Obviously, not true as this is my current occupation. I know some people will roll their eyes as I use the word “occupation”. I’m sure I did before I knew the effort it takes to do keep two kids under the age of 4 alive. Not even the effort to be a good mom, just to be a: I-fed-my-kids-and-I-have-a-general-idea-of-where-they-are-mom.
I grew up with a mom who was a working mom and saw her as a champion & always assumed that I would do the same. But making the decision about work/childcare & what’s right for you and your family is a highly sensitive, financial, & personal decision. There is not right or wrong; only what works for you and your family.
That said, I see the shade. The “I could never” “I would be so bored” and I try not to get offended. I understand the need for people to defend their lifestyle choices and I try not to get overly sensitive about things. I strive to emulate RuPaul as he once said, “Nothing offends me but intentional cruelty and extreme poverty.” And yes, my moral compass is mostly guided by RuPaul, Andy Cohen and Judge Judy. Anyways, whatever choice someone makes about work and childcare is obviously the right one. For them.
What gets my goat is that a woman can never really do the “right” thing. It’s unfair and pits woman against each other. For example: I have a friend who currently stays home with her kids. She’s an amazing mother and also a former Olympian. YET she still had someone say to her recently, “I wish I knew you when you were ambitious…” This annoyed me to no end. The idea that a woman’s prior success could be held against her in order to make another woman (a working mom) feel better about herself is INSANE.
Luckily, in contrast to my uber-successful friend, I am in no danger of being bizarrely criticized for my overly ambitious past. For example, for YEARS my parents kept a report card of me ALMOST making the honor roll in 11th grade: it had both a C plus and an incomplete (excessive tardiness) yet my parents were so proud of my efforts that it stayed on the fridge for a full decade.
I get it, we live in a culture that our “work” defines us. It’s the first question that gets asked at a party and I see the light go out of some people’s eyes when I say I’m a SAHM. The next question is usually about when I’m going back to work. It’s way more culturally acceptable to be a SAHM when they can factor in that I’m saving money through daycare. My value can still be assessed in some monetary way. Fine, whatever, I know my worth and it’s not the cost of two kids in day care. I also know I have limited control how other’s perceive me, so it’s best just to keep moving.
Though I did make my husband promise if I were to die in the next few years to have my obit read simply: Deirdre Londergan: Unemployed at the time of her passing. No mention of being a “loving mother & wife” “college graduate” (barely) or any other hoopla about my life. Just simply my employment status.
I also want my gravestone to read: Deirdre Londergan. UNEMPLOYED.