Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I've Already GOT A Job!
I'm getting a little tired of well-intentioned people telling me that I should find something to do for myself, something besides household, husband and children.
Generally it's mothers with one child, already 9 or 10 years old, who feel it is vitally important to my well-being that I find a job outside the home. Or a man. Let's face it, they have NO idea what it takes to manage a large family. It's work enough without a paying job thrown into the mix.
"It'll be good for you," they say, "something just for you that doesn't involve constantly being there for someone else." "You need something just for you alone."
Yeah right. Problem being that I HAVE a job, keeping the house within standards expected by the health department, feeding a family of six and being there for the kids in the afternoon. And has anyone seen how much laundry four children generate? In a day?
Add to that the fact that I LIKE my job. Who do they think I had the kids for anyway?!
The kids are in school and kindergarten in the mornings. That gives me 15 hours a week to myself. I can clean the house, buy groceries, organize the clutter that accumulates with six people living together, do laundry.....or I can go to the gym and workout. I choose that latter and I feel fantastic for it.
I come home at noon to pick up the twins from kindergarten, meet Ryan and Andrew at the door, prepare a warm meal for a family lunch - Damon is able to join us. Then we have homework and music and soccer and English Club or playdates to coordinate. Sometimes we get a free afternoon to do nothing or to spend at the pool. It is a full, demanding and exhausting schedule.
But it's the job I chose - albeit without fully knowing what I was getting myself into - and it's a job I enjoy and want to devote myself to. It is also a time-sensitive assignment: it won't be there anymore in a few years.
If I use my precious 15 hours to find a paying position somewhere - most of the suggestions naturally suggest returning to veterinary medicine - that gives me no time to devote to myself. Yes, I enjoy medicine and I do feel drawn to returning to it in some form in the future, but spending my mornings in a high-stress, high-paced environment right now is not going to give me the break I need.
I've got enough guilt of my own - about not bringing in an income, about not using the education I have - without also hearing it from others that I am now also required - in addition to home and family - to find a job in order to fulfill myself.
By the end of the day I am plenty filled as it is, thank you.
Why do I have to be a supermom? Why are all the mommy success stories written about mothers who have done MORE than manage hearth and home? Why isn't being a mother enough anymore?
I'm an emancipated woman. Unlike my Iraqi neighbor, I chose my marriage, chose to have children and chose to stay home with them. I am not hidden in the kitchen, I do not have to wear a burkha and I am allowed to drive a car and go out unescorted by a male relative.
The women's movement was about choice.
When did we decide that a woman was less of a woman - or worth somehow less as a person -for choosing to stay at home with the kids?