Tuesday, July 31, 2007

4/21/2006 - June I Hardly Knew 'Ye

Apr 21, 2006
Oh June, I hardly knew 'ye
I read a great post on Her Bad Mother today about the struggle between career and family and the choices we make. I read HBM because she makes me squirm. I love her and feel insignificant *around* her but I need her because otherwise all I would think about is what to have for dinner tonight and whether to get a pedicure.

There are some great posts going around right now about feminism and our roles as mothers. I feel like a fraud. I must confess. I wish I could say that I have struggled with career urges but frankly, I would rather opt out of that whole aspect of my life any day.

It’s not that I don’t have a great job, I do. I have had several great jobs. Ones that I was very good at. A "career"? Not so much. Because to me a career implies a passionate drive and desire to succeed in a specific field. Not me. I have had great luck at landing in jobs that were fairly interesting, usually challenging, and they paid the bills. I am a good employee. I like to do a good job. No, a great job. And I am a real pleasure to work with. But given the chance I would rather be home working in my garden, with my kids frolicking nearby, as a chicken roasts in the oven and a pie cools on the windowsill, while Daddy works away at his job in the city.

There, I said it. I am not a career woman and my mentor is June Cleaver. My real driving force and passion are my family, my vacuum, my wheelbarrow and my Kitchen Aid mixer. The most basic human needs of food, shelter and nurturing are what motivate me.

So I am letting my gender down, right? I don’t disregard the struggle women made before me to get us where we are today. I applaud the women who are running this country and big business and I stand behind them and the choices and sacrifices they made to get where they are. But I’d rather stand behind them from my kitchen than in the boardroom.

I am supposed to feel guilty about that, yet I have never felt more fulfilled and content than I did/do when I am at home with my kids and my husband. Not that I am able to stay home and live out my fantasy. When I met my husband that was the track we were on. He was making big bucks and I was burnt out. The prospect of hanging up my briefcase and frequent flyer badge was too, too attractive. But things changed. He was hit hard by the dot.com bust and suddenly I was the breadwinner. I rose to the occasion, somewhat begrudgingly but with a general feeling that I was doing what was best for us. Now we were making choices on where to live and what house to buy based on me and my job. When the twins were born it would have been easier and more economical for him to stay home with them. But we couldn’t do it. Intellectually or emotionally. I knew I would resent him for being where I wanted to be, and he knew he would feel diminished in the role of SAHD, since he already feels like he had let me down by not making what he was when we decided to marry.

Side Note - Am I "let down"? A little, but he makes up for it by being such a wonderful, loving and giving father and husband. That part is way beyond my expectations. It's true that my marriage is nothing I expected it to be yet way more than I could have imagined. So we made the decision to put the kids in daycare because, all things considered, it was best for us as a family. Which sounds weird, but if you knew me and my husband you would understand. In the final analysis, I am living up to what my gender strove for. I have a great job, and a thriving family. But inside I am still pining for June.
Posted by Michele at 4/21/2006 03:33:00 PM
sherry said...
I can't think of much that would "let down your gender". In my humble opinion, feminism is all about having choices, not basing the choices we make on our vaginas.I can tell you as a full time Mom, there are some days a job looks like a juicy, medium-rare, filet mignon. I won't lie. Occasionally, the grass is certainly greener you-know-where. I admire women who can raise children and work outside the home. I also admire women who do what I do. It all depends on the person and, personally, I think you're pretty damn fabulous. See? That's the great part about being a woman...being respected for whatever you do.
Apr 21, 2006 5:27:00 PM
Carol said...
My mentor is a combination of Lorelai Gilmore (of Gilmore Girls) and Annie Camden (of 7th Heaven) - LOL
Apr 21, 2006 6:04:00 PM
Her Bad Mother said...
Oh, I don't want to make you squirm! Unless it's in a good way.I'm so glad that you wrote this. Women that really do hanker after the pie on the windowsill need to feel free to come out of the closet and assert that aprons and pies, freely chosen, are as compatible with female empowerment as power suits and multiple degrees are.My revery, sometimes? A rambling farmhouse in the country, with WonderBaby and more babies tumbling about in the grass while I watch and write and watch and write. Oh, and a pie cooling in the window.Probably not one that I baked from scratch - my bucolic fantasy includes regular trips into the city for urban stimulation and quality pie acquisition (for later re-heating) - but still.
Apr 22, 2006 10:06:00 AM
macboudica said...
Don't get too hung up on the whole feminism thing. Sometimes I think the whole femenist movement let women down because it said, "You need *equality* with men." It defined equality as sameness: same career, same salary, same political standing. Don't get me wrong--women have benefited greatly from the movement. We aren't property anymore for starters. But in a lot of ways, it fell behind. As anyone who has raised more than one child simultaneously knows, equality and sameness don't always equate. Just as each child has a unique personality/needs, so do women/men have unique needs. We are different, women do have children, and why should we have to feel guilty for wanting to raise them instead of pursuing a career? The women's movement forgot about the family, and that is its biggest shortcoming. If a woman chooses to stay at home (or to work), THAT IS A CHOICE (her choice) and, after all, isn't that what all the fighting was for?
Apr 22, 2006 11:03:00 PM
Binky said...
If you used half of the great lines in here as starting points for new posts, you'd have a month's worth of blog entries that would keep me riveted. There are so many interesting issues addressed here. I love reading all the different perspectives on "feminism" and motherhood as expressed in blogs like yours.
Apr 24, 2006 8:37:00 PM
Michele said...
Wow, I am blushing. Thanks everyone.
Apr 25, 2006 9:35:00 AM

1 comment:

sherry said...

When I saw your blog was no where to be found, I immediately called Sharpie asking if she'd heard anything of where you might be. We deduced it was the in-law thing, which I can totally relate to!

Welcome back!!! And next time, let a sister know when you decide to up and disappear!!!