When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I knew I wanted to be all kinds of things like a teacher, an artist, a travel agent, own a store, maybe even a lawyer, and at a local pageant in high school, I even mentioned in a speech about wanting to be a private investigator. But way deep down, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. At 17 years old, who is really going to say that when asked what their plans are after high school? These days you don’t hear that as the front running goal of many girls or women who are achieving their education and making plans for future jobs. It is just understood that motherhood would come “later”. When exactly is later? Well, once we get finished with school, and internships, and settled into our jobs for a few years, then focus on a family, because that was the plan, right? Do all of these things first, and then do that.
Well, I did the schooling thing, and lots of it. Attended a big state university, a college technical school, a business school, beauty school, and even taking online courses made for working professionals a handful of years later. Which I have to admit, was totally amazing, but that’s for another story. In between and during those school endeavors, I decided to work here and there until I would hopefully find my thing. Dozens of different jobs, working in hospitality, at restaurants, being travel staff in the Bahamas, as a salon stylist, years of retail and even at one point was a professional gift wrapper in a real classy department store. But never quite found the right fit for a “career”. In all honesty, especially looking back as hindsight is mostly 20/20, as much as I wanted to have it, I was also terrified of finding it. For about a decade or so of trying out many different kinds of jobs, while attending various kinds of schools, I still felt like there was something bigger that I was missing. Nothing ever quite felt fulfilling or like my “purpose” that people talk about. Until that “thing” found me at the age of 30. Nine months later, I was fully immersed in full-time, round the clock, no training, thrown into the deep end of my new career called motherhood.
Now, keep in mind, I had maybe held a baby twice in my adult life. So… this got really interesting, really fast. The first week or two was going actually pretty good considering I had a C-section and had extra help. But eventually I was on my own. It was just me and her in a daily showdown of who’s more exhausted, impatient, crabby, and counting down the minutes until Dad got home, to rescue us BOTH. No lie, after about a month of this I wondered why I couldn’t stick to the plan years ago of having that amazing career so I could go back to after a maternity leave. There were some days the thought of having to do this day in and day out for the next several years was probably going to break me.
I know. I know, this sounds like motherhood, and I don’t get along. But on the contrary, motherhood was exactly what I had been looking for all of those years, and also very much needed in my life. Motherhood is HARD…..like crazy hard. It is tiring, to the point of crying like the baby yourself. It is emotional, like being tossed around in a blender of emojis, never knowing when it is going start or stop. Sometimes the hardest things are the things you need the most. And the things that you resist doing, are exactly what you should be doing.
If I did have that long-awaited and worked for career, I would’ve tried my very best to succeed in my work. Doing all of the things that would made me proud of the path I chose. So why should this at home career of mine be any different? I should do my best at the tasks I have at hand, just like I would for any other boss. So by the time I had baby number 2, I was WAY better at my job. No kidding, it took a while to break some long habits of my pre-mom life. Even though I wasn’t a morning person, well now I needed to be an any time of day or night person. I used to only do laundry once a week, now I do laundry a couple of times a day. We could continue on making analogies of house chores, but I think you get where I’m going with this.
After a few years of pretty much having the hang of things, I fell into boredom. The day in and day out routine felt like groundhogs’ day every day. I can’t tell you how many times I looked in the mirror and didn’t quite know who was staring back at me. I had become a Momaholic, and my “career” was everything and many days the ONLY thing. I realized I was just going through the motions each day, and I had to find the joy in it, or it would leave me in a place of resentment. So, I embarked on a journey to find a new perspective. Ironically this journey came about the time I was turning 40. This sounds quick and easy, but it’s not. It takes some very trusting friends you can talk to, and some time spent willing to dive deep within yourself and face some hard truths. I didn’t need a new career or flee from this one, I needed to change my mind and my feelings about what it really was I did every day. I stumbled upon an online coach, who said to, “Find the message in the mess”. And to stop focusing on what you don’t have and be grateful for what you do have. And you will start to see the shifts. I took this advice to heart.
Do I just have laundry to wash? NO. I have an abundant pile of clothes that I am blessed to own and wear that make me feel good. I have enough clothes for my kids to wear so will never be cold. I have water freely flowing into my house, into a machine, that actually washes it for me. Before I only saw the laundry as another chore, like the cooking, the cleaning, the feedings, and the seemingly endless diaper changes. I just couldn’t see beyond what I felt were giant daily messes to be able receive the wonderful and positive messages that were right in front of me.
And now, thinking back to all of the things I wanted to be when I grew up, I actually got them all in one amazing career and didn’t even know it.
- A teacher to my kids for all kind of subjects, but my favorite one being life lessons.
- An artist with many crafting, drawing, and painting projects together with them.
- A travel agent, ok, it’s not quite the same, but who else coordinates their rides and activities?
- A store owner. Kind of have that covered, thank goodness for the flexibility of e-commerce and social media.
- A lawyer often sorting through evidence on the popular case of Tattletail v. Tattletail
- And my personal favorite goes back to the speech about being the private investigator. Looking for, and finding clues that lead to the next, only to reveal another. The messages really are in the mess, and one will always lead to another. It all depends on if you are willing to look. Stay curious!
Funny, this career of mine is entangled with all kinds of my favorite things, not mention the people who I love so much. And that is a hard thing to come by in most professions. So, I guess I did grow up to be everything I wanted to be. Even though in the beginning I was pretty much convinced this motherhood thing was going to completely wreck me…. it actually came to correct me.
2 thoughts on “How Motherhood became my ideal career”
That was a great read. It’s important to be grateful instead of worrying about what you don’t have, but it’s sooo hard. I’ve been trying to be more mindful every day and this was a great reminder.
Sounds like more than a full time job to me!