I'm a 25-year-old, full-time working mom living in Northern California. I have a gorgeous 10 month old daughter who is the love of my life as well as a wonderful husband who I've been with for 10 years this summer. I'm have a degree in English Literature and teach high school, but I'm working on my Master's degree in Education. Since graduating from college and getting married, my husband and I have had a really difficult time finding good, steady jobs. We've moved cross-country every summer since our wedding in 2009. We were in an area we loved last year, but when we found out that I was pregnant (it was unplanned), we decided we needed to be somewhere where we could earn better money and live closer to our families. As I'm sure most people know, teaching jobs are not easy to come by, especially not in California. We came up short for work and ended up moving in with my parents when my daughter was less than one month old. We lived with them for about a month until I was offered my current job. It was a teaching job, though not in my desired subject area and about eight hours north of where our family lives. Still, we took the job because we needed the income and insurance for our little family.
Over the months since Lily, my daughter, was born I've felt a mounting feeling of depression and loneliness. My current job is a nightmare. I'm teaching a subject I don't enjoy and my students are unresponsive and, often times, disrespectful. Coming from my previous school where my students and I had a very close bond and I felt very happy professionally, this has been difficult for me to deal with. My husband stays at home with our daughter and although I prefer this to putting her in daycare, I find myself feeling bitter and resentful towards him because he gets to stay home with her and I don't. When I get home from work I am physically and emotionally exhausted and I take it out on him and my daughter. I found out a few months ago that my contract isn't being renewed, which has only made me hate my job and resent the time I have to spend there more. Professionally, I feel completely unworthy. I became a teacher because I love kids and I love teaching. I'm not one of those old, bitter teachers who hates children and refuses to go the extra mile. However, I don't feel supported by my administrators, fellow teachers, or valued in the slightest by my students.
I'm a complete mess. When I'm not overcome with worry about what we will do for jobs after my contract expires this year, I'm feeling guilty for allowing myself to wallow in my unhappiness when I should be able to recognize what a wonderful life I have. My daughter is so wonderful and so much fun to watch as she grows up. I love her more than anything. Most days she is the only reason I get out of bed in the morning. I feel like that should be enough to keep me smiling and satisfied with my life, but it's not. The guilt over my feelings is eating me up. On top of all that I feel like my family's upcoming financial instability is my fault.
I don't have any close friends that I feel I can share this with. I don't like to complain to people or burden others with my problems. When I tell my husband it just brings him down with me and then we're both depressed. I feel like if there's nothing he can do about it there's no sense in making him feel bad too.
I want to feel happy in my life again and know that I'm not alone in my feelings. I want to feel valued as a person, a professional, and a mother. Right now I feel like I'm failing at every level of my life and it's a devastating feeling. I would really appreciate just having someone to talk to and share my feelings with.
Hey--so sorry nobody has responded to this yet--I just saw it. First-hugs- sounds like you have a whole lot to deal with. I get where you are coming from--I used to teach and it is so hard to go from a situation where you are happy professionally to one where you are not. I always thought, too, that it would be so hard to tend to other people's needs/growth/development all day and then continue to do that at home as a parent--one of the reasons I don't teach any more. Do you have a little space for just yourself, to just be you, not mommy, not teacher, not wife? That might at least help your frame of mind even if it doesn't change the reality of the situation.
Any chance you could move back near your family, since your contract isn't renewed? Might that be a silver lining? Perhaps you could both get part time work (even if not in your fields) so that you can spend time with your daughter. Or look into doing some tutoring--reading or SAT prep or one of the online tutoring services--so that you have more control over your location and schedule?
Good luck..I really hope things improve for you. I will check this thread again, please let me know how you are doing.
Thank you for your response. It feels good to be supported and heard, even if it's by strangers. I don't have anything that's just mine really, no. And I find myself wondering now where I would ever have time for it. It seems like the only thing I could take time away from is spending time with my family at home, and I already feel I don't have enough of that. We are moving back in with my parents at the start of the summer if we aren't offered any of the jobs we've applied for, which is looking likely. I'm happy to be returning home and being with my family, but at the same time I feel like going home and being an adult, a mother with a family, moving back in with her parents constitutes the greatest failure in life. My friends from high school and college have stable jobs and now are just getting married and are in great places in their lives, whereas I was the first to get married and now the first to have a baby and don't have a stable job. I feel like everything is off-balance and it makes me feel like a monumental loser. I've tried looking for part time or tutoring work, but it's hard to do from a long distance away. Also, we need to have insurance and I don't know how we would ever afford it on part time salaries. I know that all of this won't be the end of the world that I feel like it will be, but it's so hard to remind myself to stay realistic rather than get bogged down with everything. I've applied for so many jobs that I'm so well-qualified for and I know I'd be great at but no one has returned my calls or answered my initial emails about receiving my resume. It feels like a punishment.
