Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PYHO: It's Enough

For most of my adult life, I have defined myself in relationship to my career, and my career generously offered plenty of ways to occupy me.

As a teacher, there was always work to fill any void. I could spend as many hours as I wanted developing lessons, grading papers, reading professional journals, working on my Master’s degree, completing National Board certification, leading committees, mentoring new teachers, sponsoring a club, tutoring students, attending a workshop, presenting at a conference. The list could on and on.

I had the time. While most of my fellow teachers were balancing a full family life and a school job where the work is never done, I came home to two cats and lots of free time.

The pay-off was that I always felt I was moving up, growing. When things felt stagnant, I would make a change: take a new class, visit a new place, teach a new novel, develop a new project.

Then I had babies.

The way I defined myself changed.

I still had a job to do, but I had an even bigger job waiting when the work day ended.

Suddenly, conversations at work revolved around babies—sometimes because I brought them up but other times, because colleagues eagerly asked how life was going with twins.

Secretly, I sometimes resented being asked about babies before anything else.

Then there were promotions I didn’t get. There were job changes I wasn’t ready to make.

I had a nagging suspicion that being a mom played some part in the feeling that my career had just come to a screeching halt.

Where was the woman who was always moving up, doing more, going places?

Suddenly, I felt I was just doing what was expected.

I wondered if I should be doing something more.

Even in my personal life, I felt I was just being a mommy.

Marty offered to watch the babies two nights a week so I could have some time for myself, but I found that I wanted to just spend my time at home with him and the babies. Just—

That feeling that being a mom was just not enough nagged at me.

But, why?

Who said I had to do more at this point in my life?

I didn’t feel shortchanged when I spent those evening with my babies. Sometimes I felt tired. Sometimes I felt frustrated. Sometimes I needed a short respite. But I never felt shortchanged.

Who was telling me that I had to have more right now?

I was doing exactly what I wanted.

I was performing my dream job.

I had already received my promotion.

It took having a moment of clarity this week to settle this internal conflict I’ve felt for the last year.

I finally realized it’s enough.

Being a mommy is everything I ever dreamed it would be and more. It fills the void. It lifts me up. It is a key part of the new definition of me. It’s where I am now.

It is enough.

Today I am happy to (finally) link up with one of my favorite bloggers, Shell @ Things I Can't Say for her weekly Pour Your Heart Out feature. Thanks, Shell, for giving me the chance to pour my heart out about changing my definition of enough.


MommaKiss said...

Good for you - once you realize that it's "enough" you can actually enjoy the things going on, at least - that's how it happened to me.

Shell said...

I agree with MamaKiss. I think knowing this will see you enjoying it all more.

It's that pesky word "just" that makes us start doubting ourselves.

Mom on a Line said...

It is hard to get to this point. I'm working my way there and your story helped. Thanks.

Julia said...

I love this. I think it's okay to admit that being a mama is fulfilling and rewarding. Too often, I think there's this pressure to be something more, something better than a mama. To not let being a mama define you. BUT--Mama-ing is a lovely, beautiful, hard, rewarding job! And, while it shouldn't define us entirely, it certainly is a huge part of what defines us. To say nothing of how much it rocks your world become a parent, especially to TWO at once! It's okay to take satisfaction is growing and nurturing two human beings. That is most definitely enough! :) said...

YAY!!! The ending of this post makes me SO incredibly happy!! Happy for you, happy for those babies. Enjoy who you are today, even if it's "just" a mom. :)

Liz said...

Good for you! I teach and now that i have three all I want to do is be with them, while they still want me here. I wish I was able to!

Polish Mom Photographer said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing that. I've wanted to write a post about being a SAHM and not enjoying it because everybody around me (my parents and friends) are keep asking me if I ever will find a job, and if this is really fulfilling me. They won't stop!!! For my parents it's a cultural thing (I'm Polish). For my friends - hmmm - sometimes they act like they know better than me what's good for me. I really want it to stop!!! I just want to enjoy my life and my family in peace!

Jessica said...

Being a Mommy is the best thing ever and you are molding little babies to be adults one day, what job is better? I have struggled with things similar in my old job...I was a Customer Service Rep and was the only one in the WHOLE BUILDING including my BOSS that had a 4-year-degree but yet I couldn't get promoted for things I was totally qualified sucked and it was because of jealousy basically. I realized while I was pregnant that I was DONE, I was done wasting my degree at that particular job and I wanted to waste my degree at home with my! Never made a better decision in my life.

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

What a "heartfilled" HONEST post...good for you for just life, right now, where I am, what I am doing...IS enough! You are a very insightful, thought provoking lady!!

Becky Jane said...

I love it when moms love being a mom! I had a similar experience when I realized that being a mother was the most fulfilling and challenging thing i could do. It's been over 30 years and 11 kids, and I am still glad to be a mom!

Visiting from voiceBoks
Thanks, Becky Jane

Andrea said...

Another great post Melissa!! Thanks for sharing! :):)you are an awesome Mommy!

Holly Ann said...

I understand. Sometimes I feel a twinge of jealousy for my colleagues that do not have children and can therefore do all the "extras" and "move up," but then I remember that I'm living my dream. This is exactly what I wanted and if I had it to do all over again, I would.

jpattencoble said...

All I can say is that I am truly and genuinely proud of you! This was a wonderful read!

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