Every now and then (though they are - thankfully - increasingly rare), I will get the following comments/questions thrown my way: "Oh you 'sacrificed' your career for your children, good for you", "This is the right thing to do", "Don't you get bored sitting at home"; and one day it hit me out of the blue that on that fateful day in 2002 when I decided I was going to drop out of the corporate rat race, I sentenced my husband to a lifetime of the very thing that I was discarding. However bad a day I am having with the kids, atleast my demanding bosses love me and I love them back and we pull along together somehow. However often they drive me up the wall, I have the choice and the privilege of staying home with them instead of catching glimpses of them through the day. Yes the payment I get for my work is tears, tantrums, hugs and kisses but this paycheck is worth it's weight in gold.
The days that S comes back home exhausted and yes, disgusted, with his workplace, the people and the rubbish that he has to put up with, the guilt gnaws at me. I mutter meaningless consoling words. I know that in order to maintain our "luxurious" (as S terms it) lifestyle, he has to continue to do the kind of work he's doing now. He has to continue making pots of money because even after I get back to work, anything I make will be pocket-change compared to him. We're too invested in our way of life to consider downgrading. So I get to do "meaningful" "fulfilling" work that I enjoy, and he gets to dream about how it would have been if he had become a Prof while his wife was out earning the big bucks.
I wonder who made the "sacrifice"?