Originally Posted by vermonttaylors
What I have learned and interpreted from the women's movement is that I deserve to make my own life's choices and not have them dictated to me by a sexist social structure. But NEITHER should I have my choices dictated to me by women of a certain generation who feel I owe it to society to work becuse they struggled to open the workforce up for me.
Sorry, I know this thread is not about Linda Hirshman and whatever guilt of her own she is working out by trying to make the rest of us feel bad. I will now get down off my soap box and let you all return to the topic at hand.
Just after I find my box of bonbons. Oh, there they are, under my new bodice-ripper!
Thanks for your interpretation. You know, it's ironic, I never really gave it much thought before. I mean, I was glad that the women's movement all came before me and that I didn't have to break any barriers down in order to enter the workforce. I never gave motherhood much of a thought, to be truthful. But in my heart, I knew I couldn't do both. And I was becoming distant with my children when I was working, staying longer than I really had to simply because I knew I'd be drained when I got home. It's sad, but I felt if I stayed late enough, either dh or MIL would give the kids a bath and I wouldn't have to. After 11+ hours of being away, I didn't have much of me to give at the end of the night.
You know, Linda Hirshman may truly not feel any guilt whatsoever. She may be of a certain personality that doesn't really feel anything she does is wrong, and on top of that, feels her way is THE way to live and everything else is a big mistake. I know people like that. Unfortunately, my mom is one of them. And I had this eerie feeling when I read that first article like I was reading something my mother would say about the matter. My mother was pretty adamant about telling me I was making a big mistake and I was foolish to quit my job, giving me the feeling everything would go to heck not long after I quit.
Yes, it's been a bit hard adjustment for me (still even 4 years after taking the leap of faith), and I admit I was shocked to get pg 3 months after I quit my job. Talk about the fear rising up. But we've adjusted (and dh got snipped!). Dh got a better job this year and is much happier. And the girls are thriving and so smart and I think the environment I've made for them is part of the reason (the other is that my dh and I are fairly above average, so genes play a part too).
I hate the vacillation between desires though - the desire to be home and continue the enrichment of my children, and the desire to do something that not only has meaning in my immediate environment but that is recognized by others as meaningful and valuable (and contributes to the greater good) and is intellectually stimulating. I had a wealth of intellectual stimulation from work environments. And as a bonus, I'd often get into in-depth discussions with my colleagues. Needless to say, I had a lot on my mind and got my tank filled with bouncing ideas off others. Some of the dialogue was work related, but often it was about social issues.
And then of course there is the simple lack of faith that this is the right choice, not only for the children, but for me as well. It's especially hard when you are the minority voice in a very mainstream area. Without the proper support, it's hard to remain fast to your belief that you are doing the right thing for yourself and your family. That's when you come along those articles like the LH one and you really start having doubts.
It could be because I'm approaching 40 in 2 years, so I'm sure this is adding a bit of tension. You know, the whole starting a family late, changes things a little bit. My sister started having children at 22. She started an OTA program at 35 and is 38 now with 4 kids and a new career - but they are all school age. Me, I started a family at 31, and now at almost 38, my littlest is 2.5 - still too young to be really apart from me. The earliest I would seriously think about a job would be when she would be in all day K in 2 years.
It's so reassuring to at least have found others like me who have been down the same road and face some of the same internal conflicts. It's reassuring to know that I'm not wrong to be having these same feelings. And after discussing this topic, I am re-convicted that I'm doing right by all of us. Even though I still anticipate some doubts, but that's just a normal part of it, not something terribly wrong with my thinking patterns.