I have an admiration for a writer who has a blog called "So, the thing is..." I read her blog daily and really enjoy it.
Yesterday, she was tagged over the issue of women choosing to work or choosing to stay at home and be a mommy. Well, she tagged herself by choice, rather than someone tagging her, but the effect was the same. She gave some very thoughtful consideration to the issues, and I had a few of my own to add--so I commented on her blog, and decided to copy those thoughts about my own choices throughout life here. The following is my entire comment:
I have to say that I love your blog, and I'm subscribed to it. Loved all the thoughtful and informed comments you made on the meme--it's never been something I've even considered--but my own mother was a stay at home mom, married at 14, divorced after 43 years, and the man she was married to, while he did bring home the bacon, it never seemed to last very long--her biggest fear was that she would lose her house or her kids--the house is gone now (a victim of divorce), and the kids grown. She still stays home, but it's an apartment, and the money comes from social security and the divorce settlement. The man she was married to was a good provider insofar as he could be, but he was an alcoholic and beat my mother until I was 16 years old. She finally stood up to him one day, and he didn't beat her again, but the point was made. She had no skills, but encouraged me to be somewhat financially independent, while she fostered dependency in her son (and her grandson). Even so, I still got pregnant too early and married to the wrong man too early, and made all the bad decisions basically because I wanted a house with that white picket fence they're always talking about and thought it would require two incomes even then (nearly 30 years ago). I finally achieved it at a time when I was divorced and not even SEEING someone.
How Ironic is that?
But if people made all the good choices, and still have this angst over home/career--well all I can say for that is that it's nice you had a choice, but what's all the angst about? Do what you have to do, and get on with living. Either way you go, you're going to have something devolve into a mess--because now it DOES take 2 incomes to run a household--and welfare surely doesn't cut it, but I don't think that asking the government to make up for the lack in society is the answer. The government is over-run with highly paid people who do nothing but sit and committee about the advantages/disadvantages of this or that choice. They take so much money from the budget that there's nothing left to spend on the programs that are creating and maintaining dependency (rather than independency) in people who also want all the nice things in life that the people who "work for it" have.
In short, there are no easy answers--you can't live on a babysitter's salary--unless you're sitting for SEVERAL children, and how then can you guarantee that you're watching them all with the same degree of "watchfulness"? Sigh. This has become a lesson in "there are no easy answers" for me, all my life has been that way. So I figure the best to do is to decide--get off the darn fence, and do it, and worry about the consequences later. Survival is the most important thing.
Just some thoughts on the matter--and of course those evolved into my own life, but I do have really strong feelings about the issues at hand...and so does Barb--one cannot divide their life between two masters--work at home, work outside home--one will always suffer and the balance has not yet been achieved--not even in the slightest direction. It's sad, really, because it's the next generation that suffers in one way or the other, no matter which way things "turn out".
Remember how we used to tell ourselves that we wouldn't want to bring a child into this world 30 years ago? It wasn't really so bad 30 years ago, considering what we know now--was it?