It's hard for me to believe sometimes, but I have been out of the work force for eight years now. When I separated from the Air Force I had zero intention of staying home. I worked at the kids' daycare for about five months and then took a temporary contracting job on the base, hoping that it might eventually turn into a permanent job. I hadn't been in that job two months when we received our orders for Germany. (We got the notice for orders less than an hour after we put an offer in on a house. Fun, right?)
Finding a job for my career field in Germany is a difficult thing when you don't have a degree. I went to a job fair not too long after we arrived and one of the HR people told me that if I had been Jason's AFSC he would have hired me in an instant--but because of the agreements in place with the German government there would be a problem hiring me with my lack of degree. (There are/were ways around that for high-demand/hard-to-fill jobs, but it wasn't worth jumping through hoops for a career field as prolific as mine. It sucked but I understood.)
So the decent-paying jobs were out. The odd job that I was qualified for didn't pay enough to cover day care in Germany. We ran the numbers six ways to Sunday and it kept coming out the same way: I would have literally brought home less than $100/month when you subtracted daycare and other work-related costs. Jason's work schedule was going to be unpredictable and brutal, making 'family time' something of a rarity. It just wasn't worth it for us. After hours and hours of discussion Jason and I decided that I would stay home for the duration of our time there, taking care of the kids and attending school while I was there. (We also decided that we would have another kid and that I would stay home with all the kids until the youngest went to school, but that is a whole different post.)
Lately I have wondered just how badly this time "off" is going to hurt my ability to find a job when the time comes to pack all these rugrats off to school and do something productive with my time. What are my future prospective employers going to think when they see that I took 10 years (give or take) off to lie on the couch and eat bon-bons all day? At the upper end of my 30s, am I going to be unemployable and obsolete? It sometimes keeps me up at night.
Then I have days like yesterday. I don't think I have mentioned it here but the degree I am working toward is in Emergency Management. I would love to someday work for Red Cross or FEMA. My dad has told me before that he can't think of better job experience for disaster preparedness and response than managing a house with four boys. Most days I just laugh; yesterday I kind of agreed with him. I'm getting great on-the-job training. Here's my latest resume bullet:
...from a massive landslide...
...brought about by an undeniable force of nature.