Monday, February 15, 2010

When I Grow Up...

Do you ever feel like you're at a crossroads inside of a perfect life? How is it possible, I ask myself, to feel uncertain when I am doing what I most desire and have dreamed of since I was a child? I am a wife and a mother. There is nothing that makes me more proud than to say that I spend my days taking care of our family. Why then, do I sometimes ask myself if "this is it"?
G asked me THE question I have been (silently) avoiding/dreading for many years. "Mommy, which college did you graduate from?". He knows that Daddy went to the Naval Academy and realized at the UVA bookstore this weekend that he didn't know where I went to college. (Because we have made it the natural next step in education after high school, our children have yet to realize that college is a choice, not a requirement). Oh my how my heart fluttered with trepidation in that moment. My honest-to-goodness gut instinct was to pretend I hadn't heard him and distract him with a counter question regarding Star Wars. That would have thrown him off of the trail for a while but I knew, inevitably, that I would have to answer for my lack of a college Alma Mater. I stumbled over my answer, balancing my pride, ego and shame all in one sentence. He seemed satisfied (after pointing out that I am too old now to go anyway) and went back to shopping for tshirts. I had tears in my eyes on the drive home because I knew that my answer wasn't good enough for him because it has never been good enough for me. I quite. I am a quitter. I stopped because my life was messy at the time, I was distracted and self absorbed and didn't care to sit in a lecture hall with hundreds of other students knowing I had to work until midnight that very same night to pay for the same class I couldn't stand. It wasn't worth the effort and I have regretted that decision ever since.
H held my hand the entire way home. He knows how much this subject gets me. He has encouraged me time and time again to start over and to do it for myself. What would I do? Why go back if I know I will stay home anyway? I ask him. I feel like it is my responsibility as a mother to be here for the children we chose to have. And what about the deployments, long hours and work travel. What could I do that would allow me the flexibility I needed? H's next obvious question was-well, what is it you want to do? What will make you feel more satisfied? I have what I want! To be a mom! I say and around and around we go. It's not that I'm dissatisfied with "mothering". It's that I wonder if I should be doing MORE. Is it okay to go back to school if it takes time away from our children? If I fill myself with more of Him and less of me won't I feel complete? Do other Christian women, who try to live according to His desires for our lives, feel this way too? Is it really okay that I'm not college material or am I just taking the easy way out. Sometimes it seems easier to assume I can't do it than to actually do it.
I am a mother who deep down still dreams of being a kick-ass, gun carrying, life saving, bad-guy-getting agent of the law. I should be satisfied. Right?


Hirally said...

The sad thing about this kind of question is that no one can answer it but yourself.

I thought that I wanted to stay at home with my babies, but I learned that it wasn't for me and got over the guilt. And to my family I can truly say this is what is best for us. Being a Christian Woman doesn't mean that there is only one "true" path to mothering, it means following his plan for you. And I think that when we are not satisfied it is his way to either bring us full circle to help us realize we are currently doing what he still means for us to do or that is time to move on with the next phase of his plan.

But, I can see how hard this can be - there are many days that I struggle/question with my decisions, I think we all do at some level.

Paige said...

I battle with the EXACT same thing. I have 5 hours left to take and to me that is sad but I would have to drive an hour and a half to take them b/c of the specialized field they are in. Because of that I have thought about going and getting a different degree somewhere closer. Like you though I LOVE being a full time mom and wonder what good a degree would do me at this point in my life. My husband and I go round and round in our conversations about this all the time. Feel free to email me if you even need to chat, I am always up for it even if I don't have advice. I at least understand where you are. ;)

April said...

Love the comments girls!! Keep them coming!!
Hirally, I want to clarify b/c I would hate for you to think that I associate being a Christian with having to be a certain kind of mother. I think it's EXTREMELY personal how each family decides to divide work/family. I do not think that to be a Christian mother you must stay home with your children. Absolutely not as God designed us all differently!!
My point was that for me, as a Christian and a mom, the path that I am certain is intended for me does not leave me always feeling satisfied. I think you are right that I have to figure out if it's God nudging me in one direction for growth or another to be joyful and appreciative of what I am doing.
How can I be dissatisfied if I'm confident of my path? It's nice to hear that other women experience these feelings as well.

Hirally said...

No worries April - I don't think you apply that thinking to other christian women - but I sure did apply that thinking to myself for awhile. :)

Wendy said...

Getting your college degree and motherhood do not have to be mutually exclusive. If you want to go back to school as a edifying experience for YOU, do it! It doesn't have to be a path to employment outside the home--though it may later lead to it since your kids won't be young forever; it can be something you do because you're a curious, higly intelligent woman who is looking for more. I highly recommend you look into finishing your degree online. There are many excellent programs out there. Plus, having gotten my master's degree online, I'm pretty familiar with the format. People who write well do especially well in an online format, and you express yourself in writing extremely well. Getting your degree or just taking some classes in subjects that interest you, would be a natural for you. It does not have to get in the way of you mothering your kids. I got my master's degree before, during, and after our adoption of Lily while I was on leave from my teaching job for 2years. I did most of my work while she was napping. I loved my experience and met all kinds of great people from all over the world, some of whom I still keep in contact with today--and I still got to stay home with my baby!

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