I read my friend, Jerry's post this morning and felt I had to write about my experiences on the same topic.
I have always been a worker. A true multi-tasker. Proud to say that what most people take hours accomplishing, I can get done in 1/4 of the time.
A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to stop working. At this point, I was Chairing a non-profit organization (Mouse.org), sitting on a couple of other boards (profit and non-profit), raising a family, working on a gut renovation and decoration of a house, helping our kid's school by being the co-chair of the Development committee and also a variety of other things.
One afternoon, I asked our oldest daughter if she was interested in taking some class. Her response was, "I can't, I am too busy". I was floored by her response. She wasn't too busy, I was too busy. Although everything appeared to be running smoothly, I gathered through her eyes, life was a tad too crazy. Right then, I made the decision to cut back on work. It took me awhile but I now am only involved with the kids school.
Granted, I do a variety of other things. I plan our vacations, I make dinner most nights, I manage the day to day to our lives, I still meet with people who are interested in my advice from my experiences and I am always getting asked "what are you going to do next?"?
I admit, I do think about and fantastize about my next career move but it has taken me sometime to feel comfortable with what I am doing now. I never thought that I'd be an "at home" mom. Sure, there are days when I am absolutely bored out of my mind, but there are other days when I am beyond busy and can't imagine how I could get everything done if I was getting paid to work. I miss the career part of my life because in truth, it was great ego gratification. I am glad that our daughters saw me as having a career that I enjoyed and got a lot of satisfaction out of but at the end of the day, they are probably thrilled that I am home. Our son who is fascinated with my past career has offered to pay me to stay home for the time being. Unfortunately, he can't afford me but fortunately, our successes has allowed me to stay home.
What struck me about Jerry's blog was the question of "what do you do?" I has taken me some time to not cringe when someone would ask me what I do. I'd start off rambling about everything that I have done, and that I was searching for my next thing. I actually wanted to say, "I swear, I am smart, accomplished, have an opinion, can carry on an intelligent conversation etc.".
This past week, I had to take out a considerable amount of cash at the bank for our daughter's upcoming Bat Mitzvah. There was paperwork to fill out for the Government (which pissed me off to no end) and they asked what my profession was. I thought about it and said "housewife". It has such a horrendous stigma. Maybe we should come up with a different name. Family Manager?
Although now, when people ask me "what do you do?", I reply, "not much" until someone really wants to probe past that, and I am actually ok with it because I know my "not much" is one of the best things that I could be doing right now.