When I was in my 20’s I worked in sales for Mattel Toys and then for Fisher Price.
I liked my job – the toy industry is really a fun place to work and I loved the people I worked with. Plus there are a few perks – I still own a great collection of Barbie Dolls and I was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade one year! (this is my claim to fame!)
I worked there until Amanda was born. The plan was originally for me to go back part-time after my maternity leave but I had complications with my pregnancy and Amanda was born premature at 3 lbs. (a whole other story). Howie and I agreed that it would be best for me to stay home.
I did not go back to work, became a stay-at-home mom and loved it.
I was so happy to be with my girls all day when they were little. We took classes and had play groups. This is how I met most of my friends (who are still my friends!). It was a good time in my life.
When Lily was in kindergarten and Amanda was in second grade I started to get bored. The girls were in school all day so I didn’t have much to do. By chance, I ran into one of the girls’ old preschool teachers and she mentioned to me that the school was looking for assistant teachers and asked if I was interested. I thought about it and it sounded like a great idea. I really love children, I loved the school, and the 2 or 3 day a week schedule gave me enough to keep me busy and give me a “purpose” while the girls were in school.
I went back to work and became an Assistant Preschool Teacher.
I was very happy there. The kids were adorable and I worked with some great women who I am still friends with today. I was working there for five years when Howie passed away.
From the minute it happened, the school and everyone in it was so supportive. So many of the teachers reached out to me right away, came to the funeral, sat shiva etc. They were really so thoughtful. The directors let me take as much time as I needed and were just very good to me. That was so important to me at the time. I could not imagine going through what I did and working somewhere where they were not understanding, which I’m sure does happen. I stayed there for the next three years.
It was good for me to have a place to go to that took my mind off of everything that was going on even for just a little while.
During my eighth year at preschool, I started to feel that my time there should be coming to an end. I guess with all that was going on in my life, my patience started to wear thin, and you need a lot of patience to work with two year olds. And honestly, I needed to start making a little more money. The job and people there might have been great but preschool teachers make no money.
If you are the parent of a preschooler remember this – the teachers really do it because they love your kids – definitely not for the money.
While I was considering leaving, a friend of mine told me he knew of a financial adviser that was looking for an assistant. I literally laughed at this. I knew nothing about the world of finance. He told me that he didn’t think I needed that much expertise and to just go for the interview. I figured it couldn’t hurt so I went.
It went much better than I expected and the next thing I knew I was offered the job. This would be really going back to work.
I thought about it and decided it was time for a change.
I was very hesitant about this – I’m not a big fan of change – and there had been a lot of that in my life recently. But I decided to take it.anyway. I finished out the year at preschool and then started my new job.
At first I thought I made a big mistake. It was like learning a new language. I really knew nothing about what I was doing. But slowly I began to get it, and actually started to like it. This job is totally new to me and in a different field, but it reminds me of being back at Mattel and Fisher Price, minus the toys. My boss is so nice and we work well together, I love the other people in our office, and I am learning a lot. About six months after I started, my boss told me that he wasn’t so sure about me at first, but I was working out much better than expected. I told him I felt the exact same way!
In the early days of my widowhood, I spoke to a woman who had been widowed 25 years earlier. I remember her saying that she became a new person in the years since her husband passed away. She has since remarried, worked as a teacher for years, and is now retired and has beautiful grandchildren. She said that this was both a good thing and a bad thing. I didn’t really understand what she meant back then, but now I am getting it. Change can be scary but can help us move forward…
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.