This post is mistitled. It should read The Privilege of Being a Middle Class (American-Mormon) Married Woman. I admit that up front.
We marry. We have a baby. We breastfeed them and change diapers. We potty train them and squish play dough. Then we walk them to school, and drive them to lessons. We usually have more than one baby. And the routine is more or less the same. Soon the last baby is no longer potty training or squishing play dough. And we walk him or her to school. And then we have, time. It’s like air at the top of an hourglass, gradually increasing, letting us breath deeper and deeper as time runs out with our children. The time creeping up on us, the time that is ours.
It’s not that I feel entitled, exactly. I have grand goals. I want to pay for college educations, support my aging parents, take care of myself in old age, assist those around me, and serve missions with my husband. I want to pick up my kids at the close of their missions. I want to be the grandma always available to help my daughter and daughter-in-laws when they have babies. When my husband goes somewhere, I want to go with him. I want to go to conferences that interest me on a whim. I want to go see my sisters, and my children and their children. I want to traipse around the English countryside and explore parrish records where my ancestors were christened, married and buried. And I don’t want the hour glass overturned again, sand taking up my air.
We live a privileged life. We have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food on our table. Our tanks are full of gas. I pay for things like swim lessons in the summer and piano lessons in the fall. My family goes skiing every winter. But while I don’t need to work, given my goals I do feel the need to eventually add to our income. However, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to work full time, to have to be on a clock constantly, always building a schedule around my job. I realize this is selfish, that my goals too, ultimately are selfish.
“Motherhood is being the queen bee! The Queen! You get to sit home and run the show, shielded and protected by the worker bee,” are the words my young women leader engraved into the moral judgment center of my brain. So that’s what I expected. It’s what I planned for. It’s what I got. I felt entitled as a woman to not have to work, at least not for money. Women have claim on their husbands for their maintenance, after all.
Ultimately it’s up to my husband and me to find the balance in our lives. Crossroads are like that, finding the road that is best for you be it paved highway or country road, or blazing a new one.
The time creeps up on you. As a mother, how do you plan to spend your time when the children are older? Do you have any plans? Is it fair to plan to not work? Even if your own pursuits won’t incur additional expenses, should you feel obligated to supplement the family income?