I may have missed this part but what is your husband's job situation? Can you move in with your parents and have your husband get a job and you stay home with your daughter once your current job expires? Is your husband giving his 50% to the household income, and why do you fee like you have failed them financially? Sorry you feel so badly right now. What is your ideal scenario? Sometimes when things are complicated and messy and confusing and hard it can be helpful to sort out what exactly it is you want to have happen. Then you can choose from that scenario and try to make at least some of it happen.
what is your most important goal: to get a plcae of your own, to stay home with your daughter, or to get financially stable? I am sure you want all of those- but it sounds like right now there is so much on your plate that you don't know what direction to move forwards in. Though I am just giving a broad interpretaion from a short post so I apologize if I am way off! Just that you have so many challenges to sort out, so it can help to get clear about each one and seperate them into their own issues and tackle them one by one.
Also, don't worry about what your firends are doing or how you are percieved. This will pass and hopefully you can settle into stable jobs and a stable home. But for now, don't let yourself feel extra pressure by comparing yourself. Because who knows what kinds of situations other people had. Maybe they have had more financial help than you get, or other things. I know sometimes when you are young (I am 39 so 25 is younger to me), it can seem like other people have everything together and you don't. But it is all just stages of life. Some peoplpe have challenges to deal with at all different stages of life. So don't think you are less worthy than them just because you are in a challenging stage. Becuase you have a baby, everything has changed and you are still trying to get your footing. So be proud of yourself for how hard you are working and how you are handling all this. And then set little goals. Good luck with all this. If you keep posting here other people will probably have helpful ideas.
It might seem like your friends have it all together now, but they will have their ups and downs too, you'll see. On the bright side, it sounds like you get along with your family, and there are lots of people in your situation, with or without kids, who are having to move back in with their parents. Think of all the extra hands for babysitting. :) If you have a good relationship with them, that's huge, and a job will follow eventually. You might look into nonprofit or social service work if the schools aren't hiring--an education background can help in some of those jobs, and while the pay probably won't be great you may be able to get insurance. Or something else you could do with an English degree--marketing, freelance writing, etc. Be open about other kinds of jobs besides teaching...or see if you can teach in a more in-demand subject like ESL, special ed, reading instruction, etc. Try meeting with an employment counselor in your area for specific advice. You will get through this and look back on it as a time when you rose to the challenge.
What field is your husband in? What kind of luck has he had? And where in NoCal will you be?
My husband isn't working and stays home with our daughter while I work. The original plan was for it to be the other way around and have me at home while he worked, but I was the one that ended up being offered a job and so he's playing Mr. Mom. I really do appreciate all he does for our daughter and I know it's not easy for him to take a role not commonly reserved for a man, but it's hard for me, as a woman, to give up that mommy instinct to stay home with my baby. I resent him at times, although I know his "job" is just as important for our family as mine is. Ideally he will get a job for next year, but that just hasn't happened for us yet. We're both looking for something, ANYTHING. We're not being picky or snooty about job prospects. I would work waiting tables if I had to, but since my job's not finished until the end of this month it's hard to apply for jobs like those because they tend to want to interview in person and hire right away.
I suppose my most important goal is to be financially stable. Although it's true that a combination of those three things you mentioned would be phenomenal, I'm very practical. I know that's not likely to happen. It's just hard to resolve myself to life not being the way I always imagined and hoped it would be, you know?
Thanks for the reply and the support. I appreciate it so much.
You're absolutely right, tangledblue, I'm sure my friends aren't as put together as it seems like to me. The grass is always greener, though, right?
I do get along with my family, most times. We're very close-knit and my mother is an alpha dog in the family and it's hard sometimes (especially for my husband) to get along with her when she's only happy when she's getting her way. That's another story. However, my parents don't have a large house. The three of us would be crammed into ONE TINY ROOM in their three bedroom house and it's just ... cramped and uncomfortable and makes an already stressful situation only more so.
Thanks for the suggestions on where to work. I've looked into a few of those things, but it can't hurt to try again. I'm very open to any and every kind of job situation. I don't mean to sound pretentious or entitled. I've done lots of different jobs in my life and I'm not above going back down the ladder a few rungs and waiting for something better. However, I feel like I'm in a perpetual state of waiting. It feels like I just got fed a load of crap all my life about how going to college would get me the job and career I wanted for myself and now I'm stuck in the same pool as high school dropouts and people who didn't put in the time and sacrifices that I did for my education. It's frustrating. Still, I'm not willing to be unemployed when my family needs an income, so off to the salt mines I go (or would go, if I had a job...). The employment counselor is a good idea too. I'll look into that. Thanks!
My husband is a teacher too. He has a degree in History and a Master's degree in Education. Also, I'm in NorCal now. About an hour north of SF. I'll be moving to SoCal next month. That's where my family lives.
Just wanted to say also that your baby is so cute!
Cali is a tough place to find work right now, I hear, with so many budget problems It's not a reflection on you or how hard you have worked, just bum luck. I know what you mean about taking any job--I have had some jobs along the way that were pretty darn menial even after graduating from a good college.
It can be really hard to not have your own space, no matter how well you get along with your family. I hear that too. Hang in there, it will get better. One of you will find a job in the next few months, you just have to get through this one time period. At least the weather is better in SoCal...?
One other thought: look into temp agencies and social service relief agencies. You've probably already thought of it but sometimes you can get a permanent job that way. Or apply at places even if there isn't a specific opening being advertised.