Lately it seems like everything I used to snark about or feel hoity toity and judgmental over is creeping up on me. It’s like some sort of karma thunderstorm raining down and soaking me to the bone. I can hear the clouds now….”how do YOU like it, you bitch”. Not a lot scary talking cloud, not a lot. I will openly admit I’m a very shrewd, judgmental person with a certain air of “I’m better then you” about me. No, it’s not always visible, I do a good job hiding it. A lot of the things I judge over I’ll never voice to another person. That doesn’t make it ok though, some of the things I felt like I believed in are seriously terrible, and of course I never thought I would be caught in my own cross fire. I’m amazed I haven’t lacerated my mouth with my tongue….
This is one is probably the hardest to admit because it’s the equivalent of firing a gun in the air out of anger, then the bullet arcs down and hits me square in the head. You don’t think it’s going to happen, but sure enough, it does. My life philosophy has always favored a Darwinistic approach to human behavior. Survival of the fittest, the best should breed with the best, etc. Of course, we now know that as eugenics. I remember in high school I formed some pretty serious opinions about fertility treatments. People who can’t breed on their own shouldn’t breed, I remember thinking. There’s obviously something wrong with them, something that evolution does not want this person to pass on. If 2 animals in nature are infertile, their genes don’t get passed on. Seems like evolution, no? If this animal was so fit and perfect, why would nature not want them to breed? Someone perfectly healthy and genetically sound could never be infertile, it would be a crime against nature.
What the hell was I thinking? I obviously knew nothing about why people were infertile, I figured it was just the cosmos delivering justice onto the human race. I have learned it usually has nothing to do with having terrible genetics. It’s more like just being terribly unlucky. Injuries, contracted disease, drug side effects, human habits themselves, and plenty of other reasons can render a person infertile. They aren’t terrible people creating abominations against the human race, quite the contrary. They are showing their intelligence in seeking help, they have a strong desire to have children no matter what, and because of that, probably end up better parents. I feel completely guilty for ever having those opinions, and I do feel like karma is paying me back in full.
I’ll start by saying I only know one stay at home mom. She has 2 kids by 2 different men and another on the way by daddy #3. To her credit, she did work on and off, and even went to school to work as a dental assistant. Then she just gave up and decided to stay home with her kids. If it sounds like I’m being bitter, you’d be right. You see, she lives in a government funded housing project where she basically doesn’t have to do anything productive to live there. She gets WIC… she gets paid to raise children. Despite this, I still consider her a good friend, with no real ill will. This friend has distorted my view of the stay at home mom as a miserable failure at having a real career. Stay at home mom = lazy. I mean, the rest of my friends and my own mom worked part time to full time while raising kids. It’s not impossible to do both, why do YOU get to stay home? And what are you going to do with yourself when they’re old enough to be in school? Eat bon bons and watch Oprah?
But…I think I’d like to be a stay at home mom, at least part of me does. Hold the phone….what? Yes, the bachelor’s degree holding, director of marketing at age 24 would gleefully throw it all away to raise babies if my husband made enough to support us. In reality, he does. He doesn’t make a lot either, we just live in a cheap house and don’t live outside our means. I just like having my own money to save, spend, and contribute. It’s nice to have basically an entire income dedicated to saving and splurging on a dinner every once and a while without fretting. Also I make extra money on the side by thrifting. At this point in my life, money is not a problem.
So why would I want to throw it all away? Well, like I said before, there’s money needed to live, and there’s money needed to play. We have the first half down. Also having worked my current job for 8 months, I’ve learned a lot about what I want in a career. I could continue my trajectory and claw my way up the corporate ladder, but I’m not sure that’s for me. I like middle management. I like having someone above me to guide my progress, to take the fall when things come down. I’m not sure I want to progress higher in life. I’m not sure I’d be good at it. Director of marketing looks good on a resume, I could easily slide into a higher paying position at another company. I don’t really want to.
I work full time, if I had a child I would be back to work in 6 weeks, and paying out the nose for daycare. Being a director sounds like a lot of income, but trust me, it’s not. My mother, who has worked customer service at a union grocery store for 15 years, makes the exact same amount of money I do. Something about not seeing my child for 9 hours a day crushes me. Especially when you’re working this hard just to have one in the first place. My logic says “you’re paying someone else to raise your baby”. I just can’t do it, not when I’ve worked this hard. I’m not knocking the decision at all, don’t get me wrong. Daycare is awesome and I’m not judging on women who choose it, seriously. I just don’t think it’s for me. I wish I worked for a company with on site daycare or made the same amount thrifting that I do at my desk job. Sadly, I don’t.
“So what are you going to do, bring your baby to work with you?” Maybe. I honestly haven’t given it much thought. I work for a very small business, and I’m sure the president wouldn’t care very much. Instead I think I’m going to try to swing a work from home situation, since everything I do I can do from any computer. “What if he says no dice, it’s daycare or bust.” I choose bust. I’ll thrift for my pocket change and enjoy every minute of it….with my baby in tow. I’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit, I’ll make it work. I don’t work because I enjoy working, there are people like that who will do what it takes to climb the career ladder. I’m not one of them. I don’t need a huge amount of money, I’m happy with what I have, I don’t want to fight it out for more. One last point….of all the women I mentioned who work while raising one of their kids…every single one said they wished they could afford to stay home. It makes me feel better, and less crazy over having these feelings. We work because we have to, not because we want to.
So many radical shifts in thinking. This journey has drastically changed my attitude towards everything. One year ago I would have never believed I would be willing to throw away a job I worked so hard to get, and that I fully support ANY and ALL attempts people try to have a child. Changing for the better? I certainly hope so. Please don’t judge….I learned that the hard way.