• Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
  • Sunshine and Unicorns
sunshine & unicorns: a blog about love, learning, and life in the upper midwest

21 September 2008

"life's just much too hard today," i hear every mother say

If you were to ask any of my close friends or family for a few words describing my personal views in life and the living thereof, you'd likely get a few of the following: Liberal. Progressive. Hippie. Even Feminist. And my upbringing certainly was such. My level-headed, well-educated parents made sure their only daughter knew she was capable of anything she wanted to do (with a heavy emphasis on academics and some less-than-subtle nudges down the road to career-womanhood). It paid off; I did indeed grow into a well-educated career-woman. A well-educated career-woman who happens to love cooking elaborate meals and keeping a tidy home, believes in taking the husband's name at marriage and stay-at-home momming, and has a secret lust for prettily patterned A-line house-dresses and cute high heels. (Ok, that last part is not-so-secret.) Wait... Say what?

You did read that correctly. See, while I do have some very liberal views concerning religion, politics, and life in general, when it comes to myself as a woman and my future family, I am very much a traditionalist. Allow me to (at least partially) explain (ramble).

First, some background. I have never really known what I wanted to do in life. Some people had a calling; I really didn't. I'm pretty knowledgeable about technology and I can more than cut it in most school disciplines, but I never really had a 'passion' about at anything in particular. I did enjoy school when I was younger, and knew I was supposed to do well and get a higher education. It's very important in my family. While my mother did stay home with me, she did not advocate such a life for me. She was in fact, very vocal about me having a career. So, I cannot say I inherited my housewifey-views from her.

I am, by nature, a very caring person. When I am in a relationship, I really put my all in to it. I like to take care of the person (and myself, of course). I like to cook delicious dinners, keep all of the clothes clean, make specially hand-crafted gifts, and miraculously solve all perceivable problems. What I don't care for, is going to work. Don't get me wrong: I have a great job in my area of expertise and a decent salary, but I really would rather be at home. A lot of women tell me they'd go crazy at home if they didn't work, but I don't think I would. I am SUCH a homebody. Like I said, I love tidying. Organizing. Writing Christmas cards. Making everything... nice.

I often think I was meant to be born in the 30s. Then I could be a perky 60s housewife who makes pretty pink cupcakes and serves roasts for dinner and keeps her avocado-colored refrigerator perfectly organized, her makeup perfect and her bathrooms spotless. Of course, I realize that housewifery isn't all (or even mostly) thrills. Women back then were not considered as equals to men. Many were not valued, and/or were treated like slaves to the rest of the household members. Since most did not have their own money, they were provided an allowance of an amount which their husband saw fit for use toward maintaining integrity of the home. And if a woman DID want to have a job, she was often discouraged by everyone: friends, family, and potential employers.

I've always wanted to have a family, and part of that dream included being pretty young when I had children. Life changes, though, and in order to keep up with my inner wishes, I'd have to be having babies right NOW. I'm getting older than I ever thought I'd be without becoming a mom. As I said though, life changes. Plans change. I'm not married (not that you have to have a ring on your finger to get pregnant, but still, I think it's a good step to take). I have school, and I have work. So does Bf. We don't see that changing for years to come. And then what? We'd like to both secure more savings. Buy a house. Get settled in careers in a city of our choice. How old will I be when it's finally "time" for children? People tell me that it just happens, and when it does, you find the time. I guess they aren't familiar with family planning and semi-permanent contraceptive options. Nope, it won't happen until we DECIDE it'll happen, and that won't be any time even remotely soon. Because what happens then? Well, maternity leave for one. Because I work outside the home, I'd need some. And it's known that in many industries, taking that leave can mean being passed over for promotions, denied tenure, or simply being seen as unreliable (especially if the woman is fairly new to the employer). And what about child care? No toddler of mine is spending 40+ hours a week in daycare; it's the opposite of an ideal environment, in my opinion. But that is what career women do. What do career women who could/do excel in their fields, but really want to stay at home and be moms/wives do? Work from home maybe? Suck it up and keep on keeping on? Though these questions are years down the road, I still find myself asking them.

So you can see, my conflicting interests in both a comfy, happy home life and a lucrative career cause me to do a great deal of philosophical tail-chasing. The result of all this is a childless, quarter-century old, gainfully-employed, overeducated perpetual student who has no religion, lives out-of-wedlock ('in sin') with her more-than-a-boyfriend, and doesn't get nearly enough use out of her cookbooks. But at least I have tons of cute shoes.