July 6, 2006

SO, what do you do?

A year ago, I would have said “I work for the Federal Reserve doing data security”. Now? I reply, “I stay home full-time with my son”.

Last Friday marked a full year of what I like to refer to as “this Staying gig”. I can’t put my finger on it, but it still makes me chuckle when I say “I stay at home”. Why “stay”? It suggests the image of me merely sitting on my couch all day twiddling my thumbs, not "going".... just "staying". But I digress.........I have to confess that it has been Twelve Blissful months and in particular, I’d like to give a shout-out to X. Last year, I was all set to work up to a few weeks before my due date, but the Fed was getting pretty miserable after a painful re-org. My new boss was passive-aggressive and would berate me for leaving a meeting when I needed to puke OR she would pull bullshit like berating for not having sent her a file and then when I would point out that I DID send the file, she would proceed to berate me for not naming it something that she would easily recognize. In short, there was Much Berating. Bitter much? Nah, NOT ME. Anyway, X was the one to push me to quit more than 3 months before Arun’s due date and I was all “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina” as my fat pregnant ass waddled out the door past the metal detectors. Hands down - those last 3 months of my pregnancy were some of the happiest of my life. I was able to relish being pregnant and just take it easy. Whenever Arun would start kicking, often, I would just stop and enjoy the moment. I am forever grateful that I had those months to pamper myself and was able to get the house in order before Arun arrived. And then Arun DID arrive and the next few months were some of the hardest in my life. None of the baby books prepared me for a baby that wanted to be held ALL THE TIME. A fussy, high-maintenance Bundle of Boy who was all “me, me, ME”. Did I mention that he wanted to be held ALL THE FUCK TIME? Before Arun, I was all “co-sleepers are granola grained FUH-REAKS” until the Universe totally bitch-slapped me and I had a baby who slept like rock WITH me and ONLY with me. But we adjusted, came to mutual terms and life is good now. It was the hand I was dealt and I played it as best as I could. But as hard it was, I never felt I was making some huge monumental sacrifice and I am WELL AWARE that not having to worry about punching the snooze button at 6:00am had something to do with it. Believe it or not, I have tried really hard NOT to complain too much because I appreciate the perk of sleeping in late or catching a nap.

I've always known that I would want to stay home full-time, if possible. I've always known that with my slightly obsessive personality I would have always felt torn between being a Yes Woman in the Office and a Yes Mama at Home - not getting either Quite Right. Yes, I am glad that I had the years to be able to focus on my career and be The Man’s Bitch - I’ve worked a lot of hours and traveled a lot of miles. I have no regrets that I could put that kind of effort in for those years - it made it all that easier to give it up for now. Besides, my career was just ONE part of me and while Arun has come in to take its place for the time being, the other parts of me are STILL there - although some are dormant (GOD, I miss raku).

I am STILL ME, dammit - it’s only the title that has changed.

Back in February, I observed the 7 month mark of my having left the Working World. I commented then that I still felt like ME, just with less hobbies and hangovers. 5 months later and that comment still holds true. I AM still ME and really what has changed is that my Focus is different. Do I miss the “working” world? Not.One.Single.Bit. I guess since I feel as if I SHOULD miss the “working” world, a part of me feels bad that I DON’T feel bad. I LOVE staying home with Arun.

Back in June of 2005, I was so worried that I would be bored staying at home or that I would feel as if I wasn't pulling my Financial Weight. Nothing could be further from the truth. And I think this is where I need to give credit where it’s due. Again, with the X. Never, ever, not even Once, not even Implied, has he suggested that What I Do is in way, shape or form, less than What He Does. Not once. Maybe this is why I don’t think my self-esteem has suffered a single iota since I stopped bringing home any Contributory Bacon. X and I are both acutely aware that what I Do Now makes our lives easier and enjoyable. There is no question for either of us regarding the value I bring to our household. Sure, some days the biggest stress I have is getting Arun and I out the door in time for a something fun, but staying home isn't always a piece of cake, either. Ironically, TODAY is actually one of Those Days and unfortunately, I'm no longer Working for the Weekend because the NEW Boss Man never fucking LEAVES. He's always HERE and he always seems to want SOMETHING.

AnyWAY, in the same topical vein, a few months back I registered Rancid Raves on Technorati. Here are the tags I entered when I registered:
india
kansas city
mommy
evolution
knitting
cooking
reading
book club
television
celebrity gossip
marriage
kansas
coffee
parenting
anglophile
traveling
wine
jayhawk
family values

And for kicks - I even entered this one: who am i?

