Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not Losing Yourself

It should come as no surprise that I have a master plan for my life. It is something I try to keep in pencil, not too permanent and open for spontaneity and random suggestions... let's call it more of a draft outline of how things could go. As excited as I am to be starting a family, and as important as my family is to me, I have always vowed that no matter what, I will be true to all my dreams and this, of course, includes my career dreams. I have a ton of friends who get the pleasure and joy (and somethings the stress and anguish) of being able to stay at home with their children. I have obviously thought a time or two about whether I would want to stay at home, you know, assuming that were an option in the first place. My mom went back to work after she had Nathan, but when I came along it was more financially viable for her to stay home with us until we went off to school. With Nate, dad was working days and mom was working nights. On the one hand, she probably had easier shifts at the hospital, but I keep thinking how rotten that deal was for her. Stay up all night, then come home in time for your baby to get up and be awake. She obviously loved being a nurse, but I think she cherished the time she got with us when we were little. It does pull at my heartstrings a little (obviously not helped by the hostile hormone take-over of my body) to think about the fact that I might not be the primary person raising my child. Okay that is obviously a little dramatic. I work 40 hours a week. So between commuting and days I stay a little later, let's call it 50. That still gives me 118 hours of time outside of work with my kids. Obviously some of those we'll be sleeping, but it isn't like they won't know who I am. I can see the appeal of being able to stay home for the first five years with them, seeing all those new developments and photographing them like a papparazzo. And now that my hormones are doing wonderful things, all these crazy thoughts are going through my head. Yesterday I started feeling pretty guilty. Obviously this whole getting pregnant thing was mostly my idea. Andy definitely started getting excited about it, but I do think he would have been okay with never having kids. So I started feeling guilty for the fact that this was my idea and in essence I am pawning a lot of the child-rearing off on him. It was the perfect plan, he is in school, so spends the majority of the day at home except for a few hours when he has classes. We will only need childcare during that time. But I in essence volunteered Andy for this position. It isn't like he said 'hey let's have a kid and what if I raise it since I am at home most of the day?'. I don't think he feels taken advantage of or anything, and he said the other day, with some excitement, how he would be home with the baby (undoubtedly teaching him how to curse and the parts of the truck engine). But I still felt that guilt. I like my job. Maybe this particular one isn't my dream job, but I do enjoy what I do. A few things are going to be more difficult. The amount that I travel for work will most likely become an issue. Although Andy's mom traveled with him and would just find a daycare to watch him during the day. She said it was so nice to have him there after she got done with meetings and how she loved to be able to still put him to bed at night. I can do that. I can take nugget with me. But there are going to be times when traveling for work isn't going to work out so well. As you might imagine this job isn't in my long term master plan. Not because of kids either, but because of me. Because of my career dreams. As much fun as it is, I didn't get my master's degree in historic preservation to design and build brand new airports. I have thought a lot about my master plan. How I certainly could change it to include this job forever and I do love this company. I love my co-workers, especially the sweet office manager who has become like another mother to me. But I can't say a little piece of my heart doesn't hurt when I think about never doing what I really want with my career. I promised myself that I would still work towards that goal. I wanted to become a mother, but I also don't want to lose this love I have for being an architect and the desires I have to pursue a career in historic preservation. I know this love will change a little when nugget shows up. Nothing will ever be more important to me than Andy and nugget. But I promised myself that I would only give up on my career dreams if I absolutely wanted to. And as of now, I don't.  
So what am I going to do about it? How am I going to make all this happen for myself? Well first off, I had to give myself some more slack. At first my plan was to go go go. Undergrad, Masters, LEED, License, etc. But I have learned (the hard way) that when you spend so much time looking towards that next goal you miss out on life. So at first my next step was to start looking immediately for opportunities. As soon as I find what I really want to do, make the leap. But that's not too smart (and in this recession it isn't a reality anyway). Andy has two and a half years of undergrad left and then law school. So we're looking at another five and a half years of him being in school. In reality, I can't make a change before then. Unless there is a job that pays exactly the same or more obviously. But believe me, that isn't a reality. I decided the best way to fulfill my historic preservation needs was by getting involved in a volunteer capacity (did milk just shoot out of your nose when you hear about me taking on more activities in addition to being newly pregnant and about to enter my "unconscious" stage of pregnancy? If so, why the heck are you drinking milk and reading my blog? Grab a beer and/or glass of wine for Pete's sake. Think of Pete people!). I sent out messages to all the local and government agencies and Historic Colorado called me back! I have only had a couple of meetings with the historian I will be working with, but already there is a sense that I am moving towards that end goal, even if it is at a snale's pace. In the meantime, I am trying not to let the feeling of guilt get to me. I do have an extreme respect for women who are able to stay home with their children and although I always said I would go insane if I had to stay home, now that nugget is a reality, I am starting to wish that were an option. Balance in this respect is going to be ridiculously hard. Especially considering I have already started randomly tipping over for no good reason. I have always been a family first kind of girl, but I was also raised by an ridiculously strong and independent mother, who taught me it was okay to go for it all. Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars. (is anyone else thinking way too hard about this quote? I am sitting here thinking 'isn't it more likely if you miss the moon you're freakin' screwed?' nevermind just gobble up the inspirational message). Anyway the point of all this dribble is that I am going to try to do it all. At least for now. At least until I fall flat on my big ass in a few years. Then I will have to get out my industrial size eraser and start reworking the master plan.
So for all you mother's out there what is important to you? And how do you keep that in your sights in addition to being a great mom? For those out-to-get-preggo ladies: is there anything you are afraid of losing when you become a mom? (you know besides your mind.....sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I am quickly realizing that there is no stopping this one).


