Rejoining the professional work force after years of full-time parenting can present a challenge under even ideal circumstances. Because the recession has demolished careers of so many primary breadwinners, stay-at-home moms like Melissa Hinebauch are not making that transition by choice, but compelled by the dismal reality wrought by their spouse's ongoing unemployment, most particularly the high cost of private health insurance.
"WANTED: Full-time position with benefits, 401K and decent pay. Ivy League-educated stay-at-home mom hopes to trade in diapers for professional development and deadlines." Thus reads the lede to Melissa Hinebauch's recent essay in The Concord Monitor, a highly personal exposition describing the uncertainty and anxiety she confronts while attempting a return to full-time employment nine years after her first child's birth launched her career as a full-time mom.
The youngest of Melissa's three children is only two-and-a-half, but staying home has become an unaffordable luxury seven months after her husband, Matt, was laid off from his job in Internet security product management. Matt continues to relentlessly apply for tech positions across the country--complicating Melissa's nascent job hunt with uncertain geographic coordinates for his next professional opportunity--but the couple feels they must double up efforts to secure any employment that comes with health insurance, since the family's period of subsidized COBRA benefits ends in January.