Reinvention is the Necessity of Motherhood

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.

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6 responses to “Reinvention is the Necessity of Motherhood

  1. I agree that liberating women has in many ways made life harder for women. It’s great that we can have it all, but I don’t believe it’s possible to have it all at the same time and do justice to the tasks equally. Don’t underestimate the value of raising good and productive citizens. Don’t underestimate raising well adjusted individuals. Nothing else you decide to do will be as important or rewarding. Other accomplishments can be validating for sure, and can enrich your life, but in a different way.

    • Big, I love what I do (most days) and feel that it is a very worthy life task for me. I think that if we had ever felt really driven and passionate about another career we might feel differently about the having it all at the same time issue. I think that everything in life is about balance, it’s just how we each manage to balance our lives that is the real issue.

  2. I think most SAHMs can relate to this. I know I can. I’m just tarting to learn how to balance what I think I can do, what I think I need to do, and what I actually can do, in terms of my own personal goals and fulfillment outside of and inside of motherhood. It’s not so simple, and I suspect that I will be reassessing until my youngest is grown and out of the house.

    It seems to me that if your kids have seen how you’ve been able to evolve, that’s giving them a powerful tool and example right there. Just sayin’.

    • Rivki, I remember one particular lecture in Developmental Psychology when a student asked the prof. which is better for children to experience, a working mother or a stay at home mother? The prof. replied that the most important thing is that the mother be happy with what she is doing. Either being at home or at work if that’s not where you want to be is not good for our children. You’re 100% right it is all about balance, some of us can balance it all at once while others of us (me included) look at the long range picture and see that aspect of our selves being fulfilled at some point in the future. Good luck with your ongoing evolution!

  3. I love what you wrote about being a mom and reinvention! Before getting married and having children, I had a 12 year career. Then decided to stay home and raise my family, I wanted to see their 1st steps and hear their 1st words! I enjoyed the field trips, being a room mother, etc. Well, now they are teens and I didn’t keep up with the advertising business, now I’m obsolete in that world! My kids still need me, but often ask what I do all day?! Friends have also gone back to work and I’m trying to reinvent myself! I feel like I’m one of the few moms still at home-but we need to be here at this stage too! It’s an adventure and a dilemma! I am happy I’ve be able to be home with them all these years-but now it’s time for MOM to figure things out!

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