My post on May 6, 2010, Making Peace with Work, on SVMoms kicked off a surprising number of comments and I'm thrilled that readers are engaging in the dialogue. Some parents feel they have no choice - they must work because they live somewhere expensive and their partners cannot/will not be the sole financial supporter of the family.
I grew up in a single income family. My mother was incredibly involved with my sister and I while my father, who made it to all the important events, was basically stressed out for twenty-five years. And one of the biggest sources of conflict was money. My father was an excellent provider and we were very lucky. We lived in a nice town, attended good schools and had fun weekends and vacations. But he and I remember the stress.
As a child observing those arguments, I felt strongly that I didn't want to be economically dependent on someone else. And I didn't want, if I could avoid it, to be the sole economic provider for a family. To me, that just adds a lot of stress to life. It may work for some couples and that's great, but I knew from a young age, that it wouldn't work for me. And I recognized that I like attention and personal accomplishment - both well rewarded at work, but not so good is your job is stay-at-home Mom.
I have no idea what my children will recall as the source of the arguments they observe between my husband and I. And I cannot predict what choices they will make based on those observations. Here is my guess of the top 10:
- We were tired a lot, but not too tired to play
- We were home for dinner, at least one of us, virtually every night
- We weren't both out of town on business
- Once a year, we did go away for fun without them
- We fought when the house became exceptionally more disorganized
- The laundry stayed in baskets for more than a couple of days
- We exercised before they woke up in the morning
- We asked for help - an au pair who lived with us and close friends and family
- We helped others - their cousins and close friends were at our home to help their parents out too.
- We took full responsibility for our choices, explained them and accepted the consequences.
I hope you'll read and comment on the Making Peace with Work blog as well as here. What drove you to make the choice you've made?