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Archive for April, 2009

As I get closer to 25, I have started getting pretty angsty about where I am in life right now and whether or not it’s the right place (or at least a GOOD place) to be.  A large part of my problem as I can see it is that I feel very guilty and like a glorious “might have been” for being at home with my kids.  This isn’t anyone’s problem or responsibility but my own, and I need to get over it because it’s stupid.  The main arguments I seem to see are that being a stay at home mom is a waste of your own potential, unfair to your husband because then he has to shoulder all the financial responsibilities, and probably not good for your kids because they start to think that the world revolves around them.

  • Am I being essentially a cop out on my own potential by staying at home?  This one I honestly can’t tell, because I had a pretty decent job title during the 6 months that I was working from home and was working with excellent people.    It still wasn’t something that I really looked forward to doing.  I loved the results but the hands on work just didn’t feel like something I was really cut out for.  And if I’m not cut out for work, is that a defect in me or just a variation of normal?  I think I would enjoy nursing, but mostly I enjoy reading and “pursuing wisdom” for lack of a better term.  Unfortunately “living life well” is not a category recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and you don’t get earnings in dollars.  I love what I do, and that makes me feel embarrassed because I feel like I “should” want to do “more” than this.
  • I have so many successful working moms that I know and respect, and I get really unnerved by statements that it wouldn’t be fair to husband X if wife Y wasn’t working to contribute financially to the family.  I want to be the best wife I possibly can be because I love Steve with everything that I’ve got, so statements like that tend to freak me out.  Am I being unfair to Steve by not bringing in a large paycheck?  If it’s fundamentally unfair on an absolute level to not bring in a paycheck, then I’m not being the wife I ought to be.  That’s a very alarming possibility to contemplate and this is one I can’t write off so easily.  Steve would say that it’s utter bullshit and that he doesn’t want me to work, ever.   I don’t know.  I just don’t know, especially since I think it puts too high an emphasis on financial earnings as a sign of self worth.  No one is entitled to affluence, and the lack of affluence is not a moral failing.  But I won’t be able to take vacations, enroll in extra-curriculars, or buy really nice things on a whim just because I want to give something nice to my husband or my kids.
  • Am I “spoiling” my kids by having them at home with me all the time?  I mean, I don’t *think* they’re spoiled.  They’re very well behaved kids, and they’re with their brothers and sister all the time.  They spend time with people who love them, and honestly?  I’m a heck of a lot smarter than your average day care worker, and that’s an extra 50 hours per week that I have with my kids that I wouldn’t have if I were working full time.  Am I just a bad mother because I NEED those extra hours?  Do I just suck at scheduling “quality time”?  I don’t really think you can schedule those moments, and I think that in any other work relationship you’d say that you could do a more complete job of something with 84 working hours at your disposal compared to 34.  Generally speaking, you are going to get more done in 80 hours versus 30.  Is the definition of what is important just different for working vs stay at home moms?  I don’t want to be unfair to anyone.  I just don’t get it, because if I’m spending more than twice the amount of time with my kids there has to be *some* difference there or I’m wasting time that could be better allocated elsewhere.  This reason sounds the most bogus to me, especially since I am pretty sure that if I asked my kids they would rather stay at home with me and with each other than go to daycare full time where they would probably know their classmates better than their own siblings.

I don’t want to be emo here, but this is really grating on me.  College worked well because I had something that has recognized value to the majority of people while I was still staying home with my kids the majority of the time, and there were fewer of them then.  I want to do right by everyone in my family, and I don’t know how to reconcile this.  I feel like that by the standards that suggest all women should work regardless of whether they have children, I am a “pretty clinging parasite” who piggybacks off of her husband’s success.  I also feel like that my kids are being formed every hour of every day, and like it’s my responsibility to be the one ensuring that they are formed well but I can’t do that if I’m not there.

I’m very conflicted and feeling guilty about all of this.  I need to feel like what I do actually has value, and I feel like I’m stuck either saying that working moms are “bad moms” or that I’m doing something that is pointless and wasteful.  I don’t want to feel like my life and what I invest time in has no value.  I think this is my version of a “quarter life crisis.”  I just don’t feel like what I offer matters very much to anyone or is respected, and if it’s not respected either society is screwed up or I am making a gross misjudgment about what is important and it’s to the detriment of my family.

Right now it honestly seems like my only claim to respect is that I managed to give birth to 10 and 11 lb infants in a kitchen, I can bake well, my kids are well behaved and I’m a half-way decent writer.  I think I’ve got a decent perspective on a varied number of topics, but I also think that in general people don’t care about what I care about or about what I think because hey… I just stay home with kids all the time.  What could I possibly know?  Smart women have better things to do with their time than washing diapers and mediating pre-school disputes.

I’m sorry, o blogosphere.  This is just bugging the living daylights out of me and I don’t know what to think.  Please don’t take this as an attack on any of you or your choices.  I’m just trying to muddle through my feelings here and (as you can see) they’re a bit of a mess.

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