I’m an employment website troll – I lurk and look out of curiosity but never make a move. That is, until recently.

I’ve decided to go back to work. Well, to put it more clearly, I’ve decided that I want to work. It hasn’t been an easy decision, to be honest. It’s punctuated with guilt when I get pieces of paper for music classes for Leila sent home and realize I don’t know how she can do after school programs when she’ll need to go to daycare. It’s punctuated with guilt because I know what I want for myself and I know what I want for my kids and they’re not the same thing and so I struggle with this choice of me or them. And it’s easy because I’m self-centered and so I think It’s my life, I need to make the choice that’s right for me. I can’t be a good mom if I’m not happy. And then I pick them up from pre-school and after-school care and they’re happy yes, but also filthy and exhausted. But also, when I’m in school, I can keep Alena home with me and let her quietly play while I get a little homework done. We do this one day a week. This isn’t an option when you’re working. I don’t know how to own that. To make a choice and be firm in my resolve, not swayed by guilt or shame when someone laments the girls’ busy schedule (it’s such a long day for them! It’s too bad they couldn’t just come home right after school! They’re so small, still!) (hint? Don’t make these kind of well intended comments to people, ok?)

I haven’t even told anyone, really, that this is my plan. It’s been something Steve and I have been talking about for about six months, and I’ve applied for half a dozen positions (to no avail).

Writing my resume and adding running clinics and a handful of magazine articles, sometimes it feels like it all amounts to nothing. Do you have any management experience? What was your last position? (and I don’t really think they count writing on the fly or coaching once a week). So in a way, it feels like I’m in the same position I was, experience wise, as when I was 23. Because essentially I am. Except I’m not 23 and my priorities are different and I’m unwilling to punch the clock in a position I don’t care about. And my schedule isn’t very flexible at all because Steve works long hours and weekends and I coach running on Saturdays and I won’t give up our Sundays because they’re our only day together as a family.

So I scroll through positions and it seems that either I’m under-qualified or over-intelligent. After all, we’re not really doing this for the money. I mean, sure we’ll get out of debt a little faster if I get a paycheck but ends are meeting now with a little room to spare.

I wouldn’t change my choices, because I didn’t want to work when the girls were babies. I wanted to be home with them. And school was a good flex plan for the in-between years, because it gave me something to think about and something to do with the freedom to have them at home most days and be able to keep them at home when they were sick without any repercussions. But now I’m 30 with a half a finished certificate and some half-assed experience on my resume, not really that willing to negotiate about what I want and I’m wondering why I can’t find a job.

Don’t move until you see it, that’s our motto. Don’t make a decision until it’s the right choice. And after I applied to a job I’d be good at but didn’t actually have all the qualifications and consequently got a rejection email almost immediately, Steve reminded me, You’re trying to more before you see it, you need to wait for the right one to come along. But I’ve been waiting and watching for six months and while I recognize that there is a difference between waiting and becoming stagnant, I’m not really sure which one it is I’m doing now.

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