Well hello, hello. I never thought I would say this, but I'll be relieved when summer is over and my son goes back to pre-school. I am exhausted trying to keep up with Buffalo's summer schedule. But, then again, its better to have too many things going on then none at all. I find myself falling behind with my writing and I want to make sure I'm back on it. This particular topic has actually been on my mind for a while, so let's get into it.
I've officially been a SAHM (stay at home mother for all you non-parent folks or those of you who just don't get acronyms) since June. I love it, I really do. I like taking care of my home, organizing it, cleaning, maintaining it. And for me, there is nothing better then my son seeing my face every morning when he wakes ups. And I am completely over the moon by the fact that I make my own schedule. I create my own structure for order, no one has put it in place for me at adhere to. But with all of these wonderful aspects of staying home, I have to wonder, as my child gets older...how will this effect my career outside the home once being a stay at home parent is no longer an option? The New York Times recently had an article called "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In", which examines the lives of several working women who "opted out" and left their outside, professional jobs to be full time, stay at home mothers for their small children. Fast forward ten years later, these women are now facing divorce, depression, difficulty entering the workforce and finding that jobs only pay a portion of what they were originally making. I have listed this article below. Now, I have to be honest...that article freaked me out at first. I will be the first to tell you that being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Which is why I jumped at the chance to stay home and not rush off back to work when I lost my job at the end of May this year. I knew that working full time and trying to hold things down at home was burning me out, not to mention the stress and feeling of guilty for not being at home and the envy for those who could actually afford to stay. I told myself, "Hey! You've had a job, non stop since you were 16. You deserve a brake from the corporate rat race". That's what I told myself. I cut out little luxuries and talked things over with my husband, who appeared supportive. And it seems to be working...but I miss outside work. I miss the office environment, the conversations with my co-workers, that feeling of "success" or at least what I had defined as success for so long. But I truly love being at home, I really do and remembering all the anguish I went through with my last job solidified it. I was not going back out there. Then I read that article and began to panic. I knew that my time with Masaya in his early stages was fading fast. He would be starting school full time next year and then what would I do? Maybe work part-time? But would that be enough to get me where I wanted to be? That article painted such a grim picture, but then contradicts itself at the end when it throws in the fact that these women had powerful ties and were able to assimilate back into the workforce easily or were finacnly able to balance both. I was confused, what about those who didn't have that luxury? What about the average joe trying to come back? Where was their story? I sent out resumes immediately.
Then it dawned on me...life isn't always that black and white. At times it is, but for the most part it is very gray with bits of brown mixed in there. Why couldn't I do this on my own terms? Why did I have to fit into this scheme of either staying at home or working outside. Yes, I miss having that extra income, there is no doubt about that, but at the end of the day I was working for day-care, cable TV and shoes that were gorgeous, but too tight. I miss those shoes, but I have bigger dreams. And being home allowed me to focus on writing again, my first love. Networking with other writers and getting my work out there. Not to mention having the time to work on a business plan that is still in its early stages, but I promise to keep you posted. My conclusion is you have to do what's best for you! And believe me, if it comes to the point where my husband is killing himself working trying to keep us afloat, I will be out there working faster then anyone as ever seen. I know its easier said then done, but if you can put your head down at night and sleep well knowing that you are happy and that those around you are happy and you are an equal contributor to the family, then you are on the right track.
I wish my husband was an well off investment banker and we could go on vacation every year and travel to Japan to see his family when we want, but that is not our life, even when I was working. I wish focusing on my home and child alone were enough for me, but it's not. I need both worlds, home and the outside workforce and I am doing my best to make it happen. And as far as that article goes, I found an interesting counter to it that settled my nerves at Refinery 29, its listed below as well. So keep an eye out, this mom may be the next big thing in screenwriting, e-books or even the owner of the hottest boutique in WNY.
Love Malinda xoxo
Here are the links for both articles:
And here is the archived article that started it all in 2003 called "The Opt-Out Revolution":