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My mom has always had a strong work ethic. She thrives in the work environment. She's been climbing the corporate ladder and kicking butt all along the way for as long as I can remember. My mother-in-law has also never been without a job. Both of my sisters are mothers and teachers, balancing work life and family life. Basically all the women in my family work outside of the home while caring for families at home. Except me.
I didn't plan on being a stay-at-home mom. It just kind of happened. We found out I was pregnant in the middle of a cross-country move from North Carolina to Colorado. I had recently graduated with a Master's degree in Counseling and had all kinds of hopes and dreams for a career. But we were moving and I looked around for different jobs in our new city, but nothing panned out. As my belly grew larger I started thinking that I should just embrace this time in my life and do the stay-at-home mom thing.
So I made the baby my focus. I prepared the nursery and read baby books and prayed for the huge change that was about to occur in our lives. Being a stay-at-home mom hasn't been everything I thought it would be, but it has been pretty great. I wouldn't change the past four years for anything in the world. I have loved being the main caretaker for my children. I have put my career aspirations on the back burner, but I really haven't minded. I have found new dreams and aspirations. New goals.
I didn't grow up with the mentality that being "just a mom" was enough. I was told that I could do and be anything. I was told to achieve great things.
But we're getting to a point now where my kids are getting older and starting school and our finances are in need of some supplementation. And I'm wondering how long I can keep this gig going. I have found something else to fill my time in freelance writing, and I am incredibly thankful. But still, my main gig is motherhood. So far writing isn't providing me with full-time work and I find myself at a crossroads. Do I seek out full-time employment or do I keep my stay-at-home mom status?
I didn't grow up with the mentality that being "just a mom" was enough. I was told that I could do and be anything. I was told to achieve great things. I was told to put off being a wife and mother, though I obviously didn't listen as I got married right out of college and had kids right out of grad school. I remember reading an article once by a woman who said her dream in life was to be a mom. She didn't care about having a job or building a career, she just wanted to mother, and that being a mom is enough. I wondered. Could that be me? Could I be truly fulfilled with only mothering my children? But if I am going to be just a mom shouldn't I do more? You know, like, homeschooling and meal planning and that sort of thing?
I'm surrounded by incredibly talented people doing incredibly fun things in their work life. They're taking risks, starting businesses, getting promoted, finding their passions. It's exciting to witness and I cheer them on along the way. When I see them I start to wonder again. Should I be doing that? Could I be fulfilled in the work world? Can I hack it after four years of being away from the work environment? But if I'm going to go back to work shouldn't I find where my true passions lie? Shouldn't I be more educated or have some more hustle in me?
I think the answer to the question, "is being just a mom enough?" is different for every woman. It probably changes over time depending on the circumstances of your personal life. For me, I'm still figuring it out, but I know that for now, it's enough.