Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Was Jane Eyre a SAHM?
I just closed my personal checking account. For the first time since I can remember, I have no money. I feel like Jane Eyre, lacking a dowry and station in life. Strangely, I feel stuck right around the part where her friend dies of TB.
None of it is true. My active imagination has landed me squarely in the land of overreaction -- not Thornfield Manor. I have my modern-day, seeing version of Mr. Rochester, and I have money in savings. The realities aren't making me feel any better about not having an FDIC insured, individual checking account with my John Hancock attached to it.
Before my recent trip to the bank and subsequent mental trip to the 19th Century, I didn't have a single problem being a Stay at Home Mom (other than the ridiculous acronym itself). Sure, I've experienced the struggles that other SAHM's talk about in their blogs. I've felt like my new identity as a mom isn't valued in society. I have moments of isolation and boredom. I've felt irrelevant at parties. These things haven't hit me all that hard.
I've changed my mind. Suddenly, I have to ask my husband for money. I've never asked a man for money. I got my first paper route at 11, babysat, lied about my age to get my first job at Sonic Burger at 15.
For a long time now, my idea of independence has been tied to my financial freedom.
Many women would happily spend their husband's money. I've seen them on Real Housewives. I don't like that I'm not contributing financially to our household.
The value that I add to the household is real, yet it is far less tangible, has no bottom line. I feel like I have my hand outstretched, waiting for the mercy of my beneficent husband. And, while I'm not planning on leaving George any time soon, I want that decision to be a matter of choice, not because it isn't an option.
George tries to bring me back to the 21st century. He knows just what to say…"His money is my money"…"Marriage is a partnership"…"Share and share alike"..."You give far more to this family than can be measured in a paycheck". And he's right. Blah, blah, blah.
I feel silly and frivolous for these worries on so many levels too. I know I should be happy that I haven't been working for two years, and have just recently run out of my "own" money. I should be grateful that taking off work and caring for Claire is an option for our family at all. With the exception of independently wealthy, someone needs to be bringing home the bacon. Why does it have to be me?
It's true. I have been able to define myself the way that I want in the last two years. I am lucky to be like the heroine, Jane Eyre, complete with my seeing version of Mr. Rochester. And I didn't have to beg for money on the streets of London before having a child like her either.
What's also true is that money appears to be a loaded issue for me. Particularly, now that I'm not loaded.
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