I feel trapped. When I had my first child, I made the decision not to return to work after taking maternity leave. The job I left wasn’t a career. I simply worked part-time as a retail assistant (in a high-street store that has now closed), tiding me over while I tried to make it as a freelance writer. Seven years later I have had another baby (now at school), and I am still trying to make it as a freelance writer. I have attended online training courses. I joined a government funded initiative that would teach me how to build a business, but it was completely irrelevant to my needs. I have no trade skills, no official business knowledge. I have what was once called a “burger-bar degree” because it gave me no prospects. A regular job is a distant dream for me, though not for lack of trying. I dread to think of the number of jobs I have applied for during the past fifteen years, and still I cannot find something secure that will fit around school and allow me to find suitable, affordable childcare.
And now I am trapped in the role of housewife. On the one hand I know I am incredibly lucky to have had this time with my children. I have friends in successful professional careers that have missed out on special times with their babies. But then those friends have the satisfaction of work and the prospects of financial security to balance it out. Nobody will pay me for being a housewife. My husband pays for our household expenses, and I cannot even buy myself a car, which makes me feel humiliated. I hate having to ask for his permission to buy something. What happened to the confident, independent woman I always saw myself as being? I am still confident. I am angry. Why doesn’t the world recognize the skills I bring to the workplace? Why can’t literary agents and big publishers see the potential in my fictional work? Why do I even bother trying?
My days are taken up in caring for my children and husband (who has a severe mental health disorder), supporting family members with their own health challenges, applying for jobs, networking in a vain hope that I might sell a few books, and keeping the house clean, tidy and safe. Oh, and I do the grocery shopping, help with school trips, deal with extra-curricular activities, arrange play-dates, organize birthday parties, keep the wardrobes up to date so that our children are properly clothed and clean. And now I am embarking on a program of home redecoration to modernize the house we bought last year. But none of that matters. Nobody cares. And it certainly doesn’t earn me any money so that I can be independent. Life goes on, in all its ups and downs. Some days I am grateful for my situation. Other days I hate it. And always I am applying for jobs, trying to better my prospects, trying to feel valid in a world that doesn’t care. Thanks for listening, folks (or not!). My pity party ends here.
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I can feel your frustration and a mix of anger and despair. I can’t address your general situation but share your feelings towards the literary establishment. I am just celebrating fifty years of total rejection by agents and publishers – most recent a couple of days ago. I’ve read several of your books and check out your blogs. You’re a trouper so don’t ever give up. It’s harder and harder to sell books. The fact is it’s all about marketing and visibility. In another identity I turn out “best sellers” but still don’t make anything like a decent wage. Recently I’ve changed track and have started to write about the comedy of it all. My message is to keep your chin up. So many blogs and FB stuff are puffed up boasting and BS so it’s good to read something truthful.
Aww, thank you! I wondered if people might think I was simply complaining and being miserable, but these are my feelings and it is healthier to express rather than suppress, I believe. I felt much better after spewing out my frustration, anyway. Yes, it takes a certain determination to keep going after all those rejections, but we live for the fight, don’t we? And we will never give up. 🙂
I hear you. As creative women with children, it seems we are doubly challenged no matter what we do. At least you have a home: here in Australia, women over 55 are the fastest rising category of the new homeless 😩
Keep trying: something may be just around the corner. And that precious time with your kids will NEVER return… ❤️
Wow, that is scary. Thanks for your support, and yes, I am very grateful for all my precious memories with the children 🙂
I feel you. I was where you are many years ago, and DID finally get that elusive job. A year or two later my family depended on the additional income I earned, and I wished SO bad I was back at home. I wished that for the next 20 years, actually! Now I’m retired, and glad to be at home again, finally. I hope you find clarity and peace, soon. I understand. ❤
Thanks for understanding. Yes, I know I have another twenty+ years in which to go out and work if circumstances allow. For now I must trust that this is where I should be and I am doing the right thing for myself and my family.