Back when I was a corporate drone, before I had three children, I had the good fortune to chat with an Executive Wife. Her husband was the CFO of my company and commanded a salary well into the six figures, yet Executive Wife worked at Whole Foods as a bookkeeper. I was always baffled by her will to work when she surely didn't need to work.
One day while strolling through Whole Foods with a three month old Olie, I bumped into her and we started chatting. I had recently resigned my corporate drone position because I found pumping and storing milk until the end of the workday to be totally inefficient; it was far easier for me to be at home and pop a boob in Olie's mouth whenever she demanded it. At that moment - an impromptu conversation amidst grapes and kale - Executive Wife shared her reason for working: her children were all away at college and she was bored. But - she confided - she had worked while her children were small, but once they started school, she quit working because she thought it was far more important for her to be available to them at that point; a maternal figure - she reasoned - was easily substituted while her children were babies. I didn't understand her logic then but, now that I have two school-aged children, I do.
Yesterday, Lizzie's Social Studies class went on a field trip to the Titanic exhibit. I would have loved to have chaperoned, but I couldn't - 100 pages of reading was beckoning. Like Stefania, I enjoy packing lunches, I like chatting/going for coffee with the other moms after the bell has rung, and I like to have the opportunity to volunteer at my kids' schools. I just don't enjoy packing lunches while typing a hurried e-mail to work, book briefing, and making sure everyone has on clean undies before heading out the door. I don't like the working mom hustle-and-bustle and the demands on my time that make me an absentee parent. Those of you who do it either because you want to or you must - I commend you. But me? I am just not going to do it.
I've been a full-time worker and I've been a full-time mom and I've done both at the same time - albeit not very well - which is why I can say with certainty - unless financial necessity demands it - I will not work full-time once I graduate.
Madhubby and I've talked about my desire to be active in the kids' lives and we're in agreement. We were both latch-key kids who came home to empty houses and cold ovens and we don't want that for our children. I want to pick them up from school and chat about their day as we head home. I want to know their friends and their friends' parents and be available for the unplanned play date. I know - it all sounds dangerously 1950s with the cooking and the coffee talk but I assure you, I won't be slaving over the oven and frantically scouring every inch of my house. Nope, I have a phone (for delivery) a car (for takeout), and internet access (to locate a housekeeper) and I'm not afraid to use them. I just want to be sane and happy and not look back on this time with regret. Is that too much to ask?