May 17th, 2016

planet

what if I wasn't married to a stay at home dad?

lepid0ptera asked, "Did you plan on Mark being a STAD before you were married? Would you ever have married a man focused on his career? If you had, would you both have continued to work full time?"

Thinking about being married to a driven career guy... that is tough. that is really some parallel universe spacefem idea there.

I kinda dated those guys, and was immediately bored with them. Maybe it's because there's a part of me inside that doesn't like how well I fit in to the corporate world. I want to be different. I imagine what it'd be like living by a river in the woods or as a missionary in some far-off country, then remember I'm really not good with that sort of thing. I like my crafts, but I couldn't sew for 40 hours a week. I can do this business/engineering/ airplane design thing for 40+ hours a week and I'm happy. But even with my happiness the world is too robotic and sterile sometimes, and if I came home to a man who wanted to talk about the latest Harvard Business Review with me, I'd barf.

I'm a bohemian hippie trapped in the body of a middle manager at a fortune 500 company.

So I don't think I would have married a career guy. But for the purposes of this entry let's say I had... I would still really flinch at sending a 6-week old baby to daycare, so my maternity leave would have been way longer, and that would be possible too since we'd have piles and piles of money (that's my fantasy world of what dual income looks like, lol). I had one friend from work who took a whole 12 weeks FMLA leave, then her husband took 12 weeks FMLA leave, so their baby wasn't in daycare for 5 months! Awesome idea. Plus it really set the stage for each of them to be equally competent in the world of parenting, because they'd both experienced plenty of "it's all you" time in the beginning.

Or maybe I would have taken time off from work, and just found great things to do. I would have to have the kid in some kind of childcare part time, like marc does. He send Olive to three different church groups throughout the week so he can attend to his software contracts. Maybe I'd be like that, with my own business.

I just know I always looked at the guys at work around me when I was 23 who had kids, and the ones with spouses at homes, their lives just seemed so nice. Someone to get the groceries, take kids to the doctor, pick them up from school and stay home if a kid is sick. These guys really seemed to take their wives for granted and I thought no that's a HUGE deal and I want a way to have that too. I'm not sure Marc planned it as much, he's not a big planner, and we didn't really talk about it, but it was in my head long before I met Marc. Maybe it subtly added to the attraction too... the fact that he not only didn't have the career prospects I did, but was okay with it, wasn't going to push to be just like me, you'd be surprised how many guys I dated could not be chill about that (or maybe you wouldn't, the world being what it is today).

I just really didn't want that life where two people are arm wrestling over who's going to leave work early today to pick up the kid. It was a running theme at SWE conventions too, when women told their stories... the high achieving women all thanked their husbands for making sacrifices, throttling back, being flexible, moving around. Maybe we wouldn't have even had kids if Marc had a career similar to mine. Just sat around with our piles of money. Making the world a better place, sure, attending swanky high-society fundraisers and bidding on helicopter rides at silent auctions?

Maybe it could have worked out.

I'll close with this quote by Philip Tetlock that I heard on a Freakonomics podcast...

"Our lives are nothing but a quite improbable series of coincidences. Many people find that a somewhat demoralizing philosophy of life. They prefer to think that their lives have deeper meaning. They don’t like to think that the person to whom they’re married, they could have just as easily have wound up happy with 237,000 other people."

Boo Philip Tetlock, see this is why people get mad at scientists, crass statements like that! It was only Marc for me.