Friday, March 6, 2009


Like many people, I've found the instability in the job market and economy stressful. It's stressful in particular for me because I am the main breadwinner for my family. And as I've mentioned before, the situation with my current company is precarious.

I was reading Andrew S's post here about mormon men, women and careers.

I realized/remembered that I had actually started thinking about these types of things at fourteen and fifteen, while I was still mormon. My parents (quite liberal in LDS terms) had stressed the importance of education and of marriage to a good man, not necessarily a mormon. I was just realizing that I knew (even at that age) that I wanted to provide for myself. When you provide for yourself, there's a certain amount of control that you retain. You are still subjected to the whim of the corporation, and there are still a host of things you can't control.

In my case, I felt like at least I would know, no matter what, that I was employable and had experience.

Part of the reason I knew this was that I had watched my family (and my mother) through my own father's long unemployment. My mom was a SAHM to five kids when my dad was laid off (due to a crash in his industry, much like the current housing crash). She had a degree in social work, but no relative experience (at least from the past ten years). There was a lot of other stuff going on at the time but more than anything, that traditional model of a father providing (through the job he had a
degree in), mother working at home just was not working for my family.

At fourteen, fifteen, I knew without a doubt that I never wanted to be there if I could help it. There was this insane resentment loop where my Mom resented the fact my Dad had lost his job and couldn't provide - but yet it never seemed to me that the option was on the table that my Mom could go to work. This was right around the time that the mormon prophet (leader) from that time counseled all women to stay home and be mothers.

I suppose I still have some anger surrounding this entire experience - anger that my family was in this situation, anger that my parents were following bad advice (from my perspective, bad advice for them). Some of it was totally out ofeveryone's control,
and I have compassion for my parents that they were at least able to get through what happened. Some day I hope to be able to let some of that anger go - and I'm sure I'll get there. (I'll also figure out where the fear is in that situation, but that's a story for another day).

But yeah. Despite the current economic turmoil, I'm so glad I am not there (where my Mom was).

I know that what happens to me is really dependent on the choices I make, instead of the choices/actions of my spouse. In each situation, there is more that I can control than I realize (even if it's just changing my perspective). I can't say what's right for other people or other families. I just know this is the best path for me.


Freckle Face Girl said...

I know how you feel. That was always one of the things that bothered me about the Mormon church. I think they just push the issue TOO much. It isn't right for everyone and they invoke too much guilt on many families.

Aside from that, when I decided to stay at home my 2 biggest worries were:
1. a gap in my experience on my resume
2. letting my 401k go
I was relieved when my boss asked me to work from home. Even though the stress is insane, those 2 issues are taken care of.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG. It's a lot of pressure on a person - I'm glad you're able to work from home. I don't know that I could do that either - but we all do what we have to do, right?