Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PostHeaderIcon Jenn: When I Grow Up

Cara and I were chatting today over our manicures about what we wanted to be when we "grew up."  We both had the same aspirations when we were little - to be a mom.  My mom likes to tell a funny story about me. When I was 8 or 9 years old, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  My answer was immediate and straight forward.  "A housemommy" I answered.  Everyone thought how cute.  I knew I spoke the truth.  I think many of us want that and there are others who don't.  It's all good.

Before I became a "housemommy" I had to learn to support myself.  I did get married at 25.  When  I got married I was the manager of Public Relations for a major cosmetics company.  I started working at 10.  Babysitting, followed by waitressing, followed by a summer being a nanny and even in college I had more than one job.  I didn't put myself through college but I definitely pulled my own weight and managed to pay my housing and book costs.  When I graduated I had many job offers.  From teaching (which I declined) to working in advertising at Modern Bride Magazine to a an offer at Laura Ashley & even furniture design   company.  I ended up going with the Modern Bride job for $22,000 a year, which at the time was a good starting salary.  I quickly advanced, even ended up writing a column and a few years later I made the move to the cosmetics company. I supported myself, I paid my bills and then I met my husband.

I continued to work, we had a nice life - double income, no kids, lived on the upper west side of Manhattan..Then he was offered Africa.  After much thought we decided why not? We were young, no ties, we could just go.  So we did.  6 years in Africa and 2 kids later we returned to the US.  I went back to work but it wasn't the same.  I missed my kids.  I did this for about two years and then my company downsized - I was one of the first layoffs and it was the happiest day of my life.  I got to be home with my kids and get paid.  I got a lovely severance package and then unemployment.  A year later that company filed bankruptcy.  I was now officially a housemommy. Pregnant with baby #3 when unemployment ran out, I knew I was now a stay at home mom.  I did, even in my pregnant state, get offers of work.  I knew in my heart it was time to stay home.  I also knew in my heart I could support myself if need be. That is a very empowering feeling. 

These days I run the house.  I don't get paid and that's okay.  Today my 13 year old daughter told me she wanted to be just like me when she grew up.  Not the now me - but the younger me.  She knows about all my glamour jobs. She knows I was a Junior League Member.  She know I had have a good life.  I am glad she wants to emulate the younger me  - strong and independent and self-sufficient and I am okay if she becomes like the older me too - a housemommy - because it is the best job in the world.

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