Tuesday, July 1, 2008

i used to be a professional

and by that, i do not mean a "professional." as in a pro. you know, a "working girl?" no, i mean i used to work all day in the corporate world. and i was a star. no, really. i have confidence issues in many areas, but not regarding my work. i really was an expert in my area of expertise. my advice and counsel were sought by many (which is a fairly good thing for a consultant).

i do not regret, for one solitary moment, being home to raise my baby. i believe every woman who can, should. please note the italics. many women can not afford to stay home with their babies. i feel for those moms who wish they could but must work to pay the bills. being married to a cop, i know a thing or two about money crunch. (why is it that police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and military members do such dangerous work for others' benefit and yet make so little money? does this make sense to you? can you explain it to me?)

other women feel they can not be good moms at home if they are not also active in the working world. these women should do what's necessary to allow them to be the best mothers they can be. their children are better off with a mom who is fully present and engaged at the end of the work day than one who is bitter and distracted all day long at home.

as i said, i believe it is best for children to be raised by a stay-at-home parent whenever possible. it is especially so for my child(ren). because my working self thinks nothing of being away at work from 6am-10pm and then working from home several hours more. because my working self's mind is totally, completely engaged in (obsessed with? i'm not too proud to admit it) the intricacies of the myriad laws and regulations that change seemingly daily; with the research so integral to finding and implementing just the right solution for a particular client; with planning and teaching the university courses that prepare fledgling (or veteran) professionals to pursue or advance in their own careers. oh, my heart is pounding even as i type this. that old addiction is still unbelievably strong. and so i stay away.

my children deserve my best. and i am unable to give my best to them when i give my all to work. unfortunately, i am unable to maintain balance. i have tried. i am sorry to have to confess that andrew and tori did receive less than my best during their early high school years. i thought i had a handle on it, but it slowly took over, this monkey on my back. but i dialed it back in time. they are relatively well-adjusted and healthy adults. and now we have timmy. and i am determined to give him my best. (i have taken the odd project here and there, but only short-term projects and those that allow me to work mostly from home. and still i must remain on guard. i wonder if this is a disability?)

again, i do not regret this decision to be a full-time sahm. i don't. i am fully committed to this, my job as mother. i am my child's first - and i hope best - teacher. he will grow up more independent, more confident, more engaged in learning. and so, on the rare day when i wake up feeling a little depressed about my absense from my former world, i just remind myself of the importance of my current job. i may be dressing in a t-shirt and crocs every day, but i am raising a fully-fuctioning, mentally and physically healthy, thinking and reasoning person here. and i am a star in this job, too.


Awake said...

This is very similar to how I felt. My career was about to take that next leap (i.e., partner) and I really, really needed to start working many more hours than I was. I couldn't give up anymore time. It had to go - for now. But I'll be back, in some form. I loved practicing law and, also, will have to pay this debt back the lawschool debt back someday.

Glad to hear its been working for you.

Lanne said...

I am clapping... I am shouting WOOHOOOT I have never heard this expressed so well!

Ditto.. nodding and OH YEAH. I too was the successful work obessed person who become a mother.. and I tried to continue to be the successful less work obessed person. All it meant was I felt I did two things badly! I moved to running my own business, whilst working whilst being a mother. NOT fun but it has given the room to be flexible now. I run the business and I am a stay at home parent. I still work hard but I think it gives me enough to do that I am a better parent not a conflicted parent who feels they cant get the balance right. Balance is MINE now.. most days anyway!

GOOD for you ..

and yes.. police, ambulance, fire, medical and teachers.. should all be paid more and praised more..

merideth said...

awake, thank you for your comment. i shudder just thinking about those insidious student loans. they're the horror that keeps on horrifying, aren't they?

lanne, thank you for the compliment. i'm glad balance is now yours. could you come do my laundry? :)

despite what feminists have been telling us women, we can NOT have it all! not at the same time, anyway. not me, anyway.

i'll take my successes nowadays in small doses: the occasional poopoo that goes IN the potty seat, the public compliments of timmy's good manners. can't beat it!