I think I completely underestimated the possible occurrence that these two most female descriptors could compete with one another, or even cancel one another out.
I had fantasies of mommy-hood: I was going to be hip, fresh, manicured and on top of having every hair in place and being myself I was going to be fun, warm and tremendously entertaining to my daughter. I thought that I would be ME and MOMMY as well. But I learned they don’t go hand in hand with the ease I thought would be natural.
Now, with Naya a fantastically funny little girl of almost two yrs, and belly-baby due in a about 10 days, I’ve begun to reconsider a thought I buried when I started the Wee Wiggles Social Group. Where does Ariana go when Mommy-ana shows up to nurse, change diapers and sooth in the middle of the night?
I sat on the floor of our living room when Naya was 6 months old crying out loud that because I wasn’t a “somebody” (read: a titled professional) that I was a “no body”. I was tortured by the notion that I was not earning an income and therefore felt I had no tangible worth. I suffered with this notion for nearly a year with very short lived stints of reprise, and to be honest, when I found I was pregnant with belly-baby my mind turned once again to the idea that for as long as I was having children and raising them, I was going to be worth less.
We know, because we cling to the statistics that a woman who stays at home raising her children would be compensated a salary of $110,000 US. If you were to hire a housekeeper, a nanny, an educator, a cleaning lady, a lady of the night (what, we do that too!) it would surely cost more than that, would it not? So why is that even though I have my own bank account, a joint account, and my husband does well that I still feel the need for consensus to spend money that surely I have earned despite it not coming in the form of a company issued pay stub?
I know I’m not alone in this, I’ve spoken with several women – professional, intelligent, accomplished women who are home on maternity leave (in Canada we enjoy nearly one year of leave) or who’ve elected with their spouse to become SAHM – and we all feel the same. That unless we are earning, even if we have a joint account with our spouse there is a certain degree of indebtedness that we just can’t shake.
Do I do it to myself? Do imagine whispers of confirmation that unless I am out there earning I truly am less worthy? Or do I really hear them coming from the mouths of some people around me in veiled comments or facetious jokes? What about you – do you hear or do you imagine them?
There are a few things I wanted in my life that for me satiated my sense of accomplishment: I wanted an extraordinary marriage (check), I wanted children (elated check), and I wanted personal financial wealth independent of my spouse (—). Clearly I have a way to go before I can check that off my list; the question is, how far if I keep doing my female bit in our family equation? And at what cost?