What The F Am I Gonna Do Now?

what the F am I gonna do now?
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From the archives, a common dilemma divorcing women face:

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  We stay at home moms are very vulnerable during divorce since we find ourselves with outdated skills and let’s be honest, at a loss.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?

what the F am I gonna do now?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 continue that line of work into older age?  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 flexibility of 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 anywhat the F am I gonna do now? 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?

Leave a comment, I LOVE ’em!

 

 

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7 Replies to “What The F Am I Gonna Do Now?”

  1. There are a lot of great points here. I find that taking inventory of the skills acquired – and there are so many as an active parent – can help you to realize how much you can bring to the table.

    I might add, however, that some of us “downshifted” our careers in order to be heavily involved in motherhood. While we continued to work for pay, we may have done so from home (in less visible jobs, in jobs that offered not ongoing career development and lesser pay, or as “independents”).

    This may well work against us in divorce court, too. There’s an assumption that you have no need of alimony and even lesser need of child support, when neither is the case. For one thing, you may have been out of the technology loop, and as that changes so quickly, it’s extremely difficult to get back in.

    It’s also very challenging to fight your way back into the more visible (and better paying) workforce when you’ve been disconnected, albeit working from home, throughout your mothering years.

    That careful analysis that you mention is vital – whether your full-time job was mothering or your full-time job was mothering AND some lesser version of your former career.

    1. Yes, parenting does add certain skills to a resume that shouldn’t be dismissed. Downshifting is still a sacrifice for women however, at least there is a base level of contact with the professional world. When it comes time to get back into a career these women will have a better chance. Many women have positive stories about starting something new that they never would have done without the challenges of divorce. It’s getting over that transitional phase that is overwhelming. Thanks for your input, D.A.

  2. Staying home with the kids is wonderful, IF the marriage and finances are solid, and IF your partner is not inclined to be an a$$hat if/when you divorce (clue: if your partner is a jerk to family, employees, or servers in restaurants, don’t count on him being nice to YOU in case of a split). And sometimes spouses up and die, and the insurance turns out to be vastly inadequate.

    I’ve seen too many friends left adrift because a vengeful spouse will quit a steady paycheck to get paid under the table to avoid alimony or child support payments. Absolutely, if you get blindsided, Lisa’s advice is spot-on. You may well be awarded everything you need to get on your feet. Don’t just grab at the last job you had, but be thoughtful about what you want to do.

    But being awarded X and collecting it are two different things. If you have hints that a divorce might be coming in a year or three, or even if you don’t, it makes the most sense for SAHM’s to have a plan B in the back of their minds. Keeping skills up, keeping up with technology and trends. Sure, be on Pinterest, but don’t spend ALL your time Pinning recipes and kids’ Halloween costumes (unless you could see yourself making a business of these things someday).

    1. Awesome advice, Beverly! It’s so true, there’s nothing better than being a full time Mom. You are right the man who treats certain ppl as though they are beneath him will likely treat his soon to be X the same!

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