Monday, June 8, 2009

Can you work outside of the home when you have an Autistic child?

I've been asking myself this question a lot lately. Probably because my "career" has changed.

I previously worked as an Insurance Agent for a call center for over 5 years. During that time, I went through many life changes. Giving birth, separation, divorce, single motherhood, engagement and planning a wedding. Let's not forget, attaining my Master's Degree as well. I was forced out of that job this past January; partly because of all the FMLA I used for my son since his diagnosis last September. You see...I switched to part time when my son was born and returned to full time when my first husband split. I so wanted to return to part time but due to my "corrective action" status, I couldn't. They wanted me out...and I obliged.

Then, I went to work for an independent insurance agent, all the while yearning to just be home with my son.

Three months in, just as they wanted me to go to straight commission, I split...3 weeks before my wedding.

Now, I teeter between what I should do: return to work full time, get a part time gig, work from home or stay at home completely with no other job title than "Domestic Engineer." I like to call myself the "CEO" of this family. It makes me smile...what can I say?

I remember back to when my son got his diagnosis. The doctor said, "you're not going to continue to work, are you?," as if to say "when will you find the time to fit work in?"

I love being home with my son but really should be contributing to the family bank account. My new husband tells us we'll be fine but that is simply not true.

I got offered a job today for part time at-home call center rep for Alpine Access, who contracts employees for big time employers. My contract would have been with Sprint and the hours were great: 5 hours per day, 5 days a week, mostly 4a.m. to 9 a.m. However, the training was full time hours for 3 weeks. I could have worked it out to have Joey at a nearby daycare. Not the best situation, because as I am finding out with this camp he's in now, he usually just isolates himself from the others. Who wants to see their kid do that and play all by himself?

The big issue was that I had been on a waitlist for months to be a part of SARRC's jump start program which runs simultaneously with the training. I've already paid my $500 fee and found out today that there was no way I could enroll him in a different session. So, I had to email the recruiter and tell here she wasted her time; the position would just not work (I said it a lot more eloquently than that).

I feel guilty for many reasons. I feel bad for even thinking about taking time away from Joey. And I wasted the recruiter's time. I cannot win.

I have worked since I was 16 years old; been full time since the age of 18. I think it's a hard thing to let go of. The independence. The money. The knowledge that I stimulate my brain with something other than Yo Gabba Gabba.

Trust me...I know I belong home with my son. But for some reason, I feel I have let everyone in my life down. I haven't let Joey down and that's all that matters. I just hope he will always be proud of me.

Maybe I shouldn't even look for work for a while. Let the 401k and savings accounts dwindle. It could be a lot worse. It's my time to focus on healing my son as much as I possibly can. I just need to accept what life has handed us and do the best I can with it.

Isn't that God's way?

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