May 7, 2013

When I Grow Up

As I mop the spit up from my shoulder for the seventh time today and discover with a horrified sniff that I do, in fact, smell of sour milk, I wonder how I came to be in this place. I was probably not a normal kid. I used to dream of owning my own robotics firm with an in-house day care for the daughter I wanted to have.

I went so far as to major in Physics in college and make a good effort to look at electrical engineering graduate programs for robotics. It tipped off an early-20s existential crisis that ended with me in a science journalism masters program. I have never worked as a full time science journalist in any sense.

Most days I don’t have time to contemplate how my dreams changed from high-powered business owner to mom. I carry my son and chase my daughter, clean messes, and make dinner. I’ve moved with my military husband all over the country, which in itself would be enough to foil my childhood dream. Moment to moment, I’m happy.

The niggling little problem is when I talk to friends and family I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask a question that I’m coming to half-dread, “So, what’s new?” I can tell them about my husband’s job. (He’s loving being home with me and kids; not really digging office life.) I can tell them about my daughter’s days in preschool. (She can write her name!) I can tell them the new baby tricks J is mastering. (If he could lift his head up, he’d be crawling. Until then, he’s bulldozing.) But I honestly have nothing to say for myself. There is nothing new, and certainly nothing exciting.

Like so many moms, I struggle. I like being at home to see J grin at me when he wakes from his nap. I like, most of the time, to listen to H sing to her tiny princess figurines at one of their endless weddings. I know deep in my heart that I’d be unhappy if they were at day care. I know from experience that life in cube-land would not fulfill me. But none of that is an answer to what I’m going to do with two degrees that cost as much as a small house.

Part of my mid-mom crisis was to start this blog. And all 50 or so of my steadfast readers have certainly helped provide me with an outlet. But, despite harboring secret dreams of writer-dom, I know I am good, but with only moments of greatness. I continue to contemplate an Etsy shop for crocheted baby gear. It’ll probably never happen because I’m not actually an entrepreneur. (Yet another good reason for not opening that robotics firm.)

What I am passionate about is childbirth. I would like dearly to go to nursing school and become a midwife. Until we’re in a position where Josh is done flying and the kids are more self-sufficient, that isn’t going to happen. And I don’t really know where that leaves me.

Good bloggers have a goal they’re taking you to. There should be a cathartic summation that ties it together and leaves you feeling complete. I don’t have one for you today. I leave you instead with a question—how do you tell yourself that you’re doing one of the greatest, most important jobs on Earth on those days where it only seems like you’re marking time?


  1. I find myself on the other side of this hurdle right now--I'm one year out from having both boys in school full-time, leaving me with the question of what now? But believe me when I say I remember those days--I know it's hard in the moment, but keep in mind that three years (the approximate amount of time before you are where I am now) is a blink compared to the rest of your life. You have so much time to have a career as a midwife (or whatever else makes sense when you get there).

    If you remember correctly, I decided I was going to go to seminary when I was pregnant with Ben. For many reasons, I look back and say, "THANK GOD THAT DIDN'T WORK OUT THE WAY I PLANNED!" If I go back to school now, I know that I can do it with far less stress because the timing is so much better.

    Enjoy those babies. (I'm not saying you don't--it is very clear that you do.) Enjoy them. And to answer your question, I remind myself that Stan Lee didn't draw Spiderman until he was 43, Roget compiled the thesaurus at 70, Julia Childs learned to cook in her forties, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa at 76, Grandma Moses started painting at 76, and Mother Teresa established her "Missionaries of Charity" at 40.

    What you are doing matters, and you have so much time.

  2. A perspective on this that really helps me is to realize that God has granted you this great privilege to care for HIS children. They are on loan to us, to raise them with HIM in mind and to be good stewards and a blessing to all they encounter.
    One of the sermons at my church over Christmas time, really touched my heart as a mom. It was all about how Mary, the mother of Jesus had to come to realize she was merely a vessel to bring GOD to this world. He was not hers, no matter that she gave birth to him and raised him. HE was GOD's child. There was more to it than that.. but it left a big impact on me.
    We may not always do it right, or feel like we are doing the right thing, but we just have to look to HIM to guide us.


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