I read some good blog posts recently which got me thinking about what I plan to do with my life, especially if/when Mr. Micah and I have kids. I suppose it was also started off by the “If I were debt free” meme.
Mr. Micah has pretty much figured out what he wants to do with his life. He wants to help people learn to think. And he wants to do it by being a philosophy professor. That’s great! I’m so relieved to be living with someone who’s living his dream (though he hasn’t finished his dissertation yet and isn’t a “full” professor).
If you ask me what I want to do with my life, I could probably give you a half-dozen things. I want to be a writer, a quilter, a librarian, a therapist (if I can stay sane anyway), a person who makes the world better, a theologian. There’s six and I don’t think I’ve covered everything that interests me.
In a way, that’s fortunate. Because it means I’m quite flexible and could be happy in a lot of different roles. If we were debt free, I’d take time off work to explore them, as long as Mr. Micah was employed.
I think this also prepared me well for being a stay-at-home parent. I don’t want to be one just yet, but the prospect of having a kid in 3 years doesn’t crush my soul.
I could do so many thing–I could sew on the side. Or I could do some freelance writing and blog. Or have short telecommuting jobs (via Hire My Mom and such). Or I could work on a novel. Or I could make quilts for charities (both quilting and making the world better). Or I could volunteer on the days when Mr. Micah doesn’t have class/has class only in the morning/afternoon. Or I could do some really part-time paging at our library (10-12 hour weeks) during times when Mr. Micah’s able to be home with the baby (kid). Or teach people to sew/play the violin/do other things.
And maybe when my kids are older I’ll work part-time or even get another degree (if we can afford it) in psychology or theology…or personal finance.
As many before me have shown, having a second income doesn’t often mean much if you have kids. Costs for childcare and costs of working suck most of it up. Plus it detracts from quality of life. It probably would do little for our debt repayment. I’m in favor of gender equality for staying at home. It’s just that Mr. Micah is really passionate about his job/career. I don’t have something like that right now. And I have passions which can be expressed best if I’m not employed full-time.
My mom raised us after spending her first 20 years of college going around the world, teaching in the Peace Corps, getting her PhD, and teaching college courses (and lots of other exciting things too). Having us was the second phase of her life.
Even as a kid I really appreciated her being home. She didn’t make money on the side, as I might, but read a lot. I think that’s what she did most…read. Besides caring for and then homeschooling us, that is. The latter was a good bit of work in itself.
Once I went off to college, she started teaching Latin part-time at a one-day-a-week school. This earns her some money which she mostly gives to charities she likes. She saves some for special treats as well. (This and having terminal cancer! Some weeks it’s quite hard for her, but she loves the kids.)
We’ll see what happens, of course. I can’t predict the future. But what I can tell you is that life seems so much more flexible now than it did last year. The binary between career/home has dissolved into many options.
P.S. Yes, Denise, I know this is the koolaid of patriarchy. 😉