I originally wrote this post last fall, right after I started The Brave Ski Mom.
My friend L. and I have a lot in common. We are both stay at home moms. We are both intelligent woman with Bachelors Degrees from fine liberal arts colleges and Masters degrees from outstanding universities. For several years, we both wrote grants, consulted for non-profit organizations and worked pretty much as much as we wanted to, when we wanted to.
Our children are very similar in age and today, we are both trying to figure out how to make ourselves employable (on a part-time basis, because we still need time for our families and to ski!) in an economy which doesn’t necessarily value articulate generalists. We know that we have a lot of skills, but we can’t quite figure out how to translate our skill sets into a marketable commodity. Speaking only for myself, I can’t even figure out where I would begin to look for a career in this economy. So I don’t.
Anyway, we were at a dinner party recently when someone asked L. “Why do you want to work? What is wrong with not working?” L. quickly answered, “because I feel like a kept woman.” That wasn’t the answer I would give — my answer would be that there is nothing wrong with not working. I am just tired of being asked where and when I am going back to work. Have we nothing better to discuss than my employability?
L. jokingly says that she teaches yoga so that she can answer the “what do you do?” question. I now answer “I have a blog” and hand the person my card with the blog address on it. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to have an answer, after all these years of having to justify being “just a mom.” As silly as it is, I feel validated. I feel multi-dimensional. Each day that I write, I am creating. And, I think it is this ability to create something, to not just react to other people, that liberates me and keeps me from ever feeling “kept.”
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