opt-out


I’ve been reading a lot about the opt-out generation lately. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/11/magazine/the-opt-out-generation-wants-back-in.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 While I was never in upper management at a Fortune 500 hundred company, almost eight years ago I opted out of my professional job that I had spent over ten years working towards. When I left my job to care for my child I was in charge of creating and implementing a training program for 400 people in an investment company. I worked in finance overseas, I was certified as a mutual fund specialist and I loved my work. My work was part of me and when I came home I kept on working (and this was before working from home access was all the rage). I loved getting raises and accolades, I loved being promoted and for over a year I believed I could have it all- my child and my career until I picked my son up at daycare one day and watched a stranger rocking him to sleep. I lost it right then and there and knew my life was changing and I was changing and I wanted to be with him. My company was progressive and allowed flex time and work from home time, so people could be with their families. My boss was a nervous micromanager and would not allow it, so I left. I was fortunate that my husband was in a good position and we could live on one salary. We have a modest house and I try to be frugal just because. I have loved my children and being with them, helping them in school, being with them when they are ill, taking my special needs child to all sorts of appointments, playing and going places and just making memories. I have not loved spending my days without something tangible to show for my accomplishments. I have not loved my “work talk” being traded for diapers and food and pre-school talks. I have not loved how my husband and I used to be equals more or less on chores and him falling into being comfortable and declaring all household chores were my domain. It drives me up the wall that I went to college, nearly finished my Master’s and he makes comments about my lack of cleaning skills. My grandmother could clean like there was no tomorrow and her house was spic and span. I don’t know if she enjoyed it, but it made her happy to give her family a spotless home. I feel like I make my family happy with a good enough clean home. My husband does not understand how hard it is to go from being at the top of your game and being a knowledge expert that people could turn to, to being in charge of convincing your child why it’s not a good idea to beat up on your brother. I am so thankful and blessed for what I have been given, but if I could have had a work from home job or a part time job in my industry while being at home, I would have loved it. Instead I’ve thrown myself into volunteering at church and the kids school, I am also a part of a women’s financial club so I still get my stocks and numbers fix. I used to dream that I would one day love to be a lady who lunches and plays tennis, but that would never work for me. I need to be doing and producing. My youngest will be in school soon and I am going to finish my Masters in counseling, because I’ve decided I want to work, but I want to work to help others, totally different drive and accolades than when I was in my twenties and that’s fine. I think women need more choices, because we are losing some gifted skilled people who choose to spend a decade or so with their kids. In my case I’ve struggled with my esteem and confidence because it’s not easy to measure your goals and accomplishments as a mother, and I want to be a mom who is happy and thinks and does more than clean the house and pick up after everyone. I want to have a sense of accomplishment for me too.

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