Anyhow, I have to say the whole road into this year has been a touch odd.
So my mother was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer after spending most of Christmas in hospital, and is currently undergoing chemo for it which seems to be keeping it from progressing. Originally the doctors weren't that sure of letting her go on with chemo due to all the other medical issues she's been suffering from, but as she put it to them it was more a case of "Okay, put me on chemo and I'll probably feel bad, in more pain then I am at the moment, and I might possibly die or.. you don't put me on chemo, in which case I'll feel bad, have even more pain, and die." She's actually gone with the whole "I haven't asked for a time frame, I don't want to know. I just want to make sure I get to Christmas so we can have a proper family time together which we missed with me in hospital this time around."
Which generally adds some pressure to life in general and made me sit down and consider things. I mean, let me paint a picture here. I dropped out of my final year of university to become the primary carer for my mother. Everybody else in the family was buried with work, and it seemed to make sense at the time that the person not yet working would be the best one for the job. So I ended up loitering around at home and being her safety net, pack mule, extra pair of hands, what have you. Which meant chunks of my day were also sat around reading, and poking on the internet and such like while making sure I was on-hand when she needed. Some days it was more than others, but that's pretty much how I spent the last 15 years. I'm kind of suddenly hitting that "oh crap, my life has sort of shot by, and odds are, mom isn't actually going to be around for that much longer in the grand scheme of things, and my CV is pretty much 'Cared for his Mother' for half my life." This does not really provide good future prospects. And really, while it's one thing to do it for family, there is no way I could make a career out of it with strangers. Just ick.
I've tried juggling in a few research jobs that I've been involved in, over the past few years. Things I've been able to do from home, but they don't exactly pack much of a zing, even if they do provide references that aren't my mother.... But that's not exactly something you can push forward to break into the job market with.
Which leaves me circling around. I have to figure out some way to appropriately jump start my life and work, while balancing the still providing care and support for an already disabled parent going through serious cancer. Okay, to be fair my dad is now leaping in to providing help, but he's also got a fair chunk of passive-aggressive issues and his way is always the right way even though I've been doing it for 15 years. So again, issues. But oy vey. Every now and then you just have to stop and try to take a breath and figure out where the hell you are.
Most of my job experience is 'mommy.' It does not, exactly look stunning on the resume/CV but, is a very important job. Sounds like you are in the opposite situation, but no less important.
If you are asking what I think you are asking, have you looked into volunteering? It can give you some references, and some experience, while not being full time, or high pressure. They are also very understanding about taking time off.