Saturday, October 2, 2010

Growing Up

About to turn 6, Middle Sister lately wants to figure out what she will be when she grows up. Options include a veterinarian and a midwife.  I find myself feeling proud that she considers these professions valuable (because it means she shares my values, of course) and happy that she feels confident enough that she can become what she wants to in her life.

The newest idea she expressed the other day.  "Mommy, I think that when I grow up, I will be a lawyer so I can stay home with my kids like you do."

Ack!  This did not leave me feeling proud or happy.  It felt dreadful:  (1) to be reminded that I invested so much of my money and time in a career that I intended to keep for the long term, and it only lasted 6 years;  and (2) to think that my kid sees the value of my legal background as being someone who can stay home with her kids. 

I am perfectly happy if she decides to be a parent and focus her parenting life on her children rather than another career.  I am also perfectly happy if she never has kids.  And just as happy if she has kids and a busy career.  So long as it's what she wants, that will be the right thing for her.  But I still find myself cringing when my professional life is characterized as anything that sounds like "homemaker," which was actually listed on the documents for a change in our insurance plan recently.  Do not think that I let that one slide.  My insurance agent now knows very clearly that I find the term offensive, especially when I am an income-earner in my family. 

Granted, that income is sparse.  And I spend more on continuing education expenses to maintain the bar licensed that I don't use than I make on my freelance writing career.  But frankly both numbers are low enough as to lack significance in my family's budget.

This is all an important reminder to me that my kids need to see more of me than the caregiver.  They need the reminder that part of my work is the work that I do to care for the family and homeschool the kids; but that part of my work is also professional and valuable in a free market.  The fact is that I usually work when they are asleep.  I still use the midnight to 2 AM schedule as my best time for focus and creativity.  I guess it's back to sharing magazine articles I have written.  Fortunately, they will probably enjoy reading about inducing lactation in adoptive mothers.

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