July 4th, 2007
A woman I’ve known for a long while recently gave me grief because (a) I bought a matchbook-sized cosmetic fixer of a house, (b) I’ve lived here two years and have yet to finish unpacking, paint the walls, and make the place sparkle like a newborn’s freshly wiped ass, and (c) my work is varied (though I believe “chaotic” was the word my acquaintance used), fluctuating from article assignments to book deadlines to one-week editing projects to four-month onsite temp gigs.
I know this woman means well and just has a hard time relating to my way of working/living and my (quasi-obsessive) creative drive, and I know I’m being overly sensitive here, but still. I went back and forth about whether to add this detail, but I think it bears mentioning: The woman in question — who, by the way, is childfree — wouldn’t have a home of her own, a housekeeper, the ability to not work for long stretches of time, and half the amenities in her life if she was not married. (I say this knowing her financial history, not as a judgment of married life.)
Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that. I’m not looking to start another careerwoman/stay-at-home-wife-slash-mom smackdown. In fact, if I ever merge households with my sweet beau, I could mayyyyyyyyybe see us trading off supporting each other so we could spend significant chunks of time focusing on our writing or whatever the heck floats out boats. (Maybe. After all these years standing on my own, it’s hard to wrap my brain around being kept or being someone’s sugar mama. But ask me if/when I get there…)
I’m saying this: Sometimes the digs against hard-working single women get really fucking old, know what I mean? And this is hardly the first time my freelance friends and I have been judged for our lack of housekeeper, breadwinning hetero bedwarmer, and predictable 9-to-5 lives. (Want proof? Read this book.)
I’m saying this, too: I’m so freaking proud to be a highly employable — and for the most part, decently paid — bootstrapping babe with multiple job skills/talents that put food on the table and insulate me with four mint-green-aluminum-sided walls. As in, you will neh-ver hear the words, “I just want to marry a rich doctor so I never have to lift a finger again,” seep from my lips. (Sorry, Grandma Etta.) So today I plan to celebrate all the self-made freelance and small-business-owning babes out there. Tonight, ladies, I raise my Roman candles, bottle rockets, and all other figurative TNT implements to you. Rock on, DIY women, rock the fuck on!
And if you need some financial inspiration, here are a couple of nifty resources I found this week:
- Fab new book! Whether you’re flying solo or shacked up, see On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance. Because, ladies, let’s be real: Financial life does not begin when you start sharing a bed with someone; it begins the second your parents cut you off. If you don’t have a financial clue, there’s no time like the present to get one.
- Fab web calculators! While researching an article on financing a career change (which I’ll link to once it’s live), I discovered that Kiplinger.com has a bunch of cool tools that can help you figure out such essentials as how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt, how much (if any) mortgage you can afford, how much raising a bundle of joy will run you, if you’re saving enough for retirement, and whether you and your sweetie can afford to jettison one of your jobs so the other can go back to school, write a screenplay, or stay home with that wee bundle of joy.