Most days, my day starts rolling around 5 am. That is, if Zuzu has spent the night in her own bed and not ours. Otherwise, it started around 1 am as she suckers herself to me intermittenly all night, I’m too tired to get back up and put her in her own bed, and I hover on the edge of the mattress. Babies are bed hogs. If Zuzu sleeps all night, then she eats around 5. And so my day begins. I’m lucky if it’s over by 10 pm when both girls may (finally) be in bed and asleep.
But I am not a stay at home mom by choice. I am officially among the ranks of the unemployed. This eats at me in ways I never imagined. There is no glamour to my situation because as I write, we are finding as many ways as Eric and I can both agree upon to cut back to survive on one modest income. We have plenty of food, a roof over our heads, beds to sleep in, loving family nearby, and Eric is gainfully employed with the promise of upward mobility. The problem is: I would give my arm to be employed as well, if for no other reason than I just spent that last eight years and tens of thousands of dollars in an education that I wish desperately to put to use. Someone, please, please hire me!
In addition to wiping Katie’s hiny, keeping a close eye on her to make sure she makes it to the potty on time, doing the dishes, cooking, cleaning (yes, I’m actually doing that these days), changing diapers, washing diapers, nursing, holding a baby, playing with the baby…I try to sneak away at intervals through the day to look for jobs. What I find is dismal: sad because there are so few that I qualify for, depressing because I’m either over-educated or lack professional experience, dismal because there are so few, period. I wrack my brain to generate creative job opportunities, so far, to no avail.
At least I’m in good company with millions of my fellow citizens, right? Well, not exactly. The jobless rate for those educated like myself is actually pretty good, holding at what is considered full employment. At a more personal level, everyone that I came into my department with at Iowa has a job (except for one, who is continuing her education in divinity school at Duke). Everyone, but me.
I’m trying not to be bitter (all the time, at least). I hit a new low this past week. But my state of mind has gotten better, and of course, Republicans keep doing shit to help me out (figuratively, of course, never literally). Like this. And then the new jobless numbers come out, spawning discussions like this and this.
Here’s the deal. The first 20 days of October before Zuzu was born were spent on job applications. That entire month was dedicated to applying for jobs. My dissertation was put on hiatus so I could finish those bad boys. For nothing. And when we moved to Texas, I sent out a dozen applications to work while I finished my dissertation. For nothing. I have lost count of the number of job applications I’ve filled out this spring…for nothing.
There is nothing about joblessness that makes me want more of it. Quite the contrary, I’m ready to be done with it. You can have it, Sharon Angle, Jon Kyl, and all you Republican fuckers who think I’m choosing my lifestyle. As a matter of fact, I think it is you who should revel in the soul-sucking, demoralizing abyss that is unemployment. While the media speculate what the continuation of the so-called “Great Recession” will mean for Democrats in the fall elections, I say this: this country would be INSANE if they threw out the Democrats for a Republican-controlled Congress. Look at the disrespect they show the 9-point-whatever percent of us, and the potentially millions more who have just stopped looking or who are underemployed, through not only their words but their failure to implement- or even propose!- any substantive solutions to the current jobs shortage. Right- let’s hand them back the wheel when they’ve been driving drunk since, well, I was born and Reagan was president.
My guess is, the President’s sinking approval ratings and the discontent in the citizenry is being read incorrectly, statistically speaking, just as it was during the 2008 elections and just as it was during the health care reform debates last year. Yeah, Democrats are unhappy…because our government is not doing enough!!! We want the government to step in- in fact, we implore them to do so. Iwant some pollster to ask that question. But, as usual, the media see the teabaggers and interpret them defining sentiment in the country when, as statistics show, they are nothing of the sort. The teabaggers may speak the loudest (shit, who doesn’t listen when someone waves a gun in your face???), but they do not speak for the majority. They never have.
So, no, I don’t feel lazy. I’ve got too much to do. And when I’m not on the hunt for a job this year, I’ll be busy speaking up and running Republicans out of office.