I am not sure if those words actually portray me or this blog, but they are MY perception of how I would describe me and this blog. I think there is this notion that Motherhood should be some mind-blowing, life-altering event. In many ways, it HAS been. But I also suspect that this is yet another progression in this thing called Life.

So, to answer the question - who am I? I’m a lot of things - a proud Kansan, a Jayhawk, a mother, a wife, a reader, a knitter, an oenophile, a blogger, a LOT of things and in no particular ORDER. But most of all, I am ME and all of those characteristics come in and out of Focus dependent upon the situational facts of Spare Time and Priority. And Honestly? I certainly hope those characteristics continue to change over the years. Damned Straight- I hope to add NEW ones.

After all, I’m only 35 and God willing, I’ve got a long, long ways to go.


My Favorite Boss Man Yet

Look at the RUG on that big ole Mushroom Head. Get a decent haircut, already.

Look at that corpulent, double chin on the guy. Hello - Jenny Craig?

Look at the maniacal laughter. I'm telling you - he's INSANE. He’s working my fingers to the bone, yo. Bug-eyed freak.

6 comments:

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

Didn't the Most Adorable Yeti in the World just have a haircut?

You know, it's funny, we were a two-parent-working household only for about 3 years. My mom only stayed home when we lived in Canada because she didn't have the level of French to do what she does (sales). She went back to work once we moved to the US, my father got a stay-home-and-work gig when I started highschool (more like, we were going to move again and then my mom put her foot down and told him to work out a deal). A LOT of Indian families still judge my parents for it-like why is the father staying home and chopping onions and cleaning house while the mother walks out the door in a business suit? I have had boyfriends tell me not to tell their parents the truth like it's something shameful. HECK, if my father can get paid to laze around on the barcalounger and raise his girls who the hell gets to judge him for it?

Last week my dad was showing me his latest product-he's inventing a new bottle for Really Really Big Company for their new product-something most everyone will pick off the shelves of the grocery store sometime in the future when it launches (they're launching in Malaysia/Hong Kong/Taiwan/Tokyo first) in the US and I asked him if he considered this is "biggest" accomplishment (he already has about 40 patented inventions).

He turned to me and said "your sister and you are my greatest accomplishments and always will be."

Stay home, work full-time (like my crazy mummah), part-time or whatever-it doesn't seem worth it to judge someone else for their decisions. As long as your kid realises you're Priority #1 in the end I think you're doing okay. I'm happy you're having such a great time and am sure Arun will realise that he was always priority #1-for the working and staying home parent.

PS: when I was in lawschool one of the firms I summered at sued your former employers. I was responsible for writing several of those memos. :)

Wordnerd said...

He looks like a micromanagerial control freak to me. You poor thing, you. ;)

Great post. Being able to be honest with yourself with things aren't all that great is a great attribute. And just remember that while the pay may be lower than before, the benefits are 100% better!

alimomof2 said...

I really appreciate being able to stay at home with my 2 boys. My network of friends include those who stay home, those who work outside of the home, those who work part time, and those who work from home. Different things work for different families. I think the thing that would really suck is wanting to be home but having to work.

I do sometimes feel guilty that I don't "want more" right now. All I want to do is be with my kids. I still have hobbies and interests, but not in a career, not in anything that will take me away from my family for any significant amount of time.

I sometimes joke with my husband that it is HARD work to play with his kids all day. But we all know it is much more than that. And like you, I am lucky to have a supportive partner that appreciates having me home with our kids too.

I love the double chin look. It seems as if he is shocked by some sort of insubordination!

Cagey said...

Monkey,
There are never enough haircuts for him, it seems. sigh. I agree that families have to do what works for THEM. I've seen working mothers and fathers get it right where they share duties. I've also seen cases where it did NOT work because the mother was doing ALL the work at home as well. I've seen cases where the father stayed home and that worked.

Wordnerd,
Yes, it is ironic that today is actually not such a great day for being a SAHM. Overall, I DO really like staying home, though.

Alimomof2,
It sounds like we are 2 peas in a pod regarding the SAHM situation. :-) I like to tease X that I am "mooching off of him".

Average Jane said...

Yay! A new post! I, for one, love SAHM Cagey. She's a lot mellower and happier than Slave to the Man Cagey. ;)

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matt@wefeelfine.org