Opting In… if it’s still an Option

Best thing I’ve read in a while:

The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In – NYTimes.com.

Thank you very much, Judith Warner. I can see a part of myself in every one of these women. And that is why, just over the past several weeks, I am doing what I need to do to get back in the game, as a starter, not a benchwarmer. (I cannot believe I just used a sports metaphor.)

I am lucky. I have a husband who knows I want to get back to work. He knows his employment trajectory has made that complicated for me to just “do.” When I have the occasional and short-lived crisis of confidence, he reminds me that I do not need to compare myself to Sheryl Sandberg or June Cleaver. He reminds me that the only thing that matters is what I want to do and how I want to do it. He has utter faith and complete confidence in me and my abilities.

I am lucky.

And this lengthy, well-worth-the-time and perfectly timed article reminds me to do three things, always.

1. Know who you are. Your worth is not defined by your spouse, your job, or your children.

2. Invest in and protect your marriage. If you feel unequal, or equal, say so. If you feel happy, or unhappy, say so. Expect the same of your partner. Work to level things out. Spouses may take turns in life doing different things, but it’s not okay to take turns in feeling inadequate or unhappy.

3. Don’t be complacent. Remember to wonder what could happen next. Marriages can end, jobs can be lost, health can be compromised. Stop and smell the roses, be in the moment, but don’t wear rose-colored glasses, don’t let anything pass you by.

5 thoughts on “Opting In… if it’s still an Option

  1. You sum up things so well here. I’m still struggling with trying to be a good corporate spouse while at the same time being ready for really bad contingencies. So far I’ve not been able to do it 100% and my compromises are more to sacrifice my career and financial indpendence in favor of being the corporate spouse and taking care of the kids.

    1. Well, in my experience, doing it 100% is more attainable once the children are a bit older. Ours will both be in school, away from me 7 hours a day–gives me a lot more energy to be a good corporate spouse, in the moment, and in the future, preparing for contingencies. Be good to yourself, Mark! You’re working really hard right now–you’re in the “thick years,” as my sister calls them, when kids need diapers, naps, wake up at night randomly… Man, the memories of those years still make me shudder sometimes. 🙂

  2. Yes – 19 months and an infant mean I am in the thick years! And we are planning to have four total, but maybe we need to re-think that. Right now, I really can’t even begin to think about thinking about a career and some semblance of independence. Good thing that my wife is doing so well and has a sweet spot in her heart for me.

  3. I know. That’s basically my business plan. She focuses on pleasing her clients and expanding her corporate horizons and I focus on pleasing her. It’s tough to be so dependent, but if there’s anyone in the world I can handle being dependent on, it’s her. And, we’re a team. Share the ups and downs.

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