Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Token Kid


So I was out with a family friend on the weekend, and he made some very interesting comments.  This gentleman has been best friends with one of my Uncles since they were kids, until that Uncle died a few years ago.  I view him kind of like an Uncle I have here in the City (I have another Uncle just outside of the City, but we don't talk as often) - we go for coffee/breakfast every few weeks, and have long talks.  He also really helped me get set up when I first came to the City ~6 years ago.

Anyhoo, I made some comment about my Boss being back in < 2 weeks from her maternity leave, and how rumour has it they have a live-in Nanny (no judging, this is just a fact).  So he says, "Oh, so they just wanted to have a kid, but not raise it.  A token kid.  Just to prove they could have one.", and he laughs.

You could have knocked me over with a feather!  (I am 99% sure they had IVF, and they had twins not a singleton, so it's not like having these kids was easy for them - she also had endo).

But what a succinct way to say it!  I agree.  I also know that everyone's circumstances are different, and I'm not judging, sometimes to keep the standard of living you agreed to you need to work, or to keep any type of living at all you need to work.

And also some people love their jobs.  Me, not so much.  At best I tolerate mine.  So for me the decision to leave it or go part time should be relatively easy, but for others not so much.  I can get that. 

And also chasing after a one year old (the age at which you'd be leaving them) is HARD - people often say work is easier.  And never having actually spent my days running around after a one year old, who knows - maybe I would gratefully return to work.

And also if I don't work, our supposed future kids won't be able to do expensive things like play hockey or go to summer camp, and maybe I would decide those things are important, when all their little rich friends have such things (we live in a ritzy school neighbourhood, but a really dumpy house).

Or maybe DH would stay at home, because I bring in more of the Benjamins.  That still counts, since one of us is raising this supposed future child, doesn't have to be me.

Or even maybe return to work full time in between kids (assuming you could get #2 without too much trouble) so that I get another mat leave, and then quit.

All possible.  But it was very interesting to me that this ~55 year old man with no children came up with such a simple way to say it.  DH's Grandma has also said something similar to me, "Raise your own children", but Uncle's statement above is even more robust.  The part about "just to show you can" really resonates with me - because I can't.  It is like they are showing off.  (Not really, I know they love their kids, she just I think also loves work and fancy things).

I'm not putting the hate on, if you're back at work after having kids, that's ok!  Everyone makes the decisions that are right for their family, it's cool.  This one just really resonated with me.  I think more people pausing to do things intentionally (weighing pros and cons, say) without automatically doing what is the social norm is a good thing, and if this post has made you pause and think for just a second, that is good.  I do not mean to add to any guilt or put guilt where none should be. 

Peace out.

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