I love my job. I often say I have the best job in the world and I believe I do. I am an adult foster care provider. I have two adults who live with me. They have cognitive impairments. I have been an adult provider for 31 years. I am grateful every day to have a job I love, that I get to share my life with these wonderful individuals and that I am paid a livable wage.
I started doing foster care when I was single. I stopped after four years. I got married. When I became pregnant I had an opportunity to do foster care with someone I knew and so I started again when my oldest was two months old. It was a way I could stay home and be with my child. I had another baby and was thrilled that I could stay home with them and have M live with us. My children loved him. When they got to elementary school, I was able to volunteer in their classrooms. When they got older and didn’t want me to volunteer anymore I was there in the morning when then left for school and again when they got home. When I got divorced, I didn’t need to go out and look for a job. I had one, and by that time I had two adults living with me. My kids grew up and graduated. I continued to do foster care. I went to therapy to get help with an eating disorder, depression, shame and self-esteem issues. I had weight loss surgery and have lost ninety pounds. I got better physically and mentally.
Let me say this again. I am grateful for the life I have, and for the people I share it with. They downside of this job and of being healthier is the isolation I feel. I used to be a spontaneous person. Now I need to plan things out. I can’t meet a friend at a bar to watch a game. I work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. I miss being with people. Having conversations with my peers. Dating (that’s another story.) I’m off at 9:15 in the morning. I need to be back at work at 1:15 in the afternoon. I do have some time off during the week and 2 weekends a month, but that is not guaranteed. Four hours, when most people are at work. Four hours to fit in medical appointments, and various other meetings for my job or myself. And if someone is sick, I stay home with them. My time off is contingent on other people. I am lonely. I am isolated. I am trying to figure out how to be a single person, who thrives on being with people. For ten years after my divorce I choose to focus on other people. Now it’s time to focus on me. And I don’t know how to do it. I don’t want a different job. This is my family. But, there needs to be a balance. And I am at a loss as to how, or where to find it… and fit it in.