Thursday, April 29, 2010


Readers, I've been thinking a lot about my next step this week. Not my next meal, or my next nap, although those are perfectly reasonable things for me to be plotting, but the next step in my, y'know, life.

My daughter has said some things recently that have made me wonder whether it is such a good idea to let her see me chat on the phone and eff around on the computer all day. She and a friend were once playing Mom and Dog, and when I saw her on the couch with her feet up flipping through Newsweek, I asked her what she was doing and she said, I'm the mom. She has said things like, You don't have a job. and You don't work. and it got me to thinking about why I am the way I am (read: lazy) and I came up with a theory.

I have great mom, a fantastic, generous, beautiful, healthy, fit vivacious mom. But she was also the product of her times, and although she did work when we were growing up, her jobs always seemed temporary, mind-numbing, and only necessary to bring in a little extra dough. She didn't start a career until I was 15 and my brother was out of the house, and my guess is she never entertained the idea of getting a college degree. It was clear that her jobs were necessary, but not valuable. My dad would never, in one million years, have stayed home from work to take care of a sick kid, so guess who would? As awesome as it was to have had a mom that was home when I came home from school, even if I had no idea how awesome it was at the time, I am now wondering whether not having a working mother as a role model was not such a good idea. Although, saying that out loud seems crazy; lots of people I know had moms who stayed home, and they're the same people who are ambitious and hard-working and who take fewer than one nap a day. (My mom would probably like me to mention here that, even though she was often "just" a housewife, she actually spent her days cleaning her house until it gleamed, making her own clothes, and actually cooking dinner every night. She would probably also like to make it clear that she did not raise me to be a slob, and hereby absolves herself from any responsibility for my slovenliness. I'm just guessing.)

I'm concerned that, at eight years old, it may be too late to embed into my kid that working for a living is the default position. Of course, having to buy her own tampons and pay her own rent one of these days might give her a clue regardless of whether I have a job right now or not. She wasn't alive when I had my career and was too little to notice when I was the primary bread-winner of this family, and - am I ruining her? Is she gonna be like me? God, I hope not.

And how do I show a kid how to go after her dreams and reach for the stars if I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up? I do not want to go back to what I did before, and, hence, I am pondering next steps.

What do you guys think I should do with my life?


lama said...

I don't know any more than I said today, but I'm happy to have been the audience for the verbal version of this post! Thanks for lunch...

James said...

You are giving your daughter a most wonderful gift. She's 8, you're at least, what, 30 somethin. So, although she may "accuse" you of not working, you can't let that get to you. You're the momma. And you are working everyday for her and you and your family. I have a great mom too, who stayed at home, and was wonderful. But I, on my best daddy days, hardly hold a candle to her. But that's cause I'm me and she's Mom. I'm sure there's plenty greatness you bring that your mom didn't. I think if you wanna stay home, you should rock that proud. You can help your daughter follow her dreams and reach for the stars by being there for her, spending time with her and giving her the confidence to know who she is and what she stands for. As I am sure you are doing today. I think your effect on her will be more the product of the things you do with her rather than the things you do for work. So that's my thought as far as your daughter goes.
As for what you should do next... Well, I've always wanted to be a boatbuilder, but I play with Excel all day, so I may not be the best source.
Keep up your good work.

Bored Housewife said...

James, you're gonna make me cry! Thank you so much, you have no idea how good I feel right now. Thank you Thank you!
p.s. Are you James from Maine via Greenbrae Elementary School, or another James altogether?

James said...

You are so very welcome. Yep, that's me. In Maine... From N. Almenar... Holla!

Lara Starr said...

I def. don't think you *should* work (or stay home for that matter)if you don't have to want to or have to (I could go on and on about the socio-politics of women and work) but I do think that there is a lot of pride and self-esteem to be had from time well spent. Don't get me wrong, I loves me some TV and trashy books and movies (not to mention messing around online) but honest work - be it keeping a house, volunteering, caring for children or getting paid for your labor feeds the soul.

I don't think you need to have paid work - or even big ol' dreams or goals - in order to be a good role model for your daughter. But showing her the value of making choices about how she spends her time, that we all have to do things we don't want to do (which makes getting to doing the things we want to much sweeter) and that the product of our efforts make a difference to someone (boss, client, spouse, child, charity recipient, etc) has a lot of value.