Before I went into business for myself, my life had spun out of control. We were overextended financially, miserable, and I was not giving my kids the attention they deserved. I was trapped in a marriage that had become miserable because I could not afford to leave. I know so many women in this situation… perhaps you do, too.
Motherhood is tougher than I think most people admit. It often requires that you depend on others for financial stability because motherhood, perhaps the most important job in our society, does not pay a wage. It requires that we reinvent ourselves in a new, unfamiliar role while retaining some semblance of ourselves.
I have gone through many transformations in my journey of motherhood, as I am certain you have. Though things began picture-perfect, they didn’t remain that way for long. Eventually, my marriage and my financial situation hit rock bottom. I shudder to think what may have happened if I hadn’t taken control of my life and gone into business for myself.
The Susie Home-Maker Phase. After bringing home our sweet baby girl, my husband and I were smitten with love for each other and for our new family. Determined to stay home, I left my job, cooked great meals, planned shopping lists two weeks in advance, and cared for our baby non-stop. When my husband came home, I would listen to his successes with swelling pride, admiring the sacrifices he was making for his family. We loved familyhood so much that we decided to have a second child, who was born 17 months after the first. Now we were "real" adults and feeling more disgustingly cute than ever before.
The Bored, Resentful Housewife Phase. By the time both kids were old enough to climb into cabinets, throw wild temper tantrums, and make gigantic messes with the touch of a tiny sticky finger, I was bored stiff with my life in general. Was this as good as it gets? When my husband got home, I made sure to let him know how bored and miserable my life had become. Though I went through the motions of "good" motherhood, I felt as if I were operating my body from a control room somewhere else. As the kids got older and needed me less, I realized that I had lost my own identity along the way.
The Workaholic Absent Mother Phase. My husband, who by then was growing resentful of handing over his paycheck and having no control of the finances, made sure to tell me repeatedly how much more important he was because he made the money. After years of believing this, I took matters into my own hands and went back to work. Because we didn’t want the kids in daycare (and couldn’t afford it anyway) I took a position working 4 p.m. to midnight at a 24-hour insurance company. Not only did this schedule allow us to keep the kids out of daycare, it allowed us to completely avoid each other.