No one stopped to think how two parents working would affect the retirement situation later in life. That is, back in the 1970’s when American females were clamoring for equal rights, ie: the right to work every day, I asked them if they were crazy? Mine was not a popular viewpoint back then, but few of them had seen a mother work 5 1/2 days a week, come home too tired to cook, nevermind clean the house, and still barely make ends meet. My comments about the extra money not being extra for long was met with skepticism. How stupid could I be? I was asked. Well, as I predicted the prices increased so that it TOOK two incomes to get by, whereas before one had worked.
My mother was a single parent long before it was fashionable or ordinary. She also had polio at age 3 and had struggled through her life already. Then she was blessed (?) with two daughters and had the added burden of supporting us because our father left for other pastures. I never did figure out if they were greener or not. You’d have to ask him, but wait, he’s dead, so we’ll never know.
This is Mothers Day, 2012. I have just finished skyping with my baby boy who lives in China and teaches English there. My other two sons are still seeking jobs and living with me. Sometimes I suggest they go to China. They have college degrees as well and could snag jobs teaching. My suggestions fall on deaf ears.
My baby boy sent me 8 long stemed red roses which are made from birchwood. We skyped while I opened his gift, which arrived this past Friday. They are beautiful and mean so much to me!
We went out to eat, my other sons and I, yesterday. Have you ever been out to eat on Mother’s Day? Let me stay home! It is too crowded. So we ate lunch out – with Conrad – and dinner out – with George yesterday, and this morning I had breakfast with Anthony via sykpe. That’s all my children, as far as I can remember . . . ha ha. I prayed for six children. Thank God for knowing better what I needed than I knew back then. Three has been the perfect number.
But now I am looking at retirement and wishing I could do it in the style of my grandmother. She was a seamstress, but she managed to retire on her social security. She owned a small house and moved back to it. She had a beautiful garden out behind it with pear trees and all sorts of interesting plants. She was constantly experimenting with crafts and plants and trying out different ways to do different things.
I wish I could retire like she did. I am currently wondering if I will get a job I like for the next school year. I really am ready to quit work, but somehow my retirement plans didn’t work out. I wonder how many other women are pondering the same things as I am? How to retire after getting used to having my income?
I told my college friends in the early 1970’s that women’s lib was really a farce. How much freer can you get than staying home with your children every day? And then when it’s time to retire, your husband can decide how he wants to handle it. We opened Pandora’s Box, and I fear we may never close it again.
I told them so. I was laughed at. I wonder how many of the young girls I argued with in the 1970’s now wish they’d never decided to be free enough to work every day for the rest of their lives? I just want to figure out a way to be free enough to enjoy the time I have left on this earth. I like my job, but somehow I thought there’d be more before I end my time here. If I figure out how to do it, I’ll post that. Meanwhile, I hope you don’t laugh and say there is no way to ever attain my grandmother’s level of retirement. I believe there is.