I have gone round and round and round with how to write this particular entry. I struggle, as I think many women do, with my decision about whether I should work or stay home with my children, and what I think the effects of either choice would be on them. The majority of the voices in my world are against women working. Some of those voices are quiet or subtle, others are quite strident. I've heard it called the mommy wars and that's an incredibly unfortunate name. First of all, being a mother ought to be anathema to anything warlike. Secondly, this is really something society in general, and mothers as a group, should be able to move past. It is ridiculous to think that any one answer could possibly be the best one for the millions of different women and families in the world. I have chosen to work because, on balance, that has been the better choice for our family, for our children, and for me.
This whole issue has re-surfaced for me recently though. Our family is at crossroads right now - not at all in a bad way, but we face a lot of big decisions and changes. In this case, the major part of the decision is mine to make, with a lot of input from my husband, but ultimately mine. Over the past several years I have worked towards a degree in my field. This opens up options for me to work in a number of contexts and capacities, part time or full time, in a more relaxed setting or in a very intense and competitive one. I could stay local and we could remain in our community, or I could search nationwide and we could move (closer to family, to a new, more interesting area, closer to activites we enjoy...) None of these would be bad choices and I am very aware of how fortunate I am to have options like this. Clearly though, this choice will impact the rest of my family as it will bring change in routine and possibly even in home and geography. It also has major implications for my husband and his job.
These new opportunities have led me to revisit my choice to work and have a career in the first place. The bigger issue though has to do with how uncomfortable I am making a decision that will impact my whole family, and especially my husband, so fundamentally. It's not just the fact of making the decision; although, I am notoriously reluctant to want to make big decisions for other people. There is a bit of anxiety over "what if I fall on my face after asking everyone else to uproot themselves on my account?" Moreso though, I struggle with the fact that this decision is about me and following my goals. I am also notoriously bad at having things be about me. Then there is the added irony of my driving the direction of our family at the same time that we are working out the how's and when's of a dynamic that has him more in charge.
There are some potential upsides for the rest of my family to all of this. My husband travels quite a bit for his work, and his job is, for him, just a job, stressful and not fulfilling in any way. He is maddeningly responsible so he has never allowed himself to consider other work options. He wouldn't risk not being able to support us. My choice may provide an opportunity for him to explore doing something he feels would be more meaningful. It may also provide an opportunity for our family to have more time together overall. And the kids have a huge sense of adventure so they are having fun imagining all the fun places we may choose to live.