Not much to report here.
So I figured I'd go off on a tangent, though it is largely related to our approach to personal finance.
It has struck me lately that the blogs and forums (here and elsewhere) are full of talks about how impossible it is to have both kids and financial freedom. & a lot of the times these discussions tie in with how impossible it is to balance motherhood and a career.
I guess I am saddened to see, for all the strides women have made over the years, that so many women still feel they either have to work or stay home. There doesn't seem to be much consideration of some sort of middle ground.
Likewise, through all the discussions I realized a few things about myself.
For one, I don't really identify, for the most part, with young working moms. I have always identified more with older people, and I guess funny enough, that still holds true as I age. I think I identify more with older childless women. More than younger women with children. Mostly because I just can't take all of the "I am miserable" and the "I cant's." More on that later...
Likewise, I am tired of reading how one spouse has to sacrifice everything when you have children.
Don't get me wrong, having children is not an EASY road. We have certainly had our moments. We have certainly sacrificed some amount of freedom we had before kids.
But when I look at our lives I don't feel like dh and I particularly sacrificed much for our kids. My dh is degreed and has much work experience. He is perfectly capable of standing on his own financially. Likewise, he gave up a career he hated and got the guts to pursue his starving artist pursuits. Something he was far too practical to do before we had kids and he was home anyway. I encouraged him many times before kids to quit his job and pursue his dreams. Having kids gave him the guts.
Likewise, having children was more his dream than mine, and he does quite well with them. I got to keep the job I love. & yet I have plenty of time for my children because my spouse does so much to take care of the house and such. My experience is largely that of a very involved working father. I'm generally not worried about the household or how my children are taken care of. I know they couldn't be in better hands. & I know dh is much better with the raising them than I would be. It's just much more his *thing.*
Thus, we play to our strengths and neither of us has sacrificed very much in the process. There is certainly compromise, but there is always is compromise when you share your life with someone. Or when you bring other people into this world.
Of course, our life could be better and more balanced. Probably anyone's could be, but it gives us something to strive for.
Anyway, I share all this because not only have I noticed all this chatter on the internet lately.
BUT this topic came up quite heavily at the kids' birthday party. Whereas when the kids were infants we found plenty of peers home with their kids, we are starting to feel like a dying breed. At the party almost every mom there had announced that they had returned to work rather recently. & they all commiserated with each other greatly. Going on about their 20-hour days between their inflexible jobs and not-so-helpful husbands.
Then they all kind of looked at me in pity. "Poor MonkeyMama, she has done this for FIVE years!!!"
& my response was, "Huh?"
I just don't identify with their plight in the least.
I have concluded, for the most part, that people assume my spouse is a leech who does nothing. He is a man after all. & I am often quite insulted at what people have to say. But it's like, wait a minute, my spouse is home full-time taking care of the household and the child rearing. No, thankfully, I have not lived your miserable existence for the last 5 years. !!! If so I would have gone quite mad by now.
Of course, on the flip side, as we pass the ages where daycare is no longer more expensive than a second income, we have discussed the future and reveled in the idea of a second income to save. At some point down the road anyway. A lot of the times we look to this route quite cautiously, knowing it will bring great stress and work. Much more than we are accustomed to. We also champion the money we save with a spouse at home and are well aware a second income will have its share of expenses.
But spending a day with those moms? I am happy to stay on our current path. The second income just doesn't sound so grand, if that is the baggage that it comes with.
I told dh whenever I was down about our own financial situation I just had to spend 2 seconds with those moms. OR just about any working mom.
In comparison, both my spouse and I have plenty of joy and leisure in our lives. I am not even entirely convinced we have that much less money. LEss money, yes. But THAT much? Not really. The taxes on that second income always make me cringe. I know it will be much harder to stick to a tight budget when you consider a second commute and the loss of all that time shopping for deals, etc.
Anyway, in recent months I made a not so conscious decision to exit out of the mommy crowds. A lot of it was just the rude RSVPing and all that I had griped about. But I kind of just realized, I just don't really identify with the other moms. I think I am tired of them all pitying me as a working mom. IT just gets old. Who said I needed any pity? Likewise, I am tired of hanging around so many people who are just absolutely miserable. & my conclusion is that most moms are absolutely miserable. IT's kind of sad to say. I have been making an effort to hang around with my less miserable mom friends. & it has been a lot nicer. They are out there. Just harder to find.
But yeah, if nothing else. I am not sure I Can get across that I never had to pack up my children for daycare or communicate to another caregiver outside the household what they needed. I understand this an extremely unique position to be in. Likewise I Don't have to spend my evenings prepping them for the next day or whatever. Our evenings are for fun. Dh takes care of the work they need during the day.
You could argue I am lucky to have such a spouse. But it works both ways. HE is just as lucky to have me.
& I think I mostly put this out for the "independent" women of the world who are scared having children will ruin their lives. You know, it just might if you sacrifice your own happiness or principles in the process. But there is not only 2 ways to do things. There are a million shades of gray in between. I think that is what happy moms realize and practice. So I just had to share.
I am one mom who is not miserable in the least, and though children have set us back financially, I still think it is quite possible to do quite well financially, even with children.
I think if nothing else we have both give ourselves much more permission to slow down and enjoy, now that we do have children. & there really isn't anything wrong with that. IT is rather freeing. IT's kind of nice we can slow down, enjoy, take on much more financially, and still do okay, in the grand scheme of things.
Poor Working Moms...
Not much to report here.