Monday, January 18, 2010

My "Real Job"

I've been thinking a lot about 'being a housewife' lately and what it all means.

I know that as a child of the 80s, if I had ever come to my mother and told her that I wanted to be a housewife when I grew up she would have scoffed and told me that no, when I grew up I would have a real job.

All my childhood I was told that I was so clever and was destined for great things. All I wanted was a home and children to look after. Oh and a million dollars wouldn't go astray. I was the intellectual in my family of 4 girls. One was an incredibly gifted sportswoman destined for the Olympics, one was the "pretty" one, and one was the hilarious people-person who remains one of the most unique women I have ever known. I was the "smart one". I was the one they pinned all their hopes on.

"Suzy is going to be a lawyer".

And yes, when I graduated high school with near perfect scores, I was accepted into Law School. I was also about to give birth to Rocket, my eldest son. I was a single mother at the time and I knew that going into Law would provide me with the income I felt I needed. So off to law school I went. And I was good at it. Offered a place in some fancy exclusive club for over achievers as I was in the top level of grades in the entire university. And while that thought alone gave me a warm fuzzy (who doesn't like being better than other people at something?) I decided that I would rather poke out my eyeballs with a plastic spork than go into Law as a profession.

So I quit.

Much to the shock and disappointment of my entire family, my mentors at university, and all my classmates who I'm sure were more concerned that there would be no-one around to explain concepts to them that apparently only I understood. No-one could understand why I would give it up.

I had been working in law firms for years, throughout my entire high school career actually, as my mother worked in small firms and they provided me with "holiday work" which actually meant that for $6 an hour I stood at a photocopier and sneakily read transcripts and all manner of interesting confidential documents. I also gained myself a mentor in the form of one of the top barristers in the state, who used to set me bizarre 'homework' tasks like - "find for me the atomic weight of one square metre of gold bars".

I also got to see the work that was assigned to lawyers at different levels. And I knew that once I graduated, I would spend the next 5 to 10 years doing menial, mindless, boring tasks on boring cases. And if I wanted to get anywhere I would have to spend 60 hours a week in the office doing said menial boring tasks.

Like I said. Plastic spork in my eye.

Plus I had a 3 year old at this point who I actually wanted to see and spend time with. And the reality was...I still wanted to be a housewife.

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