As a little girl I always knew I wanted a professional career. During my teenage years I toyed with the idea of law school or medical school. By the time I was in college, I realized that the social services was probably more my style. I planned to work for a year after college and then go back to school to get a Masters Degree in social work. By the time the next spring rolled around and I should have been applying to graduate programs, life, including a job, a baby and a new house, had come at me full force and I decided to stay with my job at a bank. I liked that job and I loved the bank, so for the next several years I advanced in my career, first as a commercial banker then as a trust officer. I went through a management training program, became the youngest female trust officer and reveled in my ability to balance both career and motherhood. By the time our fourth child came home, I had been at the bank for seventeen years; I was a vice-president in the trust department; I’d taken on and accomplished several goals; I was ready for a change. Our family life, with four children at home, was becoming more and more harried so I thought it was a good time to take some time away from work, focus on our family and reassess what I would do in the future. That was almost thirteen years ago and I’m still home focusing on our family and, some days, reassessing what I will do in the future. While I haven’t “worked” in the professional go-to-a-job-and-receive-a-salary type of way, I have definitely worked. Not long after leaving my “career” job, I found a passion for adoption support and began volunteering with a local non-profit adoption group, Northwest Adoptive Families Assn. (NAFA). I love the work I do for NAFA. It’s rewarding, challenging and I can set my own hours. I’ve been comfortable with myself in this role and my husband is very supportive of what I do and the role we each play in creating our life together and as a family.
Beginning a couple of weeks ago, my husband’s job became more demanding than usual and he was a bit preoccupied. Then, last week I was sick for almost an entire week. I’m a bit of a baby when I’m sick and I just wanted my husband to take care of me. He tried, but work was still impinging on his attention; plus he was preparing for a four day business trip to the East Coast. So, I spent the week being sick and feeling sorry for myself and then, just as I got better, my husband left on his trip. Additionally, we have a few business dealings in the works and two different professional-types referred to those dealings as my husband’s business, not as our joint business. Then, to top that all off, my husband was featured in the paper because of his professional position. I’m very proud of his accomplishments and happy for the successes he has had, but with all of these circumstances of the last few weeks added together, I found myself feeling left behind, a nobody, a tag-along – dare I say it? I felt like a housewife!
Not being one to wallow in pity I did what I always know will make me feel better – I expressed my concerns to my husband. As I told him how I was feeling, it sounded silly even to me. Why was I letting other people’s uninformed comments effect the way I felt? Why was I letting a few unusual circumstances dictate the way I feel about my life? I know that I love what I do! I know that the arrangement my husband and I have set-up for ourselves works for our family! I know that the life we have created -- in terms of our children, my satisfaction and my husband’s professional successes and happiness, is a work-in-progress that we share together, to which we both contribute. So, I woke up this morning, dusted off my “poor me” attitude, worked out, dressed nicely and I’m off to do what I do, what I love, knowing that I am successful, I am contributing and this arrangement works for me, it works for my husband and it works for our family. Housewife indeed! There are no Bon-Bons in my freezer!