Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘return to work

On the Job Training (at Hopeful Parents)

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This post was originally published at Hopeful Parents.

A job.
It looks strange as I type it. I haven’t worked in six and a half years, and time has made a that three-letter word look incredibly daunting. I don’t have work clothes. I’ve forgotten more office skills than I ever developed. I was stay-at-home before I even became a mother.
As a stay-at-home-mother of special needs children with several years experience, I find it hard to imagine another identity. If I’m uncomfortable with the shift, my children are vocally despairing. But feelings of inadequacy and fear of change prove to be no match in the face of a bank account straining after years of therapies on a single income. To work I go!
Of course, I haven’t exactly been idle these last few years, and in terms of self-development and transferable skills, with a hopeful outlook my CV looks positively marketable.
How can I be discouraged by an interview panel, when I’ve faced the eligibility board for special education services not once, but twice?
Will I ever have to face a meeting in the world of work with anything like the pressure of an IEP meeting? Setting goals and meeting deadlines? I’m well practiced.
You need someone with excellent communication skills? Look no further than the caregiver of someone with special needs, particularly when language difficulties are an inherent feature of the condition.
If a presentation doesn’t go over well in words, I’ll just skip on to pictures. Imagine social stories merging with powerpoint- I’ll find a way to get my point across with any audience.
I can work under pressure, think outside the box…be flexible, organized…a team player. If there was something to learn over the last few years, I’ve mastered it. We all have. Even if every day still feels like we have so much to learn.
This position is actually going to be about playing a strong advocacy role and strengthening community. Reading the job description, it felt like it had been written for me.
But there is one more thing that makes this job perfect for me. I’m the sole applicant. A job that nobody else wants? I’m your woman. You’re just going to have to pay me in more than hugs and kisses this time.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

April 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Testing

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I took a test yesterday.  It has been years since I sat for an exam.  I kept waiting for that familiar sensation of worry mixed with dread to appear, but it never did.  As I typed away, I kept glancing up at the clock ticking down, but was surprised to find no panic there.

Not like there used to be.  For every test, big or small, throughout my academic life, and on into the world of work, my nerves always got the best of me.  But not any more.  In fact, and I know this sounds a little odd- I enjoyed myself!

This test- a business writing exam- was the first of many steps I’ll be taking for possible, potential, one-day reentry into a career.

Or starting a career.

After six years of staying at home, I’m pretty sure this classifies as the start.  And if I do, you know, return to work…then what?  What about…everything?  It almost feels to big to tackle.  Just the coordination of school and therapy for two kids feels like a job in itself.

There it is- there are days when parenting feels like a job.  I said it.

It is really hard work at times, and I don’t get to clock off.  That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy being home with the kids, or that I think going out to work would be better, it is just that taking an exam was so different that it felt like a break.  Perhaps the last few years in the trenches of motherhood have taught me more about how to handle myself than climbing the corporate ladder could ever have done.

The thing I used to fear most as a student- taking tests- is now a walk in the park.  For our family an actual walk in the park can be exhausting, and it can be exhilarating.  But it is rarely just a walk in the park.

Then again juggling work and special needs parenting isn’t going to be a walk in the park either.  It will be more like a series of tests, and I won’t know until I take them whether I’ll pass or fail.

The fact is that for our family like many others, going back to work isn’t a choice.  Just like how my husband has never had a choice when it comes to working.  We need a second income to help ourselves out of the debt we incurred on a single income family paying for therapy on top of other bills.

I’ll never regret the time I’m spending at home with my kids.  I felt like I needed to be there, during the earliest and most critical stages of their development.  There are no right or wrong answers here.  Staying at home cost us a great deal, and when I return to work, that will come at a price too.  I’m just hoping it will turn out to be worth it.

