On February 18, 1998, while on our way to the hospital to deliver my first born, I had no idea how much my life would change. I didn't realize that I would never get a full nights rest, and that I would sleep with one eye open and one eye closed indefinitely. Not only did my body change physically, but the way that I viewed everything from my career choices to simple everyday decisions would never be the same again. Where I always made decisions based on what was best for me, now everything revolved around what was best for my growing family. Prior to the birth of my first child, I had my career laid out. I completed my Master’s degree in Counseling, and was planning to move up the Administrative track in Higher Education. Upon returning to work after maternity leave, I went from doing whatever needed to be done at work to getting it ALL done by 4:30pm so I could get home to my baby girl. When a faculty position became available as a Counselor, I jumped at the chance to do what I had trained so hard for, but to be totally honest, the 9 week vacation schedule is what sealed the deal…again that meant more time for my growing angel. After my second child was born, the BIG decision needed to be made…return to work or stay home for a while to raise my children???? This decision was huge for me and caused lots of anxiety. The anxiety was there because my greatest fear was to give up my career (Me) and lose myself in my family. I talked for hours to my husband and those closest to me, but ultimately the decision was mine, and I chose to be a stay-home parent for 6 years. I did work part-time as an adjunct professor and a Social Service Coordinator at an After School Program, but my main “job” was being home and raising my kids.
At times, as I have watched and supported my husband in all of his career choices and achievements, I’ve thought, when will it be my turn? I am now back in the work world and I love my job, but though it is a wonderful blessing, I am still doing what works best for my family. I am able to work full time, but still have the flexibility to give my kids a “stay-home” parent experience. When my husband works late 3-4 times a week without worry of the kids, I get resentful because I have never had that luxury since becoming a parent. But then again, would I want it? My husband is a great provider and works hard at everything that he does, and we are always on the sidelines cheering him on. His career continues to soar and I am his biggest fan, but I would be lying if I don’t sometimes wonder where could/would I be if I had as much time as he does to put into my own career??? As quickly as those thoughts come, they also flee. They flee because I am where I chose to be, and when I look at my children (my greatest gifts), I realize that all of the sacrifices we have made is well worth it. And if I am completely honest, I know that if I had the opportunity to be somewhere else following my “career” dreams, my heart would be at home wondering what is going on with my three jewels. So, in some ways, my biggest fear did come true…I did lose myself in my family, but what is crystal clear is that it was worth it, and my time is coming. I enjoy my job, and take the time I need for myself. I do the things I love doing (like writing this blog), and I am planning for “my day”, because when it comes, it is going to be BIG. For now I am enjoying just that, the "NOW", which is filled with so many blessings each day!
What I love most about being a woman/mother in today's society is that we have choices. Sometimes making these choices is the hardest thing in the world, but we have them, which is such a blessing. There is no right or wrong decision or way of being a mom. No matter what choice you have made, there are pros and cons, ups and downs that are to come later. It is how we deal with those challenges along the way that defines who we are and what we believe in.
This is my story, but this piece is dedicated to all the mothers who have to make hard choices/sacrifices everyday: The working mom who is juggling to balance work and family and being a star at both, the single mom who is doing it all by herself and doing it well, the stay-home mom who battles to keep a sense of self while being the CEO of her family, the newly divorced mom who is trying everything to protect her babies from the hurt that divorce causes, and the list goes on. In all scenarios, we are all trying to find our way and give our children the best we have to give.
Happy Mother’s Day to all in the sisterhood of being a “mommy”!
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