I think I’ll keep my day job

I try very hard not to laugh at a student in class, no matter what he or she says. One day, I was talking about the Kinsey Report finding that, by their mid-twenties, one out of every four or five males has engaged in a homosexual experience to the point of orgasm. I pointed out that, given there were five males in the class in that exact age group that odds are that one of them had a homosexual experience. One student’s hand shot up, a starter on the college football team.

“Yes, you have a question?”

In the exact tone five-year-olds use when playing tag, he called out,

“I just wanted to say – NOT IT!”

Okay, I admit it, I laughed.

I cannot possibly be the only person annoyed by articles such as the one in the LA Times this week talking about the professional women who want to give up their jobs and be a “wingspouse”. WTF?

That term seems synonymous with rich housewife. To quote the article this is the spouse who doesn’t deliver the message but who watches the room to see how the message is received. Lovely. If I have a choice, I want to be the person who comes up with the ideas and communicates them, not the one who sees if other people like them.

Also, money is good. You know those studies that show how the average housewife does $100,000+ in work each year? (Here is a funny blog about that, by the way from a woman who calculated how much her dog was worth. And an even funnier one from a blog called ninepounddictator in response to an assertion that the author doesn’t spend time with her child because she has a nanny. Guess I’m not the only one questioning those numbers.) I’ve always tried to reconcile that with the $12 an hour I paid for a wonderful nanny. Even with the social security and other taxes it’s not within shouting distance of a professional salary. Having been left a single parent twice once through divorce and once widowed I am very happy for me AND my kids that I have my own salary, insurance and 401 k.

What about those women who say it’s difficult to work, be married and care for children? Well, to quote one of my adult daughters

Being a grown-up is hard.

This isn’t to say I haven’t made sacrifices in my career for my family. I think that is part of being a good mother AND a good father . I once attended a retirement party where a man was praised for never missing a day in 30 years and I thought

Is it really possible that there was not one day he needed to be with his family?

Still, I found it amusing that one of the bloggers cited in the article telling women how to be good wives is actually single, works full time and was raised by a single, working mother.

I am writing this on my iPhone watching my youngest daughter and her friends at the Santa Monica Pool. I love her and I like her friends. Seeing that she gets exercise and has good social experiences is important. She is a good kid and I feel lucky. Do I feel like this is a full life? Hell no! I am bored out of my mind and freezing my ass.

As soon as she is done I’m going to go home make her a hot lunch and sit down at my computer to write a program I have been thinking about to solve a client’s problem of analyzing an enormous quantity of data they have collected.

My husband is home working on his own program while doing the laundry. ( I mean hey you throw it in the washer & you have 45 minutes to work. )

No I’ve never made a table centerpiece in my life, our idea of a dinner party is to invite people we like to The Lobster on Santa Monica Pier at sunset and I rented all my kids’ Halloween costumes from Ursula’s Costumes in Venice.

Quite contrary to the LA Times article I intend to work MORE in the future, not less.

Recently, I have been approached about additional work that would require more hours and more travel. I asked my sixth grader her opinion and she replied

Well, that’s kind of what you do anyway isn’t it? I think you should do it if you want to.

Followed by

If you’re making more money can I get an iPhone?

She IS in 6th grade, after all.

Most interesting to me was this LA Times article cites a “Pew Research Center study from October that found only 37% of mothers working outside the home want to be working full-time.” So, two-thirds of working mothers DON’T want to be working full-time? The really interesting thing about this survey is that when I went to the Pew Research Center site and looked at surveys in all of 2009 (October and other months), there was no such survey listed. A search of the site on “working mothers” didn’t turn up this survey, either.

I am very disappointed in the LA Times, which I normally really like. This was the same paper that also this week had a headline saying children in day care engage in more risk-taking behavior. However, if you actually read their article the researchers stated that the results were really that teens who had been in day care for long hours as toddlers answered, on the average, yes to one more item on a 30-item questionnaire than teens who had not been in day care. There was no discussion of how valid this questionnaire was, whether it actually related to behavior (people do lie on questionnaires or interpret questions differently). There was also no discussion of actual items on which children who were in day care might differ. It is very likely that “Questioning authority figures” could be considered risk-taking or rebellious behavior. Personally, I’m okay if my children score higher on that. On the other hand, if the item was “Holding up liquor stores”, then I’m not so complacent.

Let’s assume there really was a study done by the Pew Research Center and let’s assume that they really did find that X% of working mothers didn’t want to work full time. Just let me add here –


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  2. Regarding the man who hadn’t missed a day of work in 30 years, I agree completely. There’s something disturbing about a record of attendance that’s totally uninterrupted. My late wife knew a girl who had a perfect school attendance — K to 12, I believe. My guess is she was the ideal germ vector, since she must have been sent to school even when quite ill. I guess it’s another example of how there can be too much of a good thing!

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