What the F am I Gonna Do Now?
By Lisa Thomson on October 29, 2012
When we find out we're expecting we are overwhelmed and delighted by the prospect of entering a new phase in our life; motherhood. We want to do what's best for our babies. Thus begins the long path of putting our children's needs before our own. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this is a bad thing however, as we learn years later, the decision we thought was the best at one point, ends up hurting us. If you are like me and stayed home to raise your children you have given up the prospects of furthering your career during all of those years. The rewards and benefits of staying home are invaluable to our children but there is a price to pay in the event of divorce. We stay at home moms are very vulnerable during divorce since we find ourselves with outdated skills and let's be honest, at a loss. "What the F am I gonna do now?" we ask. I've been there and I'm here to tell you it's not as bad as it seems. There is hope for a new beginning. Ask yourself these 5 questions;
1) How can my skills before I stayed home to raise the children, benefit me today?
2) what are my interests, hobbies, passions?
3) what do i have to do to update past skills?
4) what are the cost v. benefit and time commitment to start a new education program or career?
5)what type of work/career will be sustainable into older age?
Careful analysis of these questions can lead you to some answers. The bottom line is you want to do something you are at least interested in, hopefully passionate about. If you are upgrading past skills what will it cost, and in the end will you be able to do that line of work into older age if you wanted? In other words, what are the physical demands of your previous work? Perhaps it would be better to start over with a new career enabling longer term employment. For example, I was in the career of phys. ed and recreation. My previous work experiences were highly physically demanding and I knew there was no way I could sustain that type of work into my 50's. Also, after being out of the field for several years my interests and passions had changed. So I asked myself should I invest in upgrading in a career I had little interest in? No. I decided to pursue a new program in Interior Design. This made sense for hours and sustainability of work. I could do this type of work well into my 60's if I wanted or had to. Also, there were programs available that allowed for part time study so I would still have time to care for my children while studying. This seemed ideal looking at the 'big picture'.
What will happen during divorce is your ex's lawyer will pressure you to get a job. If you are earning an income of any kind, your ex will pay less in spousal/alimony support. So the lawyer is trying to get your ex the best deal by encouraging you to get a job. Yes, you will have to work but know that the purpose of alimony and spousal support is to TRANSITION you from the marital role to independence and this includes allowing you time to upgrade and take up a new education. If that is the case, then why should you rush out and get a minimum wage job and have no time for your children who likely still need you?
Look at this as a time of growth and new opportunities. It isn't the easiest transition but you will come out of it with new skills and increased self esteem. Your kids will be proud of your accomplishments too. So it's a little scary, but once you figure out What the F you're gonna do, you'll be okay.
Were you a stay at home mom? How and what did you choose for work post divorce?