In the song “Rockabye” by Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie and Sean Paul, Anne-Marie sings:
She tells him, “Your life ain’t gon’ be nothing like my life.”
“You’re gonna grow and have a good life.
I’m gonna do what I’ve got to do.”
In my recent post Caring for My Career AND My Daughter I spoke about the feeling of fulfillment one can get from being a working mom. But there’s another side of the coin (have you ever seen a one-sided coin?) and that is financial pressure.
The predicament I am about to describe is not a story of protecting one’s child from the unfavorable aspects of life which one has endured, as in the song quoted above, but rather giving them the great things that one had growing up—which in this day and age is very hard.
Growing up, it was possible to have a one-parent-working household. Nowadays it is highly improbable, if not impossible, for a family to sustain itself through one income only—especially if that family is sending their children to private school (Jewish day school or other). So while we don’t face the threat of abject poverty, the pressure on us may feel just as daunting. And what looms over us is the feeling of guilt that our children may not have it as good as we had. It’s one of the main reasons my husband and I moved away from New York City. We wanted the chance of owning a home in the future like the one I grew up in in the suburbs of NYC 30 years ago, and the only way we could fathom that would be possible was, ironically, leaving the New York area—whose prices would be impossible for us to afford.
So while I am fortunate to have found a career that I am passionate about, many people go to work regardless because of this financial need. And, who knows, in the future I too may have to take a job that I rather not take out of financial necessity.