My daughter will be a Kindergartener next year. That means I will have two school-age children in my home. For over eight years now, my kids have been my job. I know you Stay-At-Home-Moms that are overflowing with bright and shiny abundant love for their children and their stay-at-home lifestyle are probably cringing right now. Your kids shouldn’t be considered a job! Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love my kids, but they are work. Sometimes I think digging ditches would require less energy. Maybe that is why the last eight years went by so fast; I was fatigued and dehydrated from wine-guzzling Mom binges.
The last few months, I have been asked the same questions repeatedly. “What are you gonna do next year?” or “Where will you work?” People assume that because my children are in school and not climbing the walls at home, that I will actually go and get a job that requires me to shower daily and wear adult clothes. These people do not know me very well, if at all.
Throughout my life I have had numerous dream careers. Growing up I wanted to be a teacher. As a child, teachers were really all I knew. That and babysitters. I assumed I had two options. All of my babysitters drank sweet tea. I didn’t like tea, so I had to be a teacher. When I was 18, I wanted to train Orcas. Turns out, Orcas attack humans. Dodged that bullet, huh? Around 19, I wanted to discover indie-punk bands and make them famous. Quite ambitious considering I knew no one in the music industry. After leaving the military, I wanted to be an x-ray tech. Then an accountant. Then a chef.
Then I met Ben. Ben encouraged me to stay home. He didn’t care if I worked. He didn’t care about having more money. He didn’t care about excess. From the beginning of our marriage, we have survived on one income. There were no struggles. There were sacrifices, but never did anyone go hungry. Even now, we sacrifice (I miss you, Cable Television), but everyone eats. Believe me, everyone eats. I’m eating as I type this. No one is going hungry.
America is a country of excess. I get it. Having more is quite appealing. Bigger and better can be very attractive. But we aren’t those people. I like shiny things, but I don’t want to love them. Getting a job would mean having an abundance. An abundance that we would get accustomed to. That abundance would eventually become a need. Then my job would become a means for survival.
Do I want a bigger house with a dining room? Yes.
Do I need it? No.
Would I like an SUV? Yes.
Do I need it? No.
Would I like new clothes all of the time? No. I would not. Too many options would stress me out and I would probably quit life. This was a poor example.
Because there is no pressing need, I will not be getting a job next year. What will I do?! You know all of those things working parents do on the weekends? Cleaning the house, grocery shopping, laundry, etc. I will be doing that. Alone. I will read labels in the Asian food aisle. I will make meal plans and actually follow through with them. I will get to fold clothes after the first dryer cycle as opposed to the seventh. I will volunteer at my children’s school so I can be all up in their business. (Ain’t nobody holding hands in the halls on my watch.) I will read a book without being interrupted. I will take a shower in the morning like a normal human being. I will finish writing a book that has been “in progress” for over five years now. I will meet with my friends for lunch and then hold their babies so they can take naps in the booth at Bread Co. I will have a clean house. Most importantly, I will take deep breaths and rest.
Unless minimum wage is raised to $15. In which case, I will see you at the Taco Bell Drive Thru, y’all! Gotta make that paper.