In another life not that long ago, I had a great job. I loved that job. I was on a path. That path was going in only one direction – up. I worked hard in high school to get into a good college. I busted my butt in college to do well. I applied to every job under the sun because I couldn’t wait to get into the workforce and make my own money. After several jobs after college, I landed my dream job. I flourished with that company, and loved every minute of it. I even continued working after I had children.
Then the harsh reality came. I had always dreamed of being a stay at home mom. I felt unfulfilled not being the one involved in my kids’ day to day activities. As much as I loved my job and the path I had been on (essentially my whole life), I had to choose. It was a gut wrenching decision to stay home but it is one I’ll never regret.
Fast forward five years after making that decision, I’m at a crossroad again. What will my life look like in the years to come? I’m not sure I’m meant to be president of the PTO, although an invaluable job. Nor will or should my days be filled with shopping and lunch dates. What will the next chapter be for me?
I can’t help but think that moms have been faced with this challenge time and time again. When my mom was growing up, women rarely worked. They also spent the day ironing sheets and putting plastic on their furniture. That’s definitely not what I’m spending my day doing while my kids are at school. When I was young, my mom worked. That meant that I had limited after school activities because she wasn’t around to run me to and from places. I still want to be able to indulge my children in those luxuries that we have come to appreciate.
Speaking of those after school activities, one is more expensive than the next. Don’t even get me started on day camp! Life with three children is very expensive. I am a smart, capable, and a college graduate I should be able to help my family. How do I do that when I’ve been out of the workforce for as long as I have? How do I do that while still being so very needed at home?
I love the life that I lead. I love being able to help out at preschool, I love being present in my kids’ classrooms, I love carpooling my kids and their friends. I used to be a person separate from them though. Everything I mentioned that I love about my life has to do with my children. And honestly I would not change that. However, I used to be a person separate from them. I used to be a person who contributed to the world. I used to be a person who got dressed in something without elastic, put makeup on and talked to other adults about things that had nothing to do with kids. Is it wrong that I might want to do something that brings some of that back into my life now that my kids need me a little less? And if I do want to do that, what will that be? What does the next chapter look like?