homegrown mama

Posts Tagged ‘career’

::On motherhood: we can’t do it all::

In family, military life on 20112011-11-14T16:02:21+00:0030 9/11 at 16:02

Being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) has been a popular topic lately. Some of my friends with babies are just beginning to go back to work, either part- or full-time. One thing I hear a lot from women who are going back to work is that they just aren’t “cut out” to be a SAHM. Some of these gals satiate their urge for adult interaction and a second income through home-based businesses, which allow them to earn money as a representative for direct sales companies (Tupperware, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, etc.). But many worked long and hard to get to a certain place in their career, and can’t bear the thought of giving that up. This is true especially if their absence from the workforce would cause them to fall back in their field while their co-workers excel.

Having been raised in a “me” society, where we all concentrate on bettering ourselves and our futures for the first 20 years of life, the sacrificial nature of motherhood seems alien, and downright self-destructive. After spending years in college, then doing the bottom-of-the-totem-pole jobs at work so we could move our way up to more influential positions, quitting to raise children doesn’t exactly make sense. After all, we were brought up to believe in ourselves, dream big, and aim for the stars! So while feminism has opened up a world of possibilities to women, the requirements of motherhood have not changed at all. And with the drive and determination we have been raised to employ, we think we can do it ALL!

Funny, before I had Heidi, I ignorantly assumed that staying home with my babies would be fun and full of laughter, and come naturally. And once she arrived, I had little energy to make myself a hot meal, let alone be concerned about how my team at work was doing without me. Besides, I was still getting paid on maternity leave, so instead of feeling stifled by my home life, I felt I was on somewhat of a sabbatical from work to spend time with my precious bundle.

But now that my position as “Domestic 9r” (as Wayne refers to me) has been secured with the arrival of bundle number two, I admit I’m getting some belated cold feet. How did I get myself into this? Didn’t we join the Forces so that our kids could have me home every day? Some women I know would kill for that opportunity! What gives?

What I’m learningvery, very slowlyis that my penchant for looking forward, making plans, and staying abreast of the industry (which, for me, is marketing and corporate communications) is drifting gradually into second place. I am beginning to understand that I am not capable of being a SAHM and keeping my brain at work. Wanting to do my best in everything means I can’t physically or emotionally give 100% to my family and 100% to the furthering of my career. So I have been forced to reevaluate my priorities, and to align my heart with my mind, so I can move forward with conviction and commitment to my chosen profession, which, right now, is motherhood. And just like the growth of my career, the successful development of my children will require almost all of me for an indefinite amount of time.

Honestly, I wonder if I would be as hesitant about mentally committing to full-time and long-term home life if we hadn’t been moved to a new province just after entering parenthood? If I had a familiar home, environment, and support system in place, would I feel such a need to go back to what I know professionally?

Not all military spouses stay at home, so not all of them feel as torn as I do. But I know my limits and I need to own them, or my family will suffer. I know this situation is exacerbated by Army life and its control over how and where we live and make a home. But either way, the sacrifices of parenthood are big. Really, really big. So if your spouse has given up more than a little to run your family, teach and lead your children, and make your house a home, give them an extra hug today and ask them how they’re feeling about it. You may not even know military life has impacted them in this way; they may not recognize it either. But approaching it together will do wonders for clarifying their role, their sense of appreciation, and your relationship.

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