When we think about work a job is too often what comes to mind. Roles that have been assigned in the past are too often accepted as how people should act.
A member of Generation X I grew up where it was expected that the father would go to work to support the family and the mother would stay home and raise the children.
That has shifted a lot in the last few decades. Although far fewer fathers stay home than mothers, the new reality is a lot of home where both parents work and share the child rearing and domestic responsibilities.
How do we look at the way people work? It’s often been said that a stay at home mother hasn’t gotten enough credit in the past.
My entire life I had two dreams. The first was to get married, be a parent and raise a family together. The second was to work in radio. My career never materialized. I told this to my future wife when we met.
Because of this, I worked on being proficient in other areas. Before we got married and had children I would drive her to work and pick her up, do the laundry shopping and cook dinner.
Once we had children I added the responsibility of caring for them and most of what that entailed. It never seemed to be good enough. In the divorce her attorney used it against me, asking if we ever discussed me being home more often. Two years before she filed for divorce she had started a new job. She took a job that paid her half of the job she took.
If she had taken the other job we would have been in good shape financially. She resented me for not being more successful and her having to work. She wanted to be home with the kids. A large part of this is because that’s what her mother, sister, and brother-in-law told her.
I told her to take the job that would make her happy. She was not in a good place emotionally before taking the job. I told her to take the position that would make her happy and we would figure the rest out. Her happiness was what was most important to me.
She was difficult to be around when she wasn’t in a good place in life. I was the one that took the brunt of her misery, with her mother taking the rest. I was inundated with her frustrations and she shared her triumphs with her sister and friends.
Before I even met her I had worked hard at finding a woman to spend my life with. How do we judge work? Work in life is far beyond just what we do to make a living.
We have to work hard on a multitude of things in our life. We need to work hard on our relationships, keeping ourselves healthy mentally and physically and putting ourselves in a position to succeed and be happy.
The definition of success is different for each person. There is a scene in City Slickers when Jack Palance’s character Curly asks Billy Crystal’s Mitch if he knows the secret to life.
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
[holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.
Mitch: But, what is the “one thing?”
Curly: That’s what you have to find out.