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?