I always assumed I would be a working parent or, to be more precise, a parent who worked outside the home (for pay, the money kind of pay) as well as within it. My mother worked, mainly for the same reason my father did, out of financial necessity. I went to an elite women’s college (think seven sisters) and was certain I would have both a fulfilling career and family. But then I chose to be a Theatre major and graduated college with no clear idea of a career path.
I held various jobs. I managed and was the wine buyer for a restaurant in Manhattan, a job I was supremely unqualified for, but I was cheap (and so was my boss). I worked for a solo practitioner criminal defense attorney in Chicago who really needed an associate, but hired me instead. I was his secretary (even though I was a two finger typist), accountant (collecting $100 bills peeled from fat rolls by young men wearing pants that sagged) and de facto associate making not infrequent court appearances (no your honor, I don’t wish to argue the motion, I’m only here to get a date). I worked in human resources for a large US company in their small Chicago office and I actually had my own office there, with a window, and a door that closed! That was probably the most grown up I ever felt in the work force.
And it was there, in the bathroom of that small office of that large US company, that I peed on a stick and found out I was pregnant. At the end of his clerkship that year, my Husband accepted a job at a law firm in San Francisco. He was from Southern California and wanted to get back to the Golden State. I was from New England and refused to live in Los Angeles, but had heard San Francisco was very like Boston. Daughter 1.0 was scheduled to be born in San Francisco, but she had other ideas and put me on bed rest for 4 weeks of my pregnancy before she arrived (fully healthy) 6 weeks early.
I moved across the country with my tiny 3 week old daughter expecting to stay home for a time, maybe six months, at most a year, then return to the work force. 18 years later and I’m still milking this stay-at-home mom gig. I always said I would go “back” to work when I got bored. Not bored yet.