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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.

13 comments:

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! :)

finallyMom@blogspot.com 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 for...it 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 baby...lol! Never made a better decision in my life.

Just Another Mom of Twins said...

What a "heartfilled" HONEST post...good for you for just saying...my 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
http://riseaboveyourlimits.blogspot.com/

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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