Haven’t posted in forever but this one I can’t pass up.
I hear you! I am in my 50’s. This means you and I were raised in the same church. As in, back when YW’s leaders felt it was ok to tell you that you were a loser if you worked outside the home. I was told that my kids would probably do drugs, get pregnant or worse killed in accident because I was at work instead of at home with them. We were also told that it was unfair to men if we entered the work force because we were taking jobs from them. The list of BS I (and most likely you) were told in that era was insane. I had the benefit of having a mother who was very successful in the world of business. And yet these leaders who knew my mom worked would still go off on women who worked outside the home.
I did manage to get a degree but right after graduation we moved and I already had a 9 month old. I decided I was going to do it the way church said it should be done…I guess I felt like I owed doing the “best” thing I could for my kids, to my kids. My kids, all ages 19+ tell me I’m a good mom. But honestly I hated being a stay at home mom. I wanted to work. I found no sense of self-worth taking care of a house, play dates, sleep overs, school plays, ugly Christmas projects I felt obligated to hang on walls. I can’t for the life of me feel good because I cleaned the house, got the laundry done and had dinner on the table. Some people thrive at it, and I envy them so much. I kept hoping I could be like my friends who really seemed to enjoy it all, but we aren’t all cookie cutter mothers. To me it’s a fine line between being a mom, or being nothing more than the servant my DH sleeps with. You can say attitude is everything and it helps-but because my mom worked I had no role model at all of how to be a SAHM.
Had I worked outside the home and had a since of monetary value placed on my hourly endeavor’s I think I would have felt very differently about motherhood and the mundane that can come with it.
My last child just left the nest. The hardest part about this latest move is that I have no social network to fall back on now that I don’t go to church. Dh has work and all that comes with it. I have a dog I don’t like very much. When my attitude sucks the days seem a little daunting and I absolutely hate it when he comes home and says: “How was your day, what did you do today?”
Due to my DH’s career I go to a lot of social events and small talk is an art. But I have never mastered the answer to the question “And what do you do?” I used to hide behind the kids with my replies, then for a few years I did volunteer work so I could answer with that, but we move often and so I don’t always volunteer, like now. I have come to dread that question. One of these days I’m going to answer with a very simple “when?”. Utah is used to having an abundance of women over 50 who stayed at home. Out here, you would think you just farted in public to say you are pursuing your hobbies, taking time for yourself, or traveling.
I turned down a fantastic internship to stay home with my kids. If I could do it all over again I would do it very differently. Some people thrive in staying home with their kids and I believe the kids benefit from it. Others thrive working outside the home, and I believe the kids benefit from that as well. I know I benefitted having a mother who worked. It taught me, I was capable. I had to be more responsible because no adult was going to clean up my mistakes in one phone call. If I forgot my house key I better have a backup plan. If I missed the bus I better have a plan. If I forgot part of my team uniform I better have a plan. For the most part the plan was taking care of my own responsibilities. I would have gone crazy had my mom stayed home. I loved coming home after school and having that time to unwind before anyone starting asking questions. I loved the extra time I had to figure out the best explanation I could give for why I got a D in home economics. We also had strict rules for those few hours between when I got home and parents got home. I learned early on, you don’t break those rules!
It is a scary place to find yourself at 50+ with no job skill, or work history other than volunteer work to put on a resume. Even scarier is if DH were to die unexpectedly. Putting RS pres. WY Pres. Stk athletic director on a resume outside of Utah is a joke. It’s a resume death sentence.
If I had daughters today I would tell them, go to college so that you don’t have to rely on anyone but yourself. Don’t be in a marriage because financially you are stuck there, be there because you WANT to be there. If you want control of your life/future you need to be independent. You never know what the future holds when other peoples free agency effects your life. Today that man loves you, and at 50+ he now loves that cute 28 year old-where do you want to be, with skills or without? Stuck or empowered to act? Should the man your with become ill/ handicapped/ or die what level of “capable” to you want to experience when your life plans fall apart?
I would ask my daughters all these things and so much more.
Sooooo, I think I might know where you’re coming from.