I feel like I’ve entered a new dimension and I don’t really like it. I have to get up early to get my youngest off to school, but my oldest is still in bed sleeping because college hasn’t started yet. The urge to kick her out of bed is not as strong as my need to have my house to myself. If she’s sleeping, she is essentially not in my presence and I feel as if I am alone in the house.
I won’t even have relief when she starts college on the 23rd because all her classes are in the evenings. However, this leaves her in the unique position where she could work in the mornings.
I know getting a job is a new experience, but it is also apparent she’s not anxious to join the adult world of day-workers. It’s not like she’s not working at all, which is why I haven’t bothered her much this summer. She works Mondays and Fridays for about three hours at a family friend’s art studio. It’s not a lot of money, but it has kept her in gas, haircuts, and supplies for her pet rats this summer. But that will be coming to an end as soon as college starts.
I know there are a lot of teens working; teens younger than my daughter. But how do teens find work and who will hire them? I feel very baffled about it, feeling as if my teen is the only teen in the city who can’t figure out how to get a job. I was much relieved when I ran into a friend at church with the same predicament.
I think one of the issues we have as parents, is that short of finding a job for our child ourselves, we want them to want to work. I’m not kicking her out of the house, rather I’m trying to get her to earn money for all the hopes and dreams she has for her future education.
I worked from the time I was 11 years old. I had to buy my own school clothes. My sister and I helped our neighbor clean out abandoned houses so he could “flip” them. We made a dollar an hour.
When that dried up, I delivered the local newspaper after school on my bike. When I was old enough to drive, I delivered the morning paper before school (Seattle PI) to all of Cle Elum and South Cle Elum. I always had a car. I always had my own money.
One summer I decided I wanted to work for the forest service clearing trails. There was no “online” place to fill out an application. I had to go into the office and apply in person, then I began a phone calling campaign. I got the job. I didn’t get it because I had experience clearing trails, I got the job because I bugged the person who hired.
So I know how to work. I know how to get a job. But I don’t know what the answer is to getting my oldest daughter working. Maybe it’s motivation or desire on her end. There may also be trepidation about entering the work force because it signals the end of her childhood. I guess that’s why I haven’t pushed her, I don’t want her to grow up either.
But it’s too late for that. It is a train, and it has arrived. It’s time for her to take a ride while I stand at the station and wave.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is still at the station waiting for the train. You can read her column every week on covingtonreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or “like” Living with Gleigh on Facebook.