October 19th, 2022 at 11:04 pm
When you don't work outside the home it can be tough. I say that because I've been there, done that. It's a really tough thing. How so? The lack of respect and validation and feeling of self-worth can be hard to maintain. I write this for two reasons.
One a friend talked to me about how she felt being "only" a mom. She had done her phd as well in biology and now she was "only a mom." She feels like she needs to work to find herself outside of the kids. I told her I totally get it. That it's really hard to go from an important "job" to not having a job. It's really hard still for me to be in a group of people and not work full time and have a "career". I have a "job". I like what I do. But I still feel embarrassed at times. I told her I do still feel judged. I have definitely felt lesser at the company holiday party when people say "what do you do?" And I hear "why don't you work?" The answer now interestingly even though I started my own business is "I take care of my kids."
I usually get a gasp and silence but i decided after I started my own business I no longer needed validation from anyone. I only needed my own self worth. Maybe it was after 40 I give a rat's behind about anything. I now say random stuff like I could care less what my kids do as long as they are happy and productive. I pulled them out of gifted programs because they weren't happy. We turned down a choice school opportunity because I thought my kid would struggle making friends.
Yes I say all those things now and I sometimes I mention working but often I say I don't work and I'm free. It's still a bit weird that I don't use my phd, but at the same time it took a long time to figuer out I hated it. I told my friend I achieved pretty much everything a parent could want. Excellent test scores, grades, extracurriculars, and acceptance into every school I applied to. I got into every top program both in undergraduate and graduate school. My resume read like someone who did everything right and yet I detoured and found my zen with my kids, new job, and life.
But then again I am married to guy who also quit his 1st career and found his zen. His resume also reads "accomplished everything parents want" then quit job, moved, changed careers and let wife not work and raise kids. If we lived the way everyone else expected us to we'd be a "high power couple" climbing the ladder. But instead we meander our way on 1 income, driving crappy cars, and working at jobs that are fufilling. Maybe it's my husband's acceptance.
The second reason I wrote this? This weekend he was trying to recruit someone to work for him. The guy asked "how do you do it? how do you have a family and do a start-up?" DH "my wife does everything." And the accceptance of it works. At the same time we both committed to this short term insanity knowing that it was his dream to start a company (yes when I met him he wanted to do this no lie). He wanted to make a mark and build his own company and he passed on one about 15 years ago and regretted it. This time I said he had to do it, and we knew it was not going to be easy. And now at the startup? When anyone asks I just say I stay at home. I am definitely not embarrassed because we wouldn't be doing this if he was pulling his weight at home. I know my worth and contribution right now.
Maybe it's age. But truth it is still really hard to be "non-working" spouse. To be the partner who takes the step back and follows and supports. But at the same time you have to look at yourself and say it's enough. That you know what you are truly worth and give yourself a pat on the back. It's okay to be happy with a "lesser" role. So to all my friends struggling with finding their place and being okay with it.
You have value. You are amazing and can do anything you want. A career doesn't define it. It's just money or a job. The title means nothing. Who you are is defined by whatever you want it to be. And it's not "less". What you do is work. And you do not have to work outside the home to have a job. (wish someone had told me that at 30!)
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October 10th, 2022 at 07:16 pm
Disneysteve asked this on the forum boards and I said yes. But it's a bit of a layered question. There are a lot of things that have changed. Covid forced at least us to stay at home and be less busy, which was nice, but also forced us to cook a lot more. Restaurants weren't open and even if they were, we weren't interested in leaving the house.
Over the past 2.5 years i will admit that we used to eat out, well do mostly takeout, 5-6x/week pre-covid. We might sit down 1x/week pre-covid. But eating out was a lot cheaper. We could do it for $150-200/week for that many meals out. The kids were smaller and we could share meals, the portions were larger, there was less service fees, etc. But being less busy, less activities meant we also just had more time to cook and enjoy our meals at home.
Then it seems like life has been getting back to more normal. The pace of life is much faster and there are more things going on. So it would be so easy to slip back into at least picking up take out during the week like I used to. 2-3x/week I'd grab takeout.
But now I don't. It's the expense. It's shocking how expensive a meal from Chick-fil-A is now for our family of four. Or burgers from a local place. It's insane how a pizza at a fancy place is $35 for large or even 2 pizzas from Papa Johns is $25. A takeout from our local thai place for 3 dishes cost me $57 and the portions were enough for the 4 of us for 1 meal. We had no leftovers. So eating out 5-6x/week now there is no way to do it for $200/week.
Even cooking every meal $200/week isn't a lot of money for the four of us from the grocery store. The price of meat, veggies, fruit, milk has gone up a lot. I understand it's likely due to the fact that we have had long term inflation. But I don't think I'm alone in looking at my DH's paycheck and thinking we did not get a 10% raise, our investments are down, and our medical/vision/dental/auto/home insurance premiums are up as well as a lot higher property taxes.
So our real purchasing power took a severe hit. We already took a massive paycut with DH's job switch and I don't know how long this will go on for. But to compensate we've really tightened up on eating and groceries. This seems the new normal how expensive everything is.
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October 7th, 2022 at 06:42 am
Yesterday Barry Sharpless won his second nobel prize. He is the 5th person ever and only living person to have 2 nobel prizes. DH was working with Barry when he won his 1st nobel prize in 2001. It was a privilege to meet, chat, and learn from him. DH called him a genius and he really was. I remember being 22 and impressed with his house and the guy himself when I met him. He drove a Honda Civic hatchback because he didn't care what he drove. But flew always with 2 seats in first class so he could have space for his papers to read and work on planes.
I remember him talking to a bunch of us young students, hanging yes on his every word, telling us not to give up. That we needed to find our passion. That you should love what you do because it will lead to success. That wanting to go to work would lead to money. Money he said doesn't do anything but buy you the opportunity to find happiness. He said when he just wanted to explore where science lead him.
His energy and work ethic because of his passion were amazing. And we never forget the lesson of being excited about work. When you stop being excited he said it shows and that's when it's time to move on and figure out what does excite you.
I get people working hard to FIRE and find their passion. But not all of us can easily retire super cheap and save tons of money early on. Instead some of us have to suck it up and work awhile. But we always remembered that if we weren't excited we should move on. Because the passion for work showed and it helped us stand out and succeed at our jobs rather than just sliding by and meandering.
It also was enlightening to see someone working very obviously NOT for money (he's a multimillionaire several times over and was by the time we met him). But because he loves what he does. His recent interview he was asked what is it like to know that he helped change the world by creating 2 new chemical reactions both increadibly important and revelotionary to drug discovery. Without these reactions we would not be where we are today in modern medicine. His answer "it's why he works because he wants to give back to society and loves what he does. He never imagined it would have this sort of impact."
As for us? I'm still not sure I want to be working at 81. But if I still love what I do then I guess I will. I am reminding DH now that with his startup if he loves what he does great. But after this I think he's FI, will he RE? I don't know. He's so passionate about what he does he says he can't imagine quitting. Guess following our passion has been lucrative and nice.
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