The one about the current economic climate (and guilt)

21 Mar

The other day L1, who wants answers to tricky questions all the time now (Where’s God? How do magnets work? What makes water? What’s two divided by zero? – tricky for me, I am truly bad at maths) asked me ‘why do you have to work in London when Daddy can work at home?’. 

One of the answers to this lies in the current economic climate, and since I am yet to read that apparently revelatory book (‘Whoops – why everyone owes everyone and no-one can pay’ by John Lanchester, I mean) that explains how the current implosion happened and why it took us all by surprise, I couldn’t give a proper and reasonable answer.  Of course, the short, and equally, valid, version of this is that people aren’t employing permanently in Daddy’s industry sector, so Daddy works very hard at home because that’s the place he can; people are employing permanently in my sector and I am fortunate enough to have a good job in a big company and right now that’s something to be clung on to at all costs. 

The other answer is the one that only comes out under the cover of darkness, raising its snuffly snout to the night sky to breathe.  That one is that I enjoy working, I am fulfilled by it, and that if someone paid off the Nationwide and handed me 500 gold bars (isn’t gold meant to be a good investment in these current shaky times?) and said ‘go forth and do as you will, your financial strictures are loosened’ I would still get up just as dawn broke, dress in the dark (that’s an upcoming topic) and limp to the station (see previous parentheses) and head into London.  Maybe a couple less days each week, but I would still do it.  Working gives me something I need, it defines part of me that I like and I want to keep present. 

But why is it hard to write that without feeling some shame, some selfishness, that somehow I have let the Ls down as a parent, when it’s real and true and I know my working mum friends also, in most cases, feel that drive.  So I – and maybe all of us in the same situation – should try and ignore the guilt self-fulfillment through paid work brings, because if that feeling is what it brings, seeking self-fulfillment should be nothing to be ashamed of.

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One Response to “The one about the current economic climate (and guilt)”

  1. John aka Alfred March 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    I fear the mathematical inablity is inherited from your father.

    At least you have not inherited his bald head!

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