Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Money of my own

This article, and The Mad Momma's fiery response to it have got me thinking - how much of my need to get back to work is driven by the insecurity that comes from being financially dependant?

I'll be honest - it is the number one reason why I want to get back to work.

Oh, there are other reasons. I know it's fashionable to crib about the drudgery that is corporate life - the stupid boss, the credit-stealing co-workers, the pointless meetings, the heavy work load, slow career progression - oh the things we have to put up with, all for the sake of our little six-figure monthly pay checks!

But I'm not a fashionable person so I'm going to say it: I like going to work. I'm just that sort of person. I enjoy the interactions with a world that is so separate, and so different from my life at home. I think going back to work would make me a happier person, and a better mother, wife, and daughter.

So that's the romantic answer to why I want to get back to work. And it's true. But it's only part of the answer. The larger part is indeed about the money. I want money of my own.

I should clarify here that Moppet's Papa is absolutely wonderful about money. I have free access to it, and he never asks how much I've spent and on what. I'm the one with the problem. I'm always apologetic about spending the money, even though I know there is no need to be.

The Mad Momma has put down her attitude to this beautifully (as always!):
"I am not financially dependent because I am too stupid to get a job or because I have lost a faculty. I am financially dependent because I am doing something that I consider far more important. I am bringing up 'our' child in a way that suits 'us'. And in that way, the OA is dependent on me for our child's upbringing and our home running in a cosy and efficient way."

And as I read it, I know it's true, and I would be spared much mental agony if I could believe it of myself. But I can't.

I did not plan to be a SAHM. Don't get me wrong, I do not regret for one moment this last year that I have spent at home with Moppet. I don't think I would've changed that even if I could have. But I do know that back home in India, even if i didn't go back to work full-time, I would definitely have tried my hand at something part-time. Just knowing that the option exists would've made it easier to justify my financial dependance to myself.

Here in Bangkok, my options are far more limited. It is hard to find a job, not knowing the language, and not being a Thai national. Companies have quotas and are allowed to hire only a few non-Thais. Finding a job is not impossible - but it is difficult. And being faced with this difficulty for the first time in my life has brought home to me how much I need to work.

Because I want to work. And because I want money of my own.


Poppins said...

Oh and how I agree with you. Looks like we're all going to end up doing posts on this one way or the other !

The Mad Momma said...

:) oh.. i didnt plan to be a SAHM either. i was going to go back to work within 3 months. but while i was home with him i ended up falling in love. i notice most of the working mothers have either lived in a city for a long time and have good social support or servants. the rest of us who are SAHMs right now have no family around and live in cities that are not 'home'. perhaps that is partly the reason.. not just some noble desire to serve our kids.

either way, i dont have any intention of sitting at home forever... just till they are going to school and can make themselves understood so that at least i know if something or someone is troubling them..

damn - if wanted to write such a long comment i should have done a post , na?!

GettingThereNow said...

Hi First time here - like it! My reasons for working are the same as yours and for quite some time I was in the same situation as you - new country - no work privileges etc.

I did a post in reply to Mad Momma's post too. Check it out if you want to :P http://my2centstoo.blogspot.com/2007/02/end-of-debate-i-dont-think-so.html

Smitha said...

My first time to your blog and its really good. Sure you wont believe who this is, coming from the eternally Angry Smitha(from daffodils :-) ) ..well times change and so have I.

I felt pushed to leave a comment here. I plan on being a SAHM, no kids yet.. and yes, I did feel the same outrage as MadMomma....

I agree to the point, that persons who really would like to work and would feel complete that way, there is nothing wrong, but lashing out at the SAHM is a very sorry state.

You are entitled to the choices and responsible for any consequences.

Planning in most cases,will help prevent most scenarios and that should be encouraged (instead of lashing out...NEGATIVITY...something I cant get along well with).

Just an example,I am currently working away..and saving just about anything as I plan to be a SAHM, and being financially dependent is indeed a scary thought. I feel financially secure if I have something in my bank untouched, while I dont work.

Being in a foreign country, where the rules are innumerous, I can understand how hard it is to get back to work and there is this feeling of helplessness. I am currently lucky to have a job, on a visa and just cant wait to get permanent residency,which opens up a whole new market of jobs.(might not be as good as my current one, but hey when things go bad,any job that pays money is good. And the stigma of a job like working as a cashier in walmart, should not be there). Also, another thing that does matter is your lifestyle choices. Maybe if you plan on being a SAHM, you should not buy that million dollar home and make do with a smaller home. Currently, I see so many moms who would love to be a SAHM are unable to do so, as they are tied to their debts.

I am very saddened that this author, whose audience is mainly in the United States has written this. Here we now have more "work from home" opportunties that ever. Its slow in happening but neverthless changing. And she does seem to portray that in case of a bad turn of events, we are completely helpless. I would rather like an article which suggests
1. Planning for future
2. Financial Management
3. Changing job scenario.
4. Personality development.

I am sure that if the author is positive, she can assist people in making better decisions.

And finally Good Luck in your job hunt and enjoy SAHM with ur daughter as long as u can :-)

Moppet's Mom said...

Poppins: Yup, this is a subject that provokes strong opinions on both sides, isn't it?

MM: I've always admired your complete conviction about the choice you have made - and I wish for some of that myself.

CeeKay: Welcome! Thank you for the link to your post - your experience gives me hope.

Smitha: Welcome and thanks! And wow - you've done some serious thinking and planning about motherhood! Good for you - and I hope it all goes according to plan. But for a lot of people, the choice is never clear until it is made for them (like me!). Different strokes for different folks, is all.

Avanti Sané said...

Hi Maggie,
I am in the exact same predicament right now..3 month old baby, moving to a new country, no work permit...and I m not comfortable :(