On Embracing DomesticityMadelinePetersen
I just sent my husband a text saying, “I just got $90 worth of groceries for $42. And it feels pretty good.” I am not entirely sure how I feel about the fact that bargain grocery bills are the highlight of my day, nay, week.
It got me thinking about this article on Babble. Am I starting to feel like I got my Master’s in stain removal? No, I decided. I feel like I got my Master’s in doing dishes.
Don’t get me wrong, I love staying at home with Tate. It is literally what always wanted to do when I grew up. I even chose a career that I hoped would translate seamlessly to working out of my home while caring for my small children. What I didn’t plan on was being so successful at my job in the interim.
I did well in school. I loved the feeling of getting an A on a test and a receiving report cards with yet another 4.0 GPA. As an adolescent, in many ways I defined myself by my grade point average. I chose to go into the architectural field, specifically the technical side because I was under the impression that it would be a job I could do on contract from home. I got a job at a firm at 19 and worked my way through the rest of my undergraduate degree; I excelled. By the time I was 25, I was the youngest professional employee and I was promoted to be the coordinator of architectural software, standards, and training for the entire office. I also happened to be pregnant.
Through my pregnancy, deep down I knew that even though I was succeeding in the work place, I wanted to stay home with our baby. I will never forget my meeting with the human resource manager when I broke the news of my resignation. She stared at me across her desk and said, “Promise me something. Promise me you won’t stay home for more than a few months, you are too good at this to let it all go to waste.” I deflected, mumbling about the small writing job I had and how I actually wanted to be home with our son. I left the meeting feeling small. Was I really laying to waste all of my intellectual capital?
I’ll be honest, sometimes it feels like it. When my greatest victories are a sink free of dishes and two successful baby naps, I sometimes miss being at the office. It can be hard to be at home with only a baby to talk to. I can’t tell you that I don’t miss having my intellect valued (by more than just my husband). But the truth is, not one day goes by that I wish I were there instead of being at home with my son, even if it’s accompanied by a sink full of the dishes.