Working mom v. Stay at Home mom.
Hell, working WOMAN v. Stay at Home WOMAN.
It’s quite a choice to make, isn’t it?
While I’ve never been a mother, I have been a woman for, well, just over 33 years now. And I’ve been working for 17 of those years. Like, legitimately working. Hard. I started working when I was 16 years old and haven’t stopped. I got my first corporate job when I was 20 (after I dropped out of college) and basically just kept climbing that stupid ladder from then. I’ve been an executive assistant, a contracts liaison, an insurance agent, and, most recently, sales/service for a cheese company. I’ve made very small steps in my career, but each step has been both up and forward and, for me, that’s is progress.
During all that nonsense, I also finally completed my Bachelor’s degree, something I honestly didn’t think I’d ever do. It was hard and painful. There were plenty of tears and late nights and exhausted mornings (because I was still working full time).
So working has become normal for me. A routine. I’ve done it for more than half my life at this point. And frankly, I like making money. I like being able to buy things and go out to dinner and have fun.
And in one week, all of that is going to end.
I’m “opting out.”
I’m choosing to spend my time taking care of a husband and a home (not to mention two little doggies). Part of it is out of necessity. I’m moving to one state for only about five months before moving again to another state where we’ll be for three years. So a five month hiatus from the stress of my current life doesn’t sound all that bad. But once we get to state # 2, I’m starting to wonder whether or not I should try to get another job. I suppose those first five months will help me decide. Will I be bored? Will I feel useless? Will I want to contribute – financially, to our home, and professionally, to the world? Will I feel like I’m missing out on something? My biggest fear, however is: Will I feel like I’m taking advantage of my new husband’s career and finances? My second biggest fear is: Will I feel guilty for “wasting” my expensive, hard-earned college degree?
My dream job, for as long as I can remember (except for that time in high school when I was sure I was going to be in the CIA) has been to write. I want to get paid to write. More recently, that became an even more focused desire to write for Vanity Fair. If you’ve never picked up that magazine, I highly recommend that you do. The writing is brilliant. If you need some back issues to look at, I have some recommendations. It’s the perfect read for me…fashion, culture, op-ed, history. It’s everything good about magazines without being weighed down by garbage (though it is quite a heavy magazine…thank God for the iPad edition!). That’s the publication I want to write for. The reality is that it’s probably way too late for me to start trying to go for that. So I just need to find other ways to write and get paid.
The truth is, I think I’ll love being at home. I’ve often wondered why more companies don’t offer a telecommute option, regardless of whether someone is a parent or not. I’ve found that most people are far more productive at home than they are in an office (at least, some of the time). There are fewer interruptions and, frankly, it’s nice to not have to wake up at 5:30am to take a shower and dress is business casual. Somedays, a girl just needs sweatpants, a pony tail, endless coffee, and a laptop. Talk about efficiency! It’s the lack of making money and helping our financial situation that bothers me.
I’ve thought about volunteering to curb any potential boredom, but that’s really just working without getting paid and, as I’ve said before, I like making money. I also don’t want to work at Starbucks or a bar. Well, to qualify, I don’t want to work at some crappy dive. If I worked at a bar, it would have to be somewhere that I can be creative and not just sling beer. I want to do something that interests me. Even working part-time, I want to be challenged and intrigued. I want to contribute.
So there you have it. “Opting out” is never going to be as easy as it sounds. There are so many variables to consider. And not one “opt out” person is like the next.