As an education major I didn’t have any guys in my section save one: Alex. He was there from the first education course through my masters. I saw him sometimes during internships joking with students or having lunch with them in the cafeteria but we never exchanged a word until our last semester. I heard teaching gets easier after the first year, I said. To which he snorted and laughed. I’m not going to be a teacher for more than a year. I’m going to be an accountant. That’s going to be my real job. What man would make teaching their profession? The question that remained unanswered and until today I wondered was then why on earth are you majoring in education?
When people ask me what I do, I fumble. I’m a lawyer, but I’m home with my baby right now, and uh, I write. I mean, you know, I want to be home while he’s small, but I’m going to go back to work. . . Yep, that guilt I wrote about feeling as a SAHM a few months back? Still there.
Then I read this article Baraka shared with me a few months back that despite making less money, working fewer hours with less upward job mobility, women in the Netherlands are not sweating it. They’re happy. It reminded me that the guilt is a situational guilt of being a product of a culture in which a great deal of value and expectation is placed on working full time. I began feeling more at peace with my choice, proud in fact, and then. . .
I read this article [also shared by Baraka] about very compelling reasons not to be a SAHM since the financial consequence of doing so in the long-term are statistically grim. After reading that article, part of me wanted to print out a bucketful of resumes and post them on every telephone pole in town and the other part me of wanted to say. . .
Who cares? Because the truth is while being a SAHM is understandably not for everyone, I love it. I imagined drudgery, loneliness, monotony, but instead its the happiest I’ve ever been. I love waking up next to him in the morning, watching him play at my feet while I chop salad for dinner. And speaking of dinner, I love having the time now to try new things and expand our dinner rotations. I love working on my novel while he naps, and focusing on my other creative pursuits [oh- and reading articles- clearly I love to do that!] Do I sometimes miss the camaraderie of coworkers and power lunches? Yes. But not enough to leave this behind. Not yet.
In my last post about this, Sharee pointed out, We women are always looking for reasons to feel guilt whether it’s over eating the last cookie or taking a well-deserved nap. She’s right. I do care about my future career prospects but the time to worry about that isn’t now. Right now? I’m working on a novel. I’m caring for my son. And I am happy.
I finally understand Alex. He didn’t want to be an accountant. He loved teaching. But he thought as a man he shouldn’t. If the life path you choose is one you can embark on with a clear conscience, a sense of dignity, and joy because you’re doing what you love, there should be no guilt. Being home with my son fits the bill to a tee and I am not going to feel guilty about it anymore.