I have been a stay at home mom for 17 years now but lately I have been conflicted about it. I wonder if it’s about time to start working to save for my children’s college tuition or my personal savings.
I don’t want to be a career mom. I know it’s an unpopular decision, but I just don’t. I’ve always believed it was enough to just be a good wife and mother. There’s an idea that stay at home moms should be contributing a paycheck of some kind to the family budget or they’re a burden to the family. But every time I seriously consider working outside of the home, something happens to make me withdraw the notion. It could be a child with chicken pox, the realization that I want to be the one bringing my grandparents to their appointments, or (as is most often the case) a weeks worth of migraines that don’t respond to medicine.
So I can look for creative, flexible ways to supplement the income from my home. Ah, the craft industry! Anytime you can do something well, there’s this push to do it for money. Even when you don’t need the money. (Don’t get me started on the topic of self employment for self fulfillment.)
When I make a pretty sweater, I hear, “You could sell these!” When I take a good photograph, I hear, “You should start a business!” I appreciate the vote of confidence, really I do, but is there really a happy ending down that road for me, especially in our increasingly marketed society? I mean, how many photography businesses have opened up in your area in the last 5 years? I can’t count them where I live. Everyone is making jewelry or selling art. And though I think it’s great that people are exploring their artistic side and business potential, I can’t help but feel like the pressure to succeed, the competition, self promotion, and borrowing of ideas in these businesses could easily sap the creative love out of the muse.
Really, it seems that small business proprietorship replaced owning a two car garage, brick home in the hierarchy of American Status? Does it matter that the garage is filled with unsold product (Mary Kay or hand poured candles ring a bell?) or that the very family the business is meant to help is going in too many directions to stay connected or really look at one another?
I am not dogging anyone’s career choice or selling your own work- I am considering it. I have sold things I made for specific goals, like Christmas money, and will again to fund a mission trip. However, I don’t want to squeeze something I so enjoy to death , just to squeeze a dime out of it. I don’t want to make things I love for “real” money unless I can do it my way, have start up costs so low that I can walk away from a boring project without guilt, and don’t have to sell myself. I’d rather work at Wal Mart than spend my time convincing someone to love my arts and crafts. (And this sort of job may, indeed, be the choice I make to save for a few years.) Most likely, the luxury of such choosiness will net fewer sales. Etsy is full of talented people doing this. I love looking at their work, but I’m sure most have “day jobs.” That would be my dilemma.
Anyway, it’s a subject of prayer lately. I want to do the right thing for the right reason, keeping in mind that it IS enough to just be good. To be a good mother, daughter, wife, and friend.