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Mom Wants to Work


I am a 79-year-old widow. My husband died five years ago. I am finding that I need more to do than manage the house. I am thinking about getting a part-time job, nothing fancy or taxing, just something to get me out in the world. My children are completely against it. They cite the fact that I have never worked before, and they are concerned I don't understand either the pressures of the work world or the potential strain on the body. It is not really clear to me what they are afraid of. How do I convince them to let me try it?


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"Let me try?" Those three words sound like you are not in charge of your life, that the children now are. I am guessing you have ceded control to the children and maybe your spouse before that.  It is okay, as long as you recognize that you chose the situation. You have the power to change, if you desire to.

Second: Your Body

Now let's talk about their concerns about starting your work career later in life. First of all, you have a 79-year-old body. It will be important to look for work that suits your body and its age. How fit are you? Do you exercise? Can you drive yourself or take public transportation to work in all types of weather?
Most retail requires you to stand the entire shift. How are your feet and legs? Any job that requires typing the entire shift means eye and wrist strain. What computer skills do you possess? Do you use the internet regularly to seek out information? If you are considering reception/hostess type work, how friendly and patient are you, hour after hour?

My Recommendation

What I recommend is that you make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, being honest. Include physical abilities. Then decide about what type of work is best suited to the person you are today.  
As for the children, maybe it is time for you to live the life you want. Show them your plan, seek their advice - take it if it is helpful to you - and then go out and live the rest of your life.

Remember this, it is just fine if working does not suit you in the end. All successful people have plenty of failures. What is most important is that you are living a quality life. It sounds like that is what you are seeking.

I wish you the best.

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