I posted last week about how I wish Doug would figure out what he wants to do with his life so he can stop being underpaid and complacent. I want this for him so that he will feel happy, and fulfilled, and needed, and proud of himself. But – perhaps even more so – I want this because I am selfish and lazy. This is my confession.
Like I’ve mentioned here before, I decided I wanted to be a writer at the age of eight. For years, it seemed like everything was on track for me to live this dream: I was the star of all my English classes through junior high; in high school, I joined the newspaper staff and enjoyed two years of celebrity status for the column I wrote; then I went to a career-focused college, where I majored in writing and literature and worked as a tutor, helping fellow students with their writing.
Then I don’t know what happened. Maybe I realized that it’s not as easy as it sounds to graduate and fall into a dream job. Or maybe it was that I moved to Europe, met my ex-husband, and lost sight of what I’d been planning up to that point. Instead of writing, I worked a waitressing job, then an assistant’s job, then a grocery store job. I often asked myself what I was doing with my life.
When I got pregnant, I remember thinking how much easier my life was going to be once I had a child. My baby would be an out from having to make a career for myself. Instead, I could just work a few days a week, to stay social and make a little money, and spend the rest of my time raising my kid. I lost the pregnancy, but I never lost my love for this idea.
Growing up, I never wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. My mom has been one since shortly before my first birthday, and she’s amazing, but, I told myself repeatedly, it wasn’t for me. Enter one egg, fertilized then reabsorbed, and now I’m singing a much different tune.
Now all I want is for Doug to make money so that I can change my priorities/responsibilities. I want to be provided-for. I want to have babies and watch them grow. I want to spend my days going for walks, reading, helping with homework, chauffeuring my kids around, meeting friends for coffee… I know I’m totally glamorizing stay-at-home-parenting here, intentionally leaving out the diapers and the vomit, but this is my fantasy, and I’ll tell it however I like. In this fantasy, I do want to continue working part-time at the grocery store (or similar), for the sake of a social life and spending-money, but for the most part, I want it to be Doug who goes off to work five days a week and brings in the money to pay the bills and feed the baby.
So what happened? Am I an anti-feminism traditionalist, or…?
No. I’m exactly what I always wanted to be. I’m a writer. And I prove it by writing in this blog every day. Sure, no one pays me to write (yet), but that doesn’t make me any less of a writer. And considering how exhausted and overwhelmed I am most days, juggling work and writing and life, it’s become obvious that, when we do decide to also bring a child into the picture, something is going to have to give.
Can’t give up writing. Can’t give up life. Can’t give up on the idea of having kids. Looks like “work” has gotta go – at least in its full-time incarnation.
Of course, if Doug does manage to become the primary breadwinner,* I’ll have to make some lifestyle sacrifices as well. As it stands, I cannot/do not cook. I cannot/do not clean. Like I said, I’m selfish and lazy. But, dear universe, if I could just be a housewife, if I could just wear cute aprons and pearls and stay home most of the day, I promise I would learn.
*”Bread-winning.” “Bringing home the bacon.” Did the euphemism writers of yore know my favorite foods?!