May 31, 2011

The "Good" Wife

A mother’s role can be a bit of a cluster. Caught between a legacy college degree and the immediacy of school pick-ups, there are often decisions to be made about how to spend intellectual currency. Simplify and invest in the home, or branch out and invest in personal interests?

I decided to be a “stay-at-home-mom” after my first daughter was 6 months old. I was home changing a diaper, thinking about a conundrum at my workplace, and the diaper took a turn for the worst. Soon after, I approached my husband and said that the trial period was over. I made the decision to have kids, and I wanted to be the framework for raising those kids - “distraction-free”. After running the numbers, we cut the cord and went solo on one income.

Eight years later, I’m still wondering what happened to the concept of “distraction-free”. I promptly had another child, volunteered for the local mothers club, started a home-based business, launched a few apps, and jumped head-first into blogging and social media. Instead of clocking-out from a cushy corporate job, I clocked-in every night to my laptop on the couch.

Why is my husband putting up with this arrangement when dinner every night is a gamble? Is it possible for a “mom” like me to take her foot off the gas? I don’t think there is an official answer key. My husband and I hash out the logistics of family life week by week, and found the odds are with us when the communication is flowing and the topics are interesting.

I continue to aspire to domestic greatness, but I no longer beat myself up when the definition of “domesticity” involves a flight to DC. That flight gave me a variety of topics to talk about with my kids and a lively dinner conversation with my husband. It may not look family-friendly on the label, but it got some electricity coursing through Mom’s veins, which is always a good thing.

Here I am standing outside of Barbara Boxer's office after a day of meetings on Capitol Hill. While standing here, my kids were being transported home from school by my husband, who also had a work meeting. Thank you Mike!


kimberly/tippytoes said...

I was thinking about something similar today. When I hear people bash stay at home moms, it's clear they don't know that for many, it's more like work from home. There's not a lot of "staying." It's hard to find a balance, but I love being there for the kids, while doing something intellectually stimulating for me.

Congrats on taking Washington by storm!

Jitka Adeleke said...

I know these thoughts and struggles oh so well. And unlike you I decided to take the call and go to work (after 6 kids and 17 years as a housewife).

I am starting at LinkedIn next Monday, so Okenko will be on autopilot for a while, and the family maybe too before we get used to the new routine again.

I'll be watching MWA activities from a distance, but I keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for everything, Jitka