I was reading some posts the other day from Ryekatcher’s blog thelogofiles when something she wrote resonated with me. She wrote about the disappointment of not having a CAREER. As a full time time mother I 100% understand where she is coming from.
I have made my choices and I am almost aways happy with them, but there are those times when I wonder, doubt, question and imagine. I am not one of those people who knew from childhood what she wanted to be when she grew up. I am always a little in awe of and mystified by those people. The only thing that I ever knew for sure was that I liked kids and I hated math. Math still intimidates me and while I usually like my kids as a whole population kids just don’t do it for me anymore.
When I got to university I discovered that I love languages, history, philosophy, religion, politics, psychology and of course literature. There still was not one thing that I was passionate about although, for a long time I thought that it would be psychology. How did I parlay this into a career? Not very well. I graduated got a “job” and worked until marriage. I got laid off, went back to university for a second undergrad degree and then got another job until I got pregnant.
We knew that I wanted to be a full time mom. I grew up with a working mom and I would have given anything to have my mom go on just one class trip with us. It was important to me that I be able to give my children what I never had but so badly wanted. Fortunately my husband was of the same frame of mind. That in part is why we live up here in a smaller more affordable city.
I have never, not for a moment, regretted my decision. But, I have on many occasions wondered, “Is this it? What am I contributing to the world?”. Now, I know that I am raising 4 wonderful people who will all go on to find their own paths and fulfill their destinies whatever they may be. On a good or middling day that is enough for me, for now. On a bad day, those questions resurface. To a certain degree (and please don’t slam me for this) I blame women’s lib for these feelings. I think that we have been conditioned by society to feel less than whole and guilty unless we are doing it all. 100% mother, 100% wife and 100% career woman. 300% self-actualized. When I was pregnant with our first and working I remember thinking, “I bet my husband’s not thinking about this baby growing in me at this moment because he’s caught up in the moment at work.” I believe that men have the luxury of compartmentalizing that women don’t. By the way, I do realize that these are gross generalizations.
My eldest will be entering his last year of high school this fall. There is a great deal of talk about his future around our house and we are trying to give him the best guidance that we can. The one thing that keeps coming back to me is the knowledge that I can only guide him with what I know. There is so much out there that I don’t know about. We have been told time and time again that a great percentage (I think 50, but don’t quote me) of the jobs that kids in school will one day have do not even exist yet. How do you guide someone knowing this? Of course, you have to rely on the knowledge of the kids themselves and the professionals in the schools.
I can take this same knowledge and apply it to myself. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but I know that I can reinvent myself again when I am ready. I have gone from child to adolescent to adult which means I am now a wife and a mother with all that this entails. The one thing that has remained the same throughout is that I have always been 100% pure me. I am continuing to evolve. When the kids are all or mostly all out of the house I can once again reinvent myself. There is a world of interests out there and I can discover them on my own terms. That is a gift that I have been given by the women’s lib movement, by my husband and by myself. I just need to remember it.