Friday, July 2, 2010

What is the oldest profession exactly?

It's time to defend myself again. I don't know why I have to keep doing this, but it's time to whip out the old guilt busters again and champion my choice to be a stay at home Mother. It isn't what anyone else has said. It's mostly those nasty, creepy, comparative voices in my own head. What do they say, you ask? It goes like this:

1. You are financially dependent on so many people. What a loser.

2. In this day and age, what kind of example do you think you're setting for your kids? Retro fashion doesn't apply to "housewives" who prepare dinner, get her man his slippers and drive carpools.

3. The children will possibly be done more harm than good from my omnipresent mediocre mothering.

(Remember, these are the creepy voices, not necessarily the ones I like)

4. IF you had any actual skill, you'd be making some money, dumby.

5. Great, you stay home in their formative years, and then try and get a job when you're in your declining years. Smart thinking.

6. Keep telling yourself it's for them, you lazy sloth.

7. You don't even keep house, or cook that much, so what exactly do you even do all day?

You get the idea.

Well, to that, I answer, it seemed like a good idea at the time?

I once said that people have told me to be more rational for so long that I've become quite the expert at rationalization. So here goes:
(it doesn't go in direct point/counterpoint, but I do have some answers floating in my head)

1. It IS good for the kids that I’m around. For moral support, for school success, for getting them to activities & playdates, for the attention paid.

2. The old, what if I died tomorrow. That way, if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t have missed anything. This goes to both positive and negative which I won’t do. I’ll just note here the old, on their deathbed, does anyone wish they’d spent more time at work cliche.

3. I wasn’t doing anything so great working that I really miss it. (I certainly wasn’t making enough money to justify being away from the house for a full 11 hours). For one, isn’t work sort of over-rtated? Two, it’s a falsehood that not working is a brain atrophier. I can read, I can be involved with productive activities while they are around. I don’t think I really lost any intelligence being home. (not that I had all that much to begin with)

4. I did good works. I volunteered at the kids’ school, at a charity. I contributed to the general good of the world. I even peaked when I was co-chair of the parent body. It’s like being the head of a half million dollar non profit corporation. (not that it’s not sick that our school raised that much money a year....but of course that’s for another blog)

5. It makes me happy. Really, really happy. That should count for something, shouldn’t it? I’m passionate about being a Mom.

6. In feminist terms, it is in every facet a job. The fact that it isn’t directly compen$ated doesn’t alter the fact that it’s an honorable profession. It requires intelligence, skill, emotional prowess, huge energy, compassion, determination, and provides satisfaction, and dividends. Society both values it and diminishes it, so it’s up to those of us who pursue it to reinforce it’s societal value.

7. Maybe in the end, the kids will appreciate it.

So, I’m sure I haven’t covered all the important aspects, but I’ve tried. In the coming years, as one daughters leaves the nest and the other one approaches middle school and high school, and as I approach retirement age, I will definitely find a way to transition into some kind of work outside the home. A therapist I saw once told me that she recieved her Medicaid Card and her PHD the same day. That was uplifting. I only have to retire if I want to.

And to all those working outside the home Mothers out there, I salute you completely. This says NOTHING to denigrate your choice. If I’d had anything that satisfied my intellect, paid any decent money, and been equally worthwhile to me while I was raising my children, I’d have done it. I’m just saying that for me, this was the choice that made sense. And while every few hours I question it, in the end, I can justify it as good.

Thanks for listening.

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