I would love to have a job. Even a crummy one.

I have been unemployed for four years now. Being a mother of a disabled child, I was fortunate enough to be presented with an opportunity to return to study, with assistance from the UK government.

Some people might judge me for that, but I weighed up the pros and cons: I could keep working as a domiciliary care assistant, where I was only paid for the hours the agency had available for me to work, yet had to keep the children in childcare for sometimes double those hours, because I was 'on call'. Or; I could give up my job, and better myself for my family - and actually get to see my children awake more frequently than every twelve days.

For the record - it cost the Government more for me to be in work, than it did the other way around. I'm setting the record straight, because when I decided to give up work, and study, I got slated.

I was painted as somebody who chose not work because I was better off not working. No. I was somebody who wanted to earn more than the minimum wage. I didn't use the time to sit about doing bugger all.  I worked hard - I just didn't get paid for it.

Later, when at university and receiving student loans (you know - thing things that have to paid back), I would be slated and accused of having a baby so I could go to uni for free. I don't know why people are so grudgy. I got the exact same loans that are offered to other students - no special treatment here!

Before I returned to study, I had just a few GCSE qualifications under my belt. I had a grade E in Visual Communications and art (graphic design). Yet, ten years later, I was receiving As and Bs for my photography and design work, and I got an overall first for my first year at university. Most recently, I produced this magazine cover and double page spread for a new magazine concept that I created as part of an assignment:


Tome magazine. A (fictional) niche publication for the writing industry.

The whole concept was hatched from scratch based on the word 'Icon'. Every aspect is my own creation: the writing, design, editing, etc.

The whole concept was hatched from scratch based on the word 'Icon'. Every aspect is my own creation: the writing, design, editing, etc.

I got a 2:1 for that unit. Not a first, but close and it's one of my favourite pieces. Last year, a similar project saw me produce this work for another magazine concept:


I spent hours creating 3D puzzle pieces in Photoshop, but to me - it felt like minutes.

I'm now suspended from study (my choice, not theirs) while I am on this American adventure. While I don't miss university itself, I do miss losing myself and all awareness of time by not having any design work to focus on.

Never mind design work. I don't have any other work to focus on, either. Unless you count housework - but right now I'm on top of that and the chores are often done before the family are even ferried out of the door bound for their schools or - in TH's case - the office.

So what do I do all day? Not a great deal. Sweep, and mop. Dust. Read. Sew. Watch Netflix. Remember to write this blog? Apart from collecting Little Lady, and the occasional laundry pile, my days are pretty empty.

I would love to have some work to be doing. I would love to make the day disappear in the depths of inDesign, InCopy, or Photoshop. Just a job would be great. Of course, I would have to be able to drive for that. I saw my local craft store is hiring, and I couldn't even submit my résumé. Why? Because I'm not allowed to work.

My visa status is H4 - a dependent of a H1B visa holder (The Husband). That means I am prohibited from working at all. For an employer here. For one back home. I can't even work for myself. I can't even work for free. I guess I should probably not try and publish my book when it's finished then? Well, I think there must be an exception to that, because the stipulation is that I'm prohibited from doing a job that will take away from gainful employment of a US citizen. Only my mind can write my stories, because they're my ideas, so I must be safe there.

I wish I could have some form of income, though. It's tough jumping from financial independence, to suddenly relying on somebody else for the financial things. There are things I want to do, but can't because we are a four person family on the income of one. Yes, we chose this way of life, but that was before we had to move to a much more expensive area of town, for his work.

It's frustrating to me to have become a stay at home mum. I was never really a SAHM kind of person. I can't cook without the help of a slow cooker, and Pinterest. I'm hoping to learn to machine sew, so I have something home maker-like to do. These aren't natural talents of mine. Thanks to my studies, I have a skill set, and know I am good at something that the laws of this land won't let me do.

Sometimes it's a crummy job, not having a crummy job.

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