Let’s clear the air here. I am the blessed beneficiary of the Feminist movements of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. Thanks to those women who put themselves on the front lines of this battle, I can get into the boardroom and out of the kitchen. I have choices I would never have had 30 years ago.
Which is the whole point. I have choices. I have the freedom to make those choices based on whatever criteria I choose. It’s my life.
I choose this life. I do not have a single competitive bone in my body (well, except perhaps in the kitchen). I have no desire to compete with anyone, men, women, aliens, in the boardroom or anywhere else. I’m just happy being me. I love to cook, I love the challenge and joy of attempting to raise self-sufficient, menschlich human beings, and I get great satisfaction from being the CEO of Caruso Family, INC. Do I love doing laundry? Hell no. Who likes doing laundry? Do I love picking up my house after a playdate where the whole neighborhood has been in my house, inhaled the contents of my refrigerator/freezer, and managed to find and dump toys I didn’t know we had? Of course not. There is drudgery in every job, paid or unpaid. Just ask my husband, who loves his job but hated doing religious school payroll. How many teachers do you know who like to write report cards?
When I worked for income, I enjoyed that too. It’s true I was involuntarily downsized, and if that hadn’t happened I’d still be working for income. I certainly found satisfaction in doing something that was not laundry, and having more adult interaction than I currently have. Those are definitely downsides to being solely a stay at home woman/wife/mother. I am also totally aware that I am blessed to have a husband who works full-time with benefits, and this allows me to stretch my wings in other areas of my life. It’s hard economically, but we’re making it work.
But helloooo . . . my identity is not singularly wrapped up in my status as a “professional”. If that were the case, I’d be super-depressed and miserable. And while we’re on that subject, why is the word “professional” used to refer to those who work for income? I am a “professional” at lots of things. I’m good at managing my household (again, laundry eludes me but I’ve embraced being laundry-challenged :-)). I’m an excellent CFO. I manage to feed 5 people and 1 cat on less than $200 a week, and we eat well. I have a healthy and fulfilling relationship with my children, and I have confidence in my ability to handle most parenting crises that may come along for the ride. I work hard at my marriage, and we are certainly not Ozzie and Harriet, but who is? I have my own personal challenges, and our life is not easy. But it is fulfilling in its own way. And I am a “professional” when it comes to being the spouse of a rabbi. I’m damn good at being his wife. And I’m good at the role I’ve chosen as a professional rebbetzin. I might not get financially reimbursed for it, but I find it as fulfilling as the work I did that I got paid for. I am making a difference in the present and future of our temple and the lives of the congregants we are blessed to serve.
I’m as proud of all of this as I am of the many curricula I’ve written and edited and the years I spent as a teacher.
Don’t ask where this rant came from – it’s too long and boring of a story to tell. Suffice it to say there’s a reason for the subtitle in my header.