Saturday, April 22, 2006

What to do?

I was over at Mommycakes and read her inner dilemma over working when she really desires life as a SAHM. I am posting my reply here because this is one of my soapboxes, so sorry if you have to read this twice.

Don't get too hung up on the whole feminism thing. Sometimes I think the whole femenist movement let women down because it said, "You need *equality* with men." It defined equality as sameness: same career, same salary, same political standing. Don't get me wrong--women have benefited greatly from the movement. We aren't property anymore for starters. But in a lot of ways, it fell behind. As anyone who has raised more than one child simultaneously knows, equality and sameness don't always equate. Just as each child has a unique personality/needs, so do women/men have unique needs. We are different, women do have children, and why should we have to feel guilty for wanting to raise them instead of pursuing a career? The women's movement forgot about the family, and that is its biggest shortcoming. If a woman chooses to stay at home, THAT IS A CHOICE and after all, isn't that what all the fighting was for?

I also wanted to explain my motivations for being a SAHM (and I really didn't want to start blabbing on and on on her blog--how rude!). It is something I chose because it was the best thing for our family. But, to be honest, I did not chose it because my deepest desire was to be home raising my kids and daycare is a horrendous mind warping establishment or anything like that. The formula was more like this:

1)HOLY S**T WE ARE HAVING TWINS!!!!!! (hysterical screams, fainting, and trying to pinch ourselves out of a dream state)
2)Between my husband and I we already had four kids at this point. One of them would still be a baby when the twins arrived--only a little over two.
3)We were mentally/financially prepared for one other baby, but somehow two seemed like overkill. I was still going to work full time with one baby (even though most of my salary would go to childcare). However having two babies would mean that more than all take home pay would go to childcare.
4)Frankly, I hated my job.
5)My husband was further established in a career. He also had a lucrative and flexible part time opportunity that he could take advantage of so he could make ends meet.

So we agreed financially my "dropping out" of my so-called career would be the best option. The problem was a psychological one for me. I have been working since I was 14. I was a single mother at 17 with no child support from my daughter's father until just recently (long story--not because he's a deadbeat, we just couldn't find him), working two or three jobs if necessary to support her. I completed college as a working single mother (okay, so I did get married briefly during college, but that did little to improve or financial prospects so he is basically totally irrelevant). I bought a house on my own as a working single mother soon after I graduated college. In a nutshell, I have always worked and supported myself and my daughter. So it was very difficult to hand over the reins to someone else. Especially after being involved in some not-so-good relationships with control freak irresponsible losers. That being said, my husband is one hell of a guy and I came to realise that I trusted him completely, that I HAD TO trust him completely in order for this to work for us. And it has.

So, honestly, I did not start this SAHM career because it was my heart's desire. My Dad likes to remind me of the days back in high school where I said, scornfully, "I never be like one of those women, those June Cleavers cleaning the house in a dress with pearls around her neck, having dinner waiting for her husband when he gets home." Yes, that little bitch was me. Thankfully, I have some lessons from the school of hard knocks to straighten me out, and now I thoroughly love and enjoy my time with my kids and realize what a gift it is. I also enjoy caring for my family. So I guess that even if my heart wasn't totally in it when I made the decision, it is totally now. And I am very happy with(and I feel, very good at) what I do.


Anonymous Susan said...

Great post! I fell into the SAHM gig for many of the same reasons; mostly, it just made sense for our family. In the beginning, I was terrified--well, that's not exactly true--in the very beginning, I was too in awe of this new creature to be terrified about anything beyond how to get a shower..ahh, the good old days.

But, I digress...

Of course, there are days when I wonder about an out of the house job, but I feel so lucky to be in a position where I am able to be home with my girls while they are young. This IS MY choice.

Thanks for saying it much better than I am.

23 April, 2006 08:50  
Blogger Michele said...

It is true that this is really what women fought for - the right to make the choice to do whatever the hell we want. Well said.

Michele (Secretly and unapologetocally channeling June)

25 April, 2006 08:52  
Blogger Binky said...

I actually came to your blog because I saw that comment on mommycakes and thought it was great. Glad to see you wrote even more on the subject.

25 April, 2006 15:53  

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