The Whole Pie

When I was young I thought that there was a pie and you could have a piece of it but your piece’s size would effect everyone else’s. While I still think this is true for cherry, apple, and pecan pie (but not coconut cream because I will give you my whole piece), I don’t think it is true for life.

My husband is upset because he got a teensy weensy raise, less than the cost of living, and is still making less than he did during the dot com boom. Especially when what he really wanted was a weekday off each week.

I love my husband dearly. He is a wonderful man. But sometimes I get put out with him. He wants the whole pie. And he wants it right now.

He seems to think that he should be able to have it.

And maybe he should.

I do know most people don’t have it.

His best friend, a doctor, does. He works 9 months a year and makes 4x what R makes. But R didn’t want to be a doctor. Most people don’t have it.

I don’t have the whole pie. Right now I have a piece of it. I’m doing the things I think I’m good at, teaching little kids and college students, on a part-time minimal pay scale, while working full-time at something I am not as good at and which I often find frustrating– homeschooling.

But that is beside the point. The point is it needs to be done and I am the person who is going to do it. I do the best I can at it, which sometimes feels incredibly poorly, and I keep it up. I’ve been homeschooling, with structure, since the boys were 2 and 3. They’re 13 and 14 now. That’s a long time to keep doing this. It’s not over yet, either, I have at least three more years and more probably five more years of it to go. Even if you only count since M was in kindergarten, since I did send E to a private school for 1st grade, I’ve been doing this for eight years and still have more to go.

But I’m not fussing about it and trying to figure out some way to get out of it. I think because of that R thinks I enjoy it. I don’t always. Yes it gives me flexibility. But I’d have just as much or more if my kids were in school and I was teaching college. Then I wouldn’t be working two part-time jobs and I’d be making a heck of a lot more money than I am making now.

I also know, however, that there are many positive aspects to homeschooling. My sons have their parents around a lot more than most kids. They are learning lessons, not just in education, but in life. We talk to them. We trust them with information. They think critically, because of our influence. Both boys are far ahead of the curve in reading and vocabulary. They are able to progress at their own pace, whether quickly or slowly. If they don’t understand something, I can spend as much time as they need to review the information. If they do understand something, they don’t have to hear me talk about it for an hour. All of those are positive points of homeschooling.

So even when it is frustrating, I don’t quit. Of course, neither does R. And the positive list for his work is shorter than mine: good money and stability.

I know R’s job is boring. I know A is not the most fun boss to work for. I know he didn’t get what he wanted when he asked for it. I’m sad that is so. But sometimes I get frustrated and want to tell him that most people’s life is like that and he shouldn’t expect to do better than most people do.

That’s not very nice though. So until he read this post I hadn’t told him that.

We have very different views of life; that’s true.

I told him to go back in on Monday and offer to take a 20% pay cut in order to get a day off a week. I’m not sure how we’ll manage to live on that, but we’ll figure something out. And once we’re making it, we’ll have to figure out how to live on it.

Hopefully A will go for it.

— I did panic after telling him to do that and said maybe he should just ask for 10% less and one day every two weeks. But he didn’t want to hear that.

Note: This whole post came about because of a blog entry by Matthew Yglesias entitled “The Home Front.”

2 thoughts on “The Whole Pie

  1. You know, I don’t think government should get involved in most stuff, but really it should be illegal to make people work 7 days a week! I also really hate most of what labor unions do and stand for these days, but I do love that my husband’s looks out after him (unlike a lot of unions). In most union shops, 7 days/week is unheard of — at least not without a LOT of compensation!

  2. I didn’t realize why you wrote this, but having re-read the post I know. My husband isn’t working 7 days a week, though many people would probably think he’s getting sufficient compensation for that. He works five. What he was wanting was a pay cut and to only have to work four.

    Since he wants to be a professional photographer his having a weekday off would help him get shoots and have time to arrange them. Right now he is shooting nights and weekends.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    My dad worked 7 days a week for decades. I didn’t like it at all. But he did come home for dinner most nights. Then he’d go back to work. Eventually all that working paid off and he was making good money before he retired and had a good pension plan.

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