When I return to work, it will be a testing time for our family.  But you know, it turns out I quite enjoy taking tests these days.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

E is for Employment

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Yes, not echolalia- I just wrote about that, and I’d hate to repeat myself.  Employment has been on my mind lately.  Now that the children are in school in the mornings, I have free time for the first time in four years.  I’m weighing up the possibility of returning to work.  Putting aside for a moment every other consideration of being a special needs parent, getting a job is not an easy business.  Unlike other countries, there is no bilateral agreement between the US and South Africa in terms of work permits for family members of the diplomatic community.  So I can’t go to work on the local economy.  If I want to work, it has  to be at the Consulate or the Embassy in Pretoria, which is a commute I’d rather not face.  And then-z my husband cannot be my boss, or my supervisor’s boss, which means I can’t do the work  I did before getting married.  It doesn’t leave me with many options, so the issue is moot for the time being.

Once in a while, my mind wanders away from the safe territory of here and now, into the hostile land of the unforeseeable future.  I have a momentary panic about my kids’ careers.  Will they be employed?  What will they do?  It isn’t necessarily a bleak forecast.  I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Pudding or Cubby they couldn’t do whatever they’ve set their mind to.  But what would that be?

Cubby, who has literally argued that night is day, would probably make an awesome lawyer, if we parents could stand the shame.  But if you were to ask him?  Right now he’d want to be a basketball player.  Such a shame he wasn’t the exceptionally tall child in our family.

Speaking of Pudding, perhaps with her inherent fashion sense, she could put that height to use in the fashion industry.  That girl is too hands-on though, and together with her arty streak, she’d probably be happier creating her own designs.  Whatever field she happened to choose though, I’m certain she’d dominate.

I know really, that it is ridiculous to speculate so far ahead.  Only a fool would assume that the tastes of preschoolers would never change.

Take me, for instance.  Four year-old me wanted nothing more than to be an air hostess.*  A job I would never have chosen once I reached adulthood.  But as a child I imagined a future traveling around the world, nagging people to fasten their seatbelts, serving nut-free snacks all day, dishing up meals in special trays so the food doesn’t touch, and dealing with a whole lot of turbulence while wearing a sunny smile.  Absolutely nothing like the way my life has turned out!

*Yeah, I know, steward or cabin crew, but little me was as stubborn as Pudding, so don’t argue.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Goals

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AutismLearningFelt

I’m joining in the Special Needs Blog Hop, and this week we’re talking about goals for the year.  The very word “resolution” brings out my rebellious side, so I’m hoping that I can stick to goals instead.

1.  The biggest thing is that in the summer we will move to a different continent.  Things still aren’t official yet, but hopefully they will be soon.  It will definitely be a change for us.  It will also be the first time we global nomads have braved this since Pudding’s diagnosis.  I’ve got a few months to research schools and therapists and put together a program we’re happy with.  No mean feat from thousands of miles away.  Ensuring that everybody is happy with that move is going to be the real challenge!

2. Take care of myself.  I’ve been very run down this winter.  Every other week I’ve had a bad cold, and when I feel unwell, I comfort myself with things that don’t help me out.  On days when I exercise, I do much better, so I’m going to try to do a work out every day, which is easier said than done with two little ones.  I need to be on top of my game for all the other things to come together this year.

3. Work on Cubby’s separation anxiety.  It would be nice to go to the bathroom alone, and to go one night where he doesn’t end up in our bed.  We did it with his sister, so I’ve just got to get him to the same point.  If I’m successful, it will lead me to my next goal….

4. Return to work.  We’re a family who desperately needs a second income.  I’ve really enjoyed the last few years being at home with the kids, so this last one will be hard for me.  We’ll see what happens after we move.

5. Blogging!  I’ve really enjoyed the last six months, and I know it is going to be a challenge to keep it going when things get crazy this year.  There are also a couple of other fellow bloggers I plan to meet up with before we leave.  That all should keep me pretty busy, I think!

How about you?  What are your goals for the coming year?

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

January 7, 2011 at 7:23 am