Why I Work
*Note this entry is from my previous blog’s archives (Mobile Mommy)
Mar 9, 2010 1:47 PM
I had an appointment with my psychologist today. In talking about some of my concerns we’ve particularly been focusing on my childhood and how it has shaped me. I mean, we all know our childhood experiences affect our adult lives, and I’ve always been aware that the motivation for me to have a career and independence was rooted in my childhood experiences, with a mother who was so dependent on her spouse for financial support that she never seemed to be able to freely choose anything. But still, a lot of the time I am so busy living my life that I don’t really evaluate why I am the way I am or why I feel the need to make the choices I do.
I have worked fairly steadily since I was 13 years old. I babysat regularly when I was 13 and 14. I got a job at McDonald’s weeks after turning 15 and being considered old enough. I kept that job until I was 22 or so. When I finished high school I worked for a summer at a bank and then ultimately went back to McDonald’s and got a part-time job at a different branch of the same bank. When I went to college to become a paralegal I kept working at McDonald’s until I had my diploma and had a permanent legal assistant position. Other than maternity leaves I’ve never been unemployed, and of course I started my virtual legal assistant business when I realized I wouldn’t be returning to my paralegal job after having baby #3.
I am an extremely lucky woman today. My husband works in a field where we know he will make a good income that can support our family (well, most years). My husband does not expect me to work. But I DO work. I worked out of the home for most of our marriage and now I work from home. If my business is not the success I want it to be, I will go back to working out of the home. Not because I love working (although I do like what I do most days!) but because I need to feel like I have some independence and control. It sends me to a dark place when I feel like I don’t have enough control over money and the choices that relate to that (career or whatever).
I know a lot of people who think that being a mom is a full-time job (it is). And I know people who think if you are able to “afford” it, it’s best to focus on your children, at least during their early years. And that’s not wrong, but it is not for me. It’s easy if you haven’t been in someone else’s shoes to not understand why they make the choices they do. But some things run deeper than they seem. Working can be about so much more than money, for example. It can be about self-esteem and autonomy; it can be about control and security. And THAT is why I work. For me.
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Feb 26, 2010 4:04 PM