So as a single mama, I had tremendous independence. It was probably the reason that my relationship with my now-husband, did not work out in the first place. He is a nurturer, by nature. He is most comfortable taking care of everyone. And I, my friends, was completely and adamantly opposed to being taken care of. Certainly, that was partially a result of the end of my first marriage and the subsequent inability to trust relationships, but I’m definitely very self-sufficient by birth. A bit defiant and horribly stubborn as well. Dangerous mix.
When I (and my lovely daughter, because she was involved in the decision), decided to marry and move in with my husband and his son, I knew that I had to relax and live in the present, as my Buddhist studies have taught me. I knew I was going to have to let go of old baggage and roll with the new and changing familial structure. One that was unfamiliar for sure and a bit uncomfortable even, at first, but one that I went into totally willingly. Both for the sake of love and for the wonderful family life it would provide for my daughter. (Back to my oldest posts, she and I have a very close relationship and without a doubt, every major decision I have made since her birth, has been with her first and foremost in my mind). So we moved in, got married and everyone began learning how to live together (more on that in future posts).
My real surrender in independence became when I gave up the research job I had for about 12 years, to take a teaching job closer to our home. It allowed me more family time and I could get my daughter from school every day and bring her back to my classroom. Wonderful! I did that job for a year and then, missing my old workplace with the two hour daily commute-I headed back there. But that year was with a much less-paying job and I had to learn to let my husband take over some financial responsibilities. It was trying, but I went forth with it and we were all fine. Really. Fine.
Back at the research job for two years, the lab underwent major restructuring and was going to be moving across the country. Left with little alternative (we own a successful business, so we weren’t going to move), I took a part-time teaching job at a local college and worked as an independent consultant for some local businesses, doing computer/web design work. I also decided to take a couple classes and start work on a different Masters degree-in the Natural Sciences/Chemistry. So it’s been busy for sure! But definitely much different than having a 40 hour a week job with a 2 hour daily commute. After nearly 8 months, I’m still hesitant to say I LOVE this new schedule. And giving up my financial freedom has been interesting to say the least. Although I still have several sources of income, it’s much different than having the paycheck every two weeks, of the same amount, deposited into my account. I’m also uncertain if this is where I’m really supposed to be. Career-wise. However, my daughter turns 13 this summer-and I’m definitely noticing that she needs me nearby in different ways…and probably more than she did as a toddler. I also feel the need to do a million things on the day I am home, just so when anyone asks what I did, there is a whopping big list. Self-inflicted, sure. Anyone else have this? But as far as being able to deal with my husband bearing more of our financial end of things, that has proven to work out fine. I take care of lots of things that are difficult for him to handle. I take the kids to appointments, make arrangements for our store when he doesn’t have time and I handle all of the stuff that goes along with home-ownership (including cooking/cleaning).
End result: The kids love me being around more. Fresh baked everything, all homemade, healthy meals. I was semi like that before, but there were nights each week that were rushed and had more “quickie meals”. My husband loves it this way, it is a great compromise that gets everyone’s work done. We make a very effective team. My vote is still undecided. I feel more pressure this way, to get everything done because everyone thinks you have so much free time. When in reality, there isn’t much free time at all. I often joke about starting a revolution where women accept that taking care of their kids and their home and doing a great job at these tasks, is the most important job and needs to be respected as such. I feel total empathy for stay at home moms who don’t get the credit they so deserve. How about it? A revolution?
Scrumptious coconut Easter cake!