Friday, July 30, 2010

friday forte: so what's the real reason?

of course, this is what it's all about!
Soooooo ...... I didn't get the job. I got some great interview feedback (good performance, someone else with more experience was first choice) but not the job offer. Part of me is mightily relieved I won't be scrambling around for childcare and getting my brain back into gear, but a part of me is also quietly sad that I'm not relaunching into the fully adult, status-laden world of Real Employment.

Soooooo ...... what next?
What next indeed!
I really really really need to do something. My byline "in, around and in spite of the family in an effort to stay sane" is not totally in jest, and I suspect I'm not the only SAHM going quietly nuts with a mostly unfulfilling world around her. Don't get me wrong - I love being a mum, I'm very grateful I don't have to go out to earn the almighty dollar, it is very convenient being able to stay home and not need to contract out my parenting ...... but ......

Valerie Whiffen sums it up most eloquently in her book "A Secret Sadness: The Relationship Patterns That Make Women Depressed" when she talks about how unrewarding women's gender roles in society really are.

"It's hard for a woman to judge when she has done enough as a wife and mother. Most jobs have tangible outcomes: projects that need to be completed by a certain time, piles of paper to move from the in-box to the out-box, customers to be served, letters to be processed, or files to be closed. Seeing those outcomes gives us a sense of accomplishment. We can remember how big that pile on our desk was and feel good about getting through it. However, the achievements associated with the female gender role are fleeting: meals that take an hour to make take ten minutes to eat; clean houses are instantly untidy when children come home from school; clothes are dirty again after being worn once. The work associated with the female gender role is never really finished. As soon as one task is completed, another pops up to take its place......... The never-ending nature of the work may add to a woman's feeling that she can't do enough."

She continues, commenting that the larger outcomes i.e. parenting goals, reaching adulthood, aren't that frequent or visible short term which, in a nutshell, is what's really 'doing my head in' right now. The value I add to family life is in terms of hygiene, nutrition and childcare - all covered by the female gender role I took on when I agreed to be the stay-at-home parent. Although the work is full time (and a half, I might add) and therefore theoretically no different in terms of hours/obligations than my previous salaried life, it is profoundly lacking in any kind of meaningful feedback or sense of achievement. pomo mama design, my fledgling business, does provide some kind of creative outlet and sense of accomplishment, but it is most definitely on a back-burner with family issues coming first. Financially it would be difficult to justify spending any more time on it than I already do since it contributes very little to the household economy.

In other words, for me there has to be a 'something next'. I do need the distraction of a task or project to carry me through what is in fact a very frustrating and unsettling period of my life in which I feel of only basic value to those around me. In the past, pre-emigration, I was full-time employed - something which was a welcome relief from personal issues. Now I don't have that escape and I really do crave some kind of passion to carry me through the day-to-day, something which will make me feel valued, accomplished, intelligent and capable.  I need something to take my mind off the daily grind of thinking about how much crap is in my life currently and stop it from coming back into my parenting. I would like to succeed at something rather than continue in mediocrity as a wife and a mother. I really would like to silence the little voice that is with me constantly, constructing scenarios in which I vanquish all my domestic problems. I would like to be noticed and I would like to make a difference.

But, what to do, what to do? It is something that only I can do for myself. And it's something I really need to do for myself.

I feel like I'm poised for lift-off but not quite sure of the map yet.

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