Friday, October 15, 2004

Tick, Tick, Tick...

My mother gave us a picture frame when our daughter was born, one that has a space in it for a photo from every month of the baby’s first year. The oval monthly pictures circle around a larger space for the child’s first birthday shot. We have this frame on our entertainment center, where we can look up at it and marvel at how she has changed. Sometimes, when I am feeding the Biscuit, I look up at the frame and imagine that it is a clock, ticking down the months. The first six months flew by, and I was happy to see the frame fill up. All parents worry about SIDS, and each month we put a picture in the frame was another month we could put between us and the dread disease.

After the sixth month mark, I began to see time running out. In my mind this past year, I have had several goals to meet before the frame strikes twelve. It will be twelve months on Sunday, and I am not as close to my goals as I would like to be.

In my heart of hearts, I always thought this SAHM thing was a part-time job. I could do the home-making quickly and easily and still find paying work, from home of course. (No matter what, we won’t be putting the critter in daycare.) This year has taught me that being a housewife takes more hard work and time than I had ever imagined. I have had a difficult time finding more time to do paying work.

So far, I haven’t been doing too badly. Certainly it would be arrogant and ungrateful of me to complain, because we would be hurting if we didn’t have my modest income. But I am now having to admit I want more. More work. More income-generating work. We could cut back expenses even more, but I simply don’t want to. Our food budget, for example, is moderate for a family of two-and-a-half, but compared to so many other frugal families, we are Dionysian in our Epicureanism.

The fact that I am admitting I want more paying work isn’t an epiphany, and doesn’t necessarily contradict anything else I have written on this blog. Lots of women who want to stay home are also looking for income opportunities, so long as they don’t come at the expense of their primary job, which is to keep Kirche and Kinder.

I was thinking about this in the shower this morning. Housewives have always been working women. The belief that SAHMs don’t do anything is silly and illogical. It crumbles under the most cursory of inquiries. Women who are in the home simply exempt themselves from taxable income. When thinking about this, what strikes me most is the question that I haven’t been able to answer, even though I am an ex-lefty:

Why do so many leftists, many of whom hate Corporate America, insist that women join the ranks of cubicle drudges and wage slaves? If I were interested in Culture Jamming (in the sense of a resistance movement to the hegemony of popular culture), it would seem to me that one of my first goals would be to remove as many cogs from Mega-Corp as possible. It would be especially beneficial to remove the more intelligent, better-educated ones. So, then, why does this threaten those who would otherwise rant about Big Business, capitalism, etc.?

In my cynicism, I think professional feminists realize that if women were to have a genuine choice, they would choose not to work, at least not when their children were little. Any fly on the wall on a baby-oriented message board can tell you how bad women feel putting their young children in day care. Most of these women feel they have no choice. I think these professional feminists have a vested interest in keeping women working so that the families’ inflated wages can be taxed at a higher level, and these very feminists feed on the trough of public programs. More two-income families mean more taxes, which mean more bureaucracy, more government bloat, and more grants funding untenable organizations which cannot compete without subsidies.

So, the year has passed. My baby is a toddler now. I feel like the time I had, a time out of time, is the most blessed of my life. I know that the coming years are going to be just as precious. And if anyone needs a graphic designer, let me know.

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