Our oldest daughter, Lolly, got her first paid job in ten years this week. Her youngest started all day kindergarten this year and friends and neighbors were still asking Lolly to tend their kids while they went to doctor appointments or visiting teaching.
Rather than become an unpaid day care center, Lolly applied for a part-time job as a GED prep teacher. She is currently in a flurry of shopping (without a preschooler in tow), for a wardrobe beyond jeans and T-shirts.
I understand how she feels. While I know lovely women who build their lives entirely around home, family, and church—that gene missed my family. My mother and grandmother worked in our family grocery store. My other grandmother, a wretched housekeeper, was handy with a hay rake on the family ranch. Much as I loved my children, I felt as liberated as an East German watching the Berlin Wall fall when I dropped my youngest son off at kindergarten.
Lolly doesn’t need a paycheck to make ends meet for her family, but she does need worthwhile work outside her home to stimulate her mind and give her a feeling of accomplishment—an identity not dependent on her role as wife and mother. The world of paid work offers her that.