10 Jun 2009

At 23 Stephen and I started living together, me working full time as a physiotherapist , Stephen sometimes a student, sometimes a worker, sometimes unemployed.

At 27 we married, me still working full time and Stephen first a student and then working full time.

At 29 we had our first child , Stephen was a student again and I took 6 months off and then returned to work part time.
Between the two of us and with my mum as back up we cared for our little son and didn't need to use childcare.

Two years later Stephen started full time work and I promptly gave up my part time work to enjoy not having to be the primary bread winner any longer, I needed a break from that responsibility.

Our second son was born when I was 32 and I stayed on at home until he was three when we both started part time work, working complimentary days so that there was always a parent at home with the children.

I worked for two years and then had my third child when I was almost 38.
I stopped working and again was full time at home until the middle of 2001 when I was offered a part time job, working only 4 to 12 hours a week at an excellent pay rate, school hours only and close to home.
A dream job that I only accepted because my husband wanted me to , we had always said, before we had children that we would both work and both care for the children and home so that our children would know that anything was possible for Mummy and Daddy.

I stayed with the job for three years and then just walked away.
My heart and soul were not in it, I just wanted to concentrate on my home and family and have time for other creative things too like doll making.
I had always promised myself I would never work just for the money and in my privileged position of having a partner in full time work I just walked away from the paid workforce.

Now I'm just a couple of months away from my 50th birthday, am I typical of women of my age?

I have been in and out of the workforce ever since I became a mother.
I have never really wanted to be a part of the formal workforce although I spent most of my twenties in full time work.
I honestly don't think I would be happy at home now that my children are older ( 19, 16 and 11) if I didn't have my craft work and I don't just mean making things to sell, I mean making things because that is what I was born to do.
Making things with my hands nurtures my soul and makes me a happier more giving person.

I read so many generalizations about women's lives in the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s and so on.

I don't really feel that I fit into any of their boxes.
I look at many of my peers, my family and friends and the stories are so varied.

I now read in the July Notebook magazine that women are now marrying in their early twenties, having children earlier and expecting to be supported in this role by their partners, they are not going to buy into the " juggle struggle" that their mother's coped with. They see their marriage as a true partnership with each supporting the other in their chosen role.

Is this so?

And is this any different from the way any good marriage has always worked?

Social commentators love to label and categorise, to generalise and tell us how we are living our lives.

What is your journey?