to stay at home.
But I think the timing is wrong.
I believe that when the sun rises tomorrow I will phone that Manager, and thank him for the opportunity. And graciously decline.