I work as a temp at the same university my husband lectures at. I finished my latest assignment there last week and I asked the agency for a couple of weeks off before they give me another one. Although I do get holiday pay, this break is unpaid which is a bit depressing - not much spare change for treasures! I must admit that the more I think about it, the more I realise I'm not a career girl after all - I didn't go to university (partly through choice, partly through lack of opportunity). I've had several jobs since my two years of college, but none of which really led to anything I really wanted to do. I often worry about not having a career - it seems to be one of two expectations of my generation (the other being professionally unemployed, but that's another story) - but in all honesty I'm actually happiest being at home, pottering about doing my own thing. I achieve more satisfaction looking after my home, sewing etc than spending 7 hours a day, 5 days a week looking at a computer screen. (Thank goodness I don't have children as well, I don't know how I'd fit it all in). I really think we should be celebrating the women (and men) who want to stay at home, rather than 'just being a housewife/husband'. Don't get me wrong - a few hours work for an income of your own (and sanity) is important, but work shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of life! I'm very lucky that I can afford to be at home, but I also think we've been conditioned to believe that households must have 2 incomes in order to afford our modern lifestyles - after all, those 2 holidays a year, fancy cars and meals out aren't cheap.
Even if the current economic situation hasn't directly affected everyone, I think now is a good time to take stock and think about the real priorities. I honestly believe that we can all still enjoy life without lots of luxuries - family and quality time is the most important thing.