Saturday, March 15, 2008

Book Review: The Ten-Year-Nap

I am waiting eagerly for Meg Wolitzer's The Ten Year Nap to pop up on my library's New Books shelf. The author addresses what is now called "The Opt-Out Generation," educated female Gen-X overachievers who give up promising careers for a life in snot-stained capri pants.

It's an angst that is close to my heart. I think we can all agree that my children are better cared for and better educated than they would be by a team of preschool teachers and nannies, but at what expense? I have given up more than the average mommy, including a scholarship to an Ivy League college and the career that surely would have ensued. I know that I am doing the right thing by maintaining a constant presence in my children's lives, but at what expense? When I die, will my loved ones have anything to put in my obituary besides: amateur gourmet cook, fabulous accessorizer, planner of amazing vacations, keeper of an immaculate house? None of these issues compel me back to work, but I can't ignore the pervasive emptiness of a hausfrau's existence.

I have talents, damn it. Underneath my hoodie and boot cut jeans lies a woman with a genius-level IQ who can write poetry and play piano, who would be more comfortable having two martini lunches with sparkling conversation than hanging out at a playdate. This guilt compels me to over-do things a little--do the mouldings really need scrubbed once a week, after all?--as I struggle to fill the days with tangible results: tasks, however small and mundane, that I can point to as proof that Emily Was Here.

So I'm not the only woman who feels this way, apparently. I haven't read the book yet, but thank you, Mrs. Wolitzer, for letting me know I'm not alone.


Joyce said...

Think of yourself as an influencer of future generations. You have all those little eyes and ears watching your every move and listening to your every word.

Scary, isn't it?

Niki Jolene said...

I feel you on this...

By they way, on my blog I linked ya for my Sunday Link Love (sites I am digging this week).


Unknown said...

I am about to resign a full time job with a great family oriented company. Believe me, it is the hardest decision I've taken in so long, but down the road I don't want to live my life with the "What if". Life is too short anyway and kids grow up really, really fast. The life of a working mother is not glamorous at all, you have to put a straight face even after a sleepless night, the pressure of who stays home when the kid is sick, the hurry up with your breakfast because I cannot be late, the hurry up with your little life because I have important meetings. I think I have missed on a lot of important milestones in the life of my oldest son, so I am looking forward to stained capris and pockets full of dirty kleenex with my boys. Wish me luck!