January 12, 2010

So, do you still like being home?

A week doesn't go by when I am asked this question at least twice.  It is getting a little old. The question is bad enough but the tone in which it is asked is unsettling.  It's like they are saying "Are you done having your vacation and ready to go to work?"

If I had a small child at home no one would give it a second thought and it would be acceptable to be at home.  But no, not a 50 year old woman whose youngest child is in school.

As I recall back in the 70's when I was in high school the women's movement was going at full force.  I remember everything was about choices.  Women should have the right to choose ....  (fill in the blank). If a woman wanted to be a lawyer, she should pursue that dream and should also be paid the same as a man.  If a woman wanted to start her own business, go for it.  Well you get the picture.  I remember then that if a woman wanted to stay home and take care of her family it was starting to be frowned on by other women.  The difference is that society as a whole still accepted a women's role as homemaker and really expected it also. 

I remember the case of a school teacher that was pregnant and forced to quit her job as soon as she started "to show."  It's hard to believe that a situation like that ever existed.  I don't ever want to go back to that time and the way women were treated.  In the early 1980's I had a secretarial job.  Every morning the V.P. of the company would ask me "how's your sex life?"  To complain would mean being fired and I needed that job.  I would just smile and say nothing.  Can you imagine if that was done today?  I am grateful for the changes in our society and the acceptance that women can work in any career.  But does society really believe that?  Remember the title of my post? 

Fast forward 30 plus years and now it would appear that women my age should be in the work force contributing not just to the family income but more importantly to a retirement fund.  I am looked at as an uncontributing member of the family. I don't believe this.  My husband doesn't believe this. 

Since I have been asked the "So, do you still like being home" question I have also had six women that are my age make the following comment:  "I wish I could do what you are doing."  They always say this to me in a quiet voice as if someone from some women's committee somewhere will jerk them by the collar and scold them.  These women are in the following careers:  a bank president, a lawyer, accountant, human resources director, teacher and an administrator. Maybe I'm a trend setter in my area.  Maybe I am the first in my group to stand up and say "Yeah, I know I can have it all and I don't want it or I don't even want to try anymore." 

"So, do you still like being home?" damn right - pardon my French!!!


Tammy said...

Love it. I have said this before, and I will say it again. I am a bank president, a lawyer, accountant, human resources director, teacher and an administrator. Most importantly, I am a Wife, a Mommy, a contributing member of the family, and DAMN IT, I will never second guess this path that I have chosen.

Martha said...

Amen - You Go Girl!!!

We need to rise above the criticism and stand firm in the choices that we have made no matter what they are. I am fortunate in that my husband has supported me no matter what career choice I have made. He has always said that even though we are married, it is I that am living my life and I am the one that must choose what career path I want to take.

Tammy said...

To add another point, my mother was one of those "I am woman" movement people. Burn your bra... After being married to my father for 24 years, staying home to be a "housewife",she decided that this was not enough for her. She divorced my father, went to college to get her masters in accounting (the first female in her family to do so), and became a very successful CPA. Was she happy with this decision? I would venture to say Yes. She was and still is. She instilled in my sister and myself that a woman IS capable of reaching the goals that they set, regardless of what they may be. Let me also add that I have a brother whom she also taught these same values. You see, she stood up for what she believed in, regardless of what others thought of her.

I went to college,got a degree, had a career, got married, chose to start a family, and by the making lots of sacrifices(both self serving and well planned), my husband and I came to the conclusion that we would not and could not have it any other way.

Do I still like being home? You bet ya! This is where I belong. I feel that God has blessed my family 1000 fold by giving us this wonderful opportunity. Is it always easy? NO WAY! It would be easier to throw on a suit, take my son to school, let someone else teach him right from wrong... Throw a frozen pizza in the oven. Get a maid. See my husband 2 minutes a day. And I, I chose the road less traveled and that has made ALL the difference!!

Moderate Means said...

I think it's interesting that you feel that people think you should be working. It seems that this is one of those areas that so many women feel judged on - working moms feel that SAH moms think that they are 'letting someone else raise their kids' and that they should stay home; SAH moms feel that working moms are 'not contributing' and that they should work.

The Mommy Wars can cause so much self-doubt and worry when women really need to find support for whichever path they are on. And I don't think that either side actually judges the other...we are just too paranoid to realize it ;) If you and your husband are happy with your situation then that's all that matters! We're content with our lot in life so I just ignore the guilt-throwers and go on with my day.

For me, it's the homeschooling. I don't fit in with homeschoolers because I work and that's unusual as many hs families have a SAH parent. And my coworkers think I'm crazy for homeschooling because I should be working more. We're happy, though, so it clearly works for us.