Everyone is always so surprised at what is inside my head. Not necessarily my thought process or the majority of opinions, a good chunk of my coworkers and friends have gotten used to my outbursts and off the wall comments. I guess for a stereotype, liberal, single mother of one, once divorced and with a Chronic Illness, I’m dead on. Yet one thought, one opinion or rather personal choice (or in this case, want) always throws the ideas that people base me off of right out the fucking window.
You tell me what you see? I’m 26 years old with a 5 year old. I’ve already been divorced, and literally the only thing that keeps me out of work besides the kiddo being sick is a straight up hospitalization. I’ve worked for every scrap I have and bought my own house by the time I was 23 and have done my best to earn enough money to give my child a nice life. I love work and strive for more mental stimulation. I started college just because my brain felt… dumb. I’ve worked in almost every field and eventually I’d like to open my own business or get a higher up management position…..
[Now here’s what throws people off, this has gotten me raised eyebrows since my daughter was born, and was reiterated when I was talking with my co-worker last month.]
… if I have to continue working.
When I was pregnant with Noodle, I sat down with my ex-husband over dinner one night. He wasn’t paying attention so I threw a packet of crackers at him.
“A mother is supposed to be at home for her children. I want to stay at home with her.”
Much to my surprise he was more than okay with that. So I was a Stay at Home Mom until I bought my house and got a job (my marriage was deteriorating and the end was ever so apparently near). While my brain was dying (hence, starting college), I enjoyed staying at home, teaching my daughter and taking care of my (then) apartment. I liked having dinner ready for my husband when he got home and having family dinners together avoiding the globs of pureed peas my daughter loved to fling.
It was the way it was supposed to be.
When I started working again, at first it wasn’t too bad. Noodle spent time at three different friend’s houses, all three of which I trust with my own life. They all were more like extended family, so it didn’t bother me much, beyond my selfish reasoning. It hurt to hear about what she had learned to do each day, it bothered me that I wasn’t the one taking her to the park or to a birthday party. Granted my friends were wonderful enough to take photos so I could still see her antics, but it bothered me.
Then. Then, I got a full time job during normal hours (I always worked 2nd/3rd shift). Then I got a second job (the spring before last). So I entered Noodle in daycare. This daycare is the same one she’s at now, she went to preschool there and now Kindergarten. She’s thriving and each day it’s more apparent that I have a very intelligent, vibrant little girl. However, now that I’m back to working full time during the day, I don’t get to spend that much time with her. A mere 45 minutes in the morning, and 2.5 hours at night (I’m a strict bedtime mom, we get up too early to do otherwise). Monday through Friday. I spend more time with my co-workers than my kiddo, and she spends more time with her teachers (whom I love) than me. Such is the life of a working mother.
Do I believe that working mothers are horrible? Oh far from it, especially single mothers. It takes a strong woman to be able to balance work and home life and survive both equally. I don’t look down on career women or moms that choose to work for whatever reason. My point is, I just wish I didn’t have too.
I was raised with a stay at home mom, when we became school age, she got a job during the time we were at school. (OH MY GOD, my mother worked AT MY SCHOOL. Talk about getting double the punishment, her desk was right outside the principals office… had to walk right past her if I got in trouble.) Then she’d come home afterwards and spend time with us. So naturally that’s what I grew up basing life on. So when I started my own family, that’s how I wanted to run my family. Things just didn’t work out that way.
Ryan and I have talked about it, especially after he saw the “change” in me when I took the 5 day vacation and stayed at home. If I had my way, I’d stay at home and work part time (because frankly, my brain is not wired to stay at home permanently). I’d work my old hours and be home when my kid was, so not only could I take care of her but so I could take care of my house and cook (better). That’s what I enjoy doing, frankly I could give a crap less about a career that I’ll spend time at for the rest of my life. We’ve decided if Ryan can get a job making a substantial amount more than me, and we are sure that it’s secure that I would drop down to part time, or find a part time job. (The chances of that happening in THIS economy is slim to none, so I’m doing what I do best and trying to excel and hopefully someday move up in my current job.)
That’s what throws people off. Especially people that don’t know that I was already “At Home”. I think my whole “stance on feminist ideals” doesn’t help either. What people fail to realize though, feminism isn’t about forcing women into a career or whatever. It’s about giving women a CHOICE. A choice to stay at home, a choice to have a career (and be paid fair for her work). My choice (or want, like I stated earlier) is to stay at home and take care of my house and family. That’s what’s right for my family, and if I can, I will. (But again, Economy, so hello career haha). I guess I’ll just deal with the raised eyebrows, I like catching people off guard anyway. It makes life that much more fun.