Dear Future Mother

When I was in college, I vowed to choose a career for me. A career that was fulfilling to my interests and would financially support myself and possibly a family someday.

However, I never once gave any thought to what that family would look like or what my career would entail if I ever had children.

Now that I have two children, I lament that I don’t have a career that is more flexible. If I could do it all over again, I would choose a career with more options than a typical year-round 9-5 schedule. I don’t know what that is – nursing or some other medical profession sounds appealing but I hate science. Teaching with summers off? Sounds great but I tried teaching for a year and it wasn’t for me. So I don’t really know what other path I would have chosen, but I yearn for a job that doesn’t require so much of my time or at least allows creative scheduling.

This goes against my feminist instinct that my career should be just as important as any man’s. And in theory it’s true. But the sad reality is that there are not enough hours in the day for two full time working parents to get everything done while trying to have a relationship with their children for a few hours in the evening. Something has to give. I’m not sure what that is yet since I’m still on maternity leave and we haven’t had to manage full time work with two kids.

I know I’m not cut out to be a stay at home mom but I would love more balance between work and home without sacrificing my career trajectory. And I wish I could tell my old self that motherhood would matter so much to me that the career I chose wasn’t just about me. And that it’s possible to still be a feminist and care deeply about these things.

So if you’re reading this and you still have time to decide on a career, think about the future and your possible family. I never would have guessed I would wish for more time at home while my husband works 60 hours a week. It just wouldn’t have seemed fair or equal and I would have lobbied for him to stay home more so I could have the option to work the same amount. Back then, I was obsessed with equality and the end of traditional gender roles. There are some realities – like who makes more money that college me never accounted for, including how much I need and want to be around my kids.

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2 thoughts on “Dear Future Mother

  1. I’ve had this same thought many times. I never really considered how my career would work after having a family. I just had a vague idea that it would all work out. Oh, naive college me.

  2. Right there with you. I have been back at work full time for 3 weeks. Baby and toddler are at home with the nanny daily and I work 7-3:30 M-F. It sucks. But I love my job and I doubly love my kids. It’s hard doing both. There are not enough hours in a day to do everything I have to do in addition to what I’d like to do. (Which doesn’t get done). It is a mad rush to make a relatively healthy dinner, bathe baby, put baby down, then dinner, put toddler down, wash a bazillion bottles and pump parts, pack lunches, pump, shower, then bed. Only to get up 2 hrs later to nurse and again 3-4 hrs after that. How do I do it? One day at a time. I have to remember he will sleep through the night sometime in the next 9 months! When I was in college I thought I would be the “power woman”–working full time and being a super mom with my kiddos, going to places, making everything from scratch (food and other things), etc. But alas, I feel pulled in two different directions. I try to give my kids ~100% of me when I’m home. Like you, I cannot afford to quit working full time…. Like I said, one day at a time–it sounds so cliche, but I can’t think too much or worry too much or I get overwhelmed and cry.

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