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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Career Mom on hold

Before I was a Mom, I had a career, and I still have a career, it's just not the one I had before.  I spent 21 years in school to have the professional career that I had wanted since I knew enough to know what a career was.  I had been involved in some of our nations biggest disasters providing critical incident stress debriefings, consultation and therapy.  People called me for information, for professional consults and advice.  I had been quoted in the newspaper as a professional.  I had some credibility.  Once I had a child, I felt like my brain went to mush and as if my career had been taken from me.  I felt like my identity had been taken from me.

I realize that a lot of my identity has to do with my career, with learning and with having some sort of mastery in a particular area.  Education is extremely important to me.  I never set out just to be a Mom.  I always wanted to be a Mom, but I just didn't want that to be my sole identity.   Don't get me wrong, I don't place judgement on those who solely want to be a Mom.  Being a Mom is an incredibly difficult, rewarding and challenging job.  My Mom was that Mom and she is a great Mom, although, I should mention that she was educated with a professional career as well.  She got to experience both sides.  She left her career when I came along and then my sister.  After that, her purpose was to be there for us.  For me, I always knew that I would need more.

However, with that being said, there is so much guilt that plagues me when I fantasize about going back to work.  I think women have it double hard today.  We basically can do and be anything we please.  We will be the more educated gender soon as we outnumber men in universities and colleges, we can make just as much if not more than men, we can support ourselves, we can have careers and positions that were once only open to men, but with this comes this awesome amount of guilt.   If I stay home with my daughter, I feel guilty for not fulfilling my professional goals and to take it a step further, I feel like I am taking our gender several steps back from all the progress we have made to be able to have all the opportunities we have today.  If I go back to work full time, I am not being there for my daughter and doing the things my Mother got to do for me.  I picked the middle of the road to work very part time and to do some volunteer work.   To give up a few years of my professional career is not so much in the big picture, if I go back to work more when she is in preschool.  I do know that I am fortunate to have the choice, but still it seems like it was much easier when women were just expected to stay home.  There were no judgements and there certainly wasn't as much guilt as there is today on both sides.

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