Sheryl Sandberg's book , "Lean In" has been all the rage on the mommy circuit this week. There have been some brilliant new discussions on women's roles in leadership and business. From the girl fight angle to ah, shaddup, I'm just trying to pay the water bill, there have been some great reads coming from the ladies I know. And now it's my turn. A lady not leaning in.
I'm not sure how to explain why I don't work, at least not without coming across as a braggart or a bitch. Truthfully, I could afford day care and probably pull in some real cash if I got into the right situation. I'm a rather gutsy sales lady and careers requiring outgoing people with thick skin generally pay decently. If I worked, I'd have more savings, a nicer house, be able to donate more and go on more vacations (then again, vacations are kind of a pain in the ass when you have little kids. Amirite, moms?) I'm sure I could find a way to spend the extra disposable income a second career in the house would bring in.
So why don't I do it? Why am I not out there on the front lines, fighting for professional success and contributing financially to my family? Because I don't have to. There. I said it. I don't have to work. I'm satisfied with a modest home. It has wood paneling, people! The other day, a friend of mine asked if I would be trading in my car soon. After all, she and I have been friends about four years and I got it new when I met her. It's about time, right? Heck no! There is absolutely nothing wrong with the car I drive so it will be in my driveway another ten years. No, my home isn't straight from the pages of House Beautiful, but it's in a great school district and keeps the rain off our heads. Problems solved, as far as I'm concerned.
Hinting at the fact my material goods aren't the stuff of royalty makes me feel like I'm shaming my husband for what he provides. Make no mistake, I'm very happy and grateful. I love my stuff. I just don't see the need for constantly having more and more and shinier and shinier. I don't see the need to work while my kids are small just to feed my ego and outfit us in head-to-toe Pottery Barn. I do not need crystals dangling from every surface. I just need food, clothes from Target and Three Buck Chuck. I have enough. For that, I realize I'm very lucky.
I understand the reality for many women is they need to work in order to put food on the table. Those ladies have my utmost respect. It also makes sense for Ivy League educated women with high incomes to continue in their career paths. For women like me, with liberal arts degrees and blank spots in their resumes after years of raising children, the time, expense and cost to my family doesn't balance with "extras" me working would afford. I'm not selfish or lazy, I'm just practical. Leaving these little faces behind every morning when I don't have to seems like the opposite of dedication.
Tales of warning have been thrown at me left and right. What if he leaves me? What if he screws me over? In that case, I'll morph back into survival mode like I did during the years of working three jobs and living in $10 shoes for a year. I'm not too proud to work. I'm not scared I can't do it. As a matter of fact, I'm not afraid of poverty since I've lived it. If my husband runs off, I'll just
bury his corpse in the backyard rebuild my life like I did before, with a tiny apartment and t-shirts for pillowcases.
As for the daughters I'm raising, may they lean in until they fall over. I'll just be over here folding laundry.
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Filed under: Momenomics