Choosing Motherhood Over Career
A successful lawyer who happens to be a mom worked at a large D.C. firm. This week, she came to the conclusion that she just couldn’t take half-assing work and parenthood any longer. Something had to give, so she wrote a resignation letter to her employers and it found its way onto the Internet and the Internet blew up.
People get irate when you challenge their myths. Look, I wish we could all be fantastic involved mothers and have challenging and rewarding careers. But I am yet to meet the mother with newborns who has figured it out. Sure there are women who can do both. The problem we fall into, the one I fell into, was that I felt like I wasn't doing either to my standard. I constantly felt like I was missing something. The duality was too much for me. My heart was pulling me one way and my mind was pulling in the opposite direction. You find yourself always wanting to be some place else.
It comes as no surprise to other mothers that eventually we all come to this realization. Mommy stuff gets in the way of career stuff because tiny humans trump everything else in our life.
Being a stay-at-home mom is not a new concept. My mom did it and her mom did it. It was expected. By the time I became a mom, a new development had happened. Sometime between when my mom raised me and I had children, women had decided to have careers and children, and with that latch key kids and nannies became a popular thing.
Now, it seems we have a society flooded with highly educated women who were on fast career tracks. When they had their children, they weren't obligated but chose to stay home with their children, which both is soothing and terrifying to me simultaneously.
When I had my girls, I knew (almost immediately) that I wanted to stay home with them. Many of the moms that I know left the work force when their children were born so that they could dedicate their full attention to their babies. I did it because I didn't want to miss anything and I didn't want to half-ass motherhood or my career.
For me, my career was second always. Now, my girls are 5 & 7 and we are at a different place in the world. They are in school all day and I am pursuing my dream career. I work from home, I do what I love, and I am still available to take them to school, pick them up, and be there when they do homework and have things at school. I have not given up anything. If anything I have doubled my load but it's on my terms.
For me, it's not that we can't have it all ... maybe we just can’t have it all when the kids are newborns because if we stay home, we miss out on career. A career, for a lot of us, makes us feel like we are missing moments with our children, but there is a sweet spot, and I think I may have found it. I am still tired, exhausted, and have a non-stop schedule, BUT I wouldn't have it any other way.
Do you think we can have it all? Is there a Mommy/career balance and we just have to find it?
Image via Victor 1558/Flickr