  1. I think it's great that you want to keep working towards your end goal, but don't forget to stop & smell the roses and enjoy all of the steps you take to get there (like this pregnancy).

    I currently hate my job, hate it, and am petrified that b/c of money I'll have to come back to it after I (hopefully) have a child. I don't necessarily want to be a SAHM, but I need to get working on that "dream job" thing too I think. I'm just afraid that money will dictate my happiness (i.e. staying in a job I hate to pay the bills), and then I remind myself that only I can make that choice. Things will work out somehow...

  2. BTW, another new layout? Fun!

  3. GREAT POST!!!! Here's the thing, when I had Laura I quickly realized that "nurse hours" were not a good option for me, especially brand-new, bottom-of-the-barrel, few-choices-in-when-you-work kind of hours that come in 12 hour chunks. So, for my family's sake I knew that I would have to figure something else out besides the "new hospital nurse mold" that was out there waiting for me easily in the job market. This meant I started my Mom life as a SAHM. That being said, I (like you) am a goal oriented, very driven, and busy person. So, when Laura was but a few months old (6-9mo when I started getting pretty busy) I started filling MY time back up. Enter teaching HypnoBirthing and Cake business. These are part time ventures for me, but still mean that I focus on something besides motherhood on a regular basis also. I LOVE motherhood, and I LOVE that I have the opportunity to be such a big part of my girls' lives, but just because the hours I am with them the most are between 8am-2pm doesn't mean that another Mom who spends wake-up to breakfast and then evening to bedtime with her kids Mon-Fri won't get to have the same quality and even quantity time focusing on them. In fact, sometimes I think these Moms are better at giving their kids quality attention during the time they have. The other part of this that I think is VERY important is that I think Moms need to maintain an identity outside just being Mom. Why? Because children grow, become more independent, and go to school. Yes, you can drag out the utter involvement in their lives through becomming involved in EVERY part of their life, but eventually they will probably move out, go to college, and even get married (I think we kind of hope for these happinesses for them right?) So, when this happens you will NEED to have something important in your life IN ADDITION to your children (not in place of, I understand this too). I have known of Moms that loose their self identity and this is no good either. I think that you will do what is best for your children, no ifs ands or buts. So, you will make sure that whoever is with your kids at anytime will do a great job taking care of them. Following your heart and your dreams will only make you a better person. You going back to work when he or she is a couple+ months old will be VERY hard, I am sure, but then you will all settle into the life that is meant for you and your family and I can guarantee you one thing, your kids will never doubt your love because you love openly, and they will have a strong, grounded woman to look up to through their lives. What could be better than that kind of woman as a Mom?

  4. Gosh darn it Katie. You already know how emotional I am and now you are making me cry? WTF? hehehe. I loved your response....and I love you.
    Josey, I am sorry your job isn't everything you want it to be. That is really tough especially because it looks to be a necessity for you guys too. You should always strive to find the dream job. It might take us both a decade or more to get there, but eventually it will happen. And the baby I am just praying starts baking any day now. As for the blog reformating, I am a wild woman. Watch out!. hahaha.