There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Occupation? None

     Years ago, I had a conversation with a friend who could not understand my decision to quit my job and raise my kids.  He wanted to know what I did all day to fill my time, and wondered how I kept from getting bored.  This from a guy who I knew was spending thousands of dollars on private nannies for his own children and I thought it was interesting that he placed enough value on the nanny’s work to pay her, but no value on my work, even though we did the same job.

     I have been working on a book and I write a blog, so I consider myself a writer.  Not everyone agrees with me.  Some people have asked if I get paid to write or if I have actually published anything.  My answer, of course, is that I have yet to receive any type of compensation for my writing to which their response is that I am not a writer.

     What is it about money that changes the value of what we do?  Am I only a writer if I get paid?  Is the nanny who raises children more valuable than the mom doing the same work because she receives a weekly paycheck?

     And what of volunteers?  Dedicated individuals who sacrifice time away from work and home to run PTA meetings, fundraisers, fight fires, and drive ambulances.  There is no paycheck for these people and yet I find their work to be the most valuable at times.  Still, because it’s done on a volunteer basis I have heard it dismissed as a hobby.

      A hobby, by definition, is an interest we pursue for pleasure outside of our main occupation.  Perhaps my writing is a hobby,  because that is the interest I pursue for pleasure outside of my occupation.  But is motherhood an occupation if there is no paycheck? Is being a mom actually a hobby?

     If money determines the value of what we do, then I suppose it follows that actors are more valuable than volunteers, and certainly more valuable than me. But if my house should start to burn, no disrespect to the Brad Pitts of the world, I want the guy with the hobby who knows how to work the hydrant. 


  1. I am not with the people who value something due to the amount of money it brings in. How could there be a paycheck high enough for being a mother for example?:) No amount could do it justice. As for something like writing or any sort of artistic endeavor, if you feel like a writer or an artist in your heart because you are burning to get your words or images out...because it is more than what you do but more to do with who you are and you couldn't stop if you tried, you are a are an artist. In my own humble opinion, more of one by far than someone who is just in writing or painting for the money.

    In fact, i think the truest measure of whether you are a writer or not is if you would still write even if no one else would ever read it...

    Well, there you have my little rant for the day.:)

    Love Colleen

  2. I love your rant, Colleen! Thanks, and yes, I would continue to write whether people read it or not, there's something about forming just the right sentence, or thought or paragraph that is so satisfying. And after reading that last poem you posted, I have been inspired to maybe try my hand at poetry, although, to date, I have not thought I could do it. Who knows what creative genius still lies

  3. As someone who has been a full time stay at home mom and is now a part time stay at home Mom your words resinate with me...I'm with Colleen, I don't put the value of one's work on whether they get paid or not...You love writing and you do it are a writer, just as you are other things Deborah. I look forward to reading your words...I hope you keep seeking your dreams. XX

  4. :) Try! It could amaze us all.:)