Monday, September 3, 2012

My "Hobby"

It's taken me a long time to come to this realization, but I'm glad I'm finally there. I've felt frustrated off-and-on for at least 2 years now...for reasons I could never nail down, until now.

You see, I realize that my husband and I treat what I "do" as a hobby.

Not, a Job.

Despite the fact what I do is challenging, time-consuming, has specific requirements, and does, in fact, pay...somehow, we've decided it's not a Job. It's a hobby.

I think this goes back to when we were first married, 6ish years ago. And when I first started my master's degree. I was in school, making a pittance as a grad student, and my dear husband was slaving away for a Grocer-that-shall-not-be-named. In the very beginning we were quite precarious financially, but within 6 months my husband had been promoted to an Assistant Manager. A Job, for sure. With salary, benefits, and STRESS to boot. Not to mention an iron-tight fist held onto all of his "free" time. He worked 17 hour shifts, y'all. But he was salary so he never saw an extra dime. In short, it sucked.

And while he held this life-force-sucking Job, I was in graduate school. And I'll be honest. Those first two years, I was living it up. I had free time. Plenty of it. My best friend at the time found herself on bedrest due to pregnancy and I would spend about 4 hours nearly every day at her house with her. Scrapbooking. While we watched crappy TV. It boggles my mind now, how I had the time to do it...but somehow I made it work. I still met my obligations to my "work" - usually working on it in the wee hours waiting for my husband to come home (usually around midnight to 2am).

But who was I kidding? I was enjoying myself, had plenty of free time, and made less than half what my husband did. While we certainly needed my eager income to meet our financial requirements (including saving) didn't feel like a Job. Not compared to my husband's, anyway. So I think that is when we both started thinking of what I do/did as a "hobby". And I'm as much guilty as he.

The trouble is, now, some 6 years on, I don't feel what I do counts as a "hobby" anymore. I've taken on extra jobs in addition to the grad school gig. I teach at a community college. (that is, in fact, a job, am I right?) I spend about 40 hours per week at school working on my PhD stuffs and TA duties, and then still have work at home in the evenings after the wee one is in bed.

Which. Sounds very Job and not Hobby to me.

So, despite the fact that my time commitment to my work, and the amount of work I'm doing has changed, our mentality has not. So I'm still expected to do more of the housework. And if it comes down to deciding between his work or mine, his will win because it's "real" and mine can wait.

To be fair, I have more flexibility in most deadlines than he does. He's currently teaching middle school and has to be there certain hours of every day M-F. I...don't have such strict time requirements. But by golly, I still have important shit to do! And I'm tired of us acting like what I do is not important, does not amount to real work, and therefore it should go Last on the List of Family Items. 

This is all being tipped off by some recent comments and a very fun and relaxing vacation for the 3 day weekend. I had been fixing after getting a MacBook Pro. Mr. Random finally conceded I could buy it if I needed it...but through a fun twist of fate, my computer at work got updated after in the end I didn't NEED it as much as I had the week before. So decided to wait. Though I argued one advantage would be being able to take it with us on all these vacations we've been discussing taking (one during his Fall break, when I don't have a break at all but probably can make it work) - and he said, well, you shouldn't take work on vacation...doesn't that defeat the purpose of vacation? I conceded his point.

That was last Thursday y'all.

Fast forward to...Friday. The very next day. When we left for our 3-day vacation. Guess who brought a mountain of grading and was hoping to get his lesson plans done?


So. Hmmm. It's okay for him? But not for me? I brought this up and he defended himself by saying that he has hard deadlines and I, do not.

I find myself wondering what's going to happen when next year (I hope! I hope! I hope!) I have an undeniably "real" job as an Assistant Professor (I hope! I hope! I hope!)? What then? Because at that point, I should be making more $$ than him. And certainly my job will be real. And more prestigious. Will the pendulum finally swing back the other way and it will be him taking the lion's share of baby-caring and house-keeping?

I doubt it.

Which is why I suppose we'll have to talk about this. Which brings to mind another post - how is it, that after 10ish years with find it harder to bring up important things, not easier?

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About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.