A Mother’s Work…

I grew up with the assumption that I would have a career and be a working-away-from-home mother. It was a given, just like getting married and having children. The fact that my childhood goal of a hetero marriage and a first child by age 24 didn’t happen should have prepared me for other plan changes.

For instance, I took as my first career working in the publishing industry. When I didn’t feel a passion for it, I decided to go to grad school for poetry (how romantic!) and sign away my future child’s college funds to Sallie Mae. Luckily, I got a wife out of that deal, but the air in the tires of this poetess has been let out (who knew there is no career in poeting?) After stints as a reporter and working in the environmental nonprofit world, I thought, “Wow, I really don’t like people!” The inevitable conclusion? A career in plants, of course. Well, my foray into the community college landscape design program came to a halt with my father’s passing, and now—though I still love me some plants—all I want to do is make a baby and be a mom.

My BFF (with her son in a kid's playroom at a local cafe) has a full-time job and career as an online high school English teacher. She is passionate about her work and her son. It's a beautiful thing.

A year ago I got a part-time job working for an online university teaching English composition. It brings in some money, and the best part (besides having no “boss”) is that I can do it at any time of the day from anywhere there’s internet. Yes, that means in my PJs on the couch or at my favorite tea house listening to awesome music. It is a job I want to hold on to because it seems ideal for a new mother (or even a morning-sick pregnant gal). When I’m not working, I actually enjoy doing some shopping, cooking, and other housewifey things.

The downside (because there always is with Debbie Downer over here): Besides the stress of not bringing in enough dough, I have the guilt of 1) not having a passion for this work either, 2) not having a career like I was supposed to—coming out of my particular educational background, and 3) not knowing what my passion is so I could at least pursue something for a career.

Is it enough to want to be a part-time, work-from-home mom? Have I lost my street cred as a “modern woman”?

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5 Responses to “A Mother’s Work…”


  1. 1 Julie March 8, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Great post and awesome pic of Steph and Jackson!!!

    Here’s an interesting article:

    http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/meet-the-radical-homemakers/

  2. 2 malkageffen March 9, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Thanks so much for posting this link, Julie! I loved the article (and I LOVE Yes! magazine). I realized that, like the worries I wrote about in my previous post, my issues surrounding homemaking can be relieved with reframing. The author’s point about how the home is the front line for economic, ecological, and social change makes me feel warm inside (and motivated to finally ask my neighbor to teach me how to preserve the food from our garden).

  3. 3 Steph March 9, 2010 at 1:39 am

    I like that you called my basement a local cafe:) I mean, it’s a pretty cool space, but it doesn’t have an espresso maker.

    Anyways, you know where I come in on this debate. I believe you can really have it all–you just have to decide what your personal “all” is–and if part-time work that just helps pay the bills and comes with a ton of flexibility, coupled with being an outrageously fabulous mom is your “all” then dive in! Happiness is yours for the making:)

  4. 4 malkageffen March 9, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Seriously? I thought is was the cafe where your students do open mic. Now that you mention it, I was wondering how Jackson convinced you to let him go out in his jam-jams!

  5. 5 Kristy March 9, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Yahoo, I get to be the daddy! When we have a baby, I’ll try to be understanding if I come home to dirty dishes and hungry bellies to cook for, but no promises.

    Listening to the new parents I work with has taught me that both mamas and papas feel guilty no matter what; either they’re not providing (enough) financially for their families/ not doing something “important” with their lives, or they’re not spending enough time with their child(ren). So I think it’s truly amazing that you’re creating a life where you’ll be available to our child even while making some money. And if your passion turns out to be raising a child, I hope you’ll take pride in it.


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