We were sitting at our beat up kitchen table munching on PB&J’s and Goldfish around noon on an entirely average day. Miss Magnificent was filling the room with her word quota for the hour when she said, “Mommy, I want to be a teacher when I grow up.” This was not news to me – there is a certain, shall we say, bossy gene that I generously bestowed upon her sandy blonde little head, apparently – and being a teacher seems like the best way to scratch that itch. I get it. I nodded and said that I thought she’d be a very good teacher. She paused, very uncharacteristically, just for a moment and then said, “Wait, but I want to be a mommy, too. How can I be a teacher AND a mommy?!” It was very puzzling to her, this idea of being in charge and working to lead a group of people AND staying at home to do whatever in the heck it is Mommies do. I said something about God showing her exactly what to do and when to do it and not needing to worry about that right now.
The truth is, I struggle with this very same conundrum. My whole life it’s like there were these two sides of me – the side that got up and went to work and set goals and led AND the side of me that stayed home and cuddled babies and cooked dinner and, well, led. Admittedly, the stay home side was always stronger and upon having babies, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that me being home is exactly right for our family. I am in no way trying to presume what is right for yours. All the same, that other side didn’t just go away. She is still in there itching to get out. To don a classy, feminine suit that would pretty much knock you to your knees. To get up every morning and go to a place where people notice my work and I can achieve tangible goals on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis. I have found myself daydreaming about working me in all sorts of careers. A kick butt surgeon [thanks to Grey’s which is a totally accurate depiction of real life surgeons, no?], an editor [what if you got to read books for a living?], a corporate manager [how very fun it would be to boss, ahem, lead grown ups], OR I could lose the fancy suit and office and trade it for really quirky but classy clothes and be a full-time-work-from-a-coffee-shop-writer. You like how my outfit matters in all of this, don’t you? Mostly I work wearing something with coffee, spit-up, or snot on my boob:
You can see why fantasizing about pretty clothes and doing my make-up every day is a thing.
The reality is that I do not nor will I be working in any of those situations – probably ever – and I must continue to choose to see the value in what I do every day and rest in what I know God has called ME to do. You don’t have to tell me of it’s importance or how blessed I am to be ABLE to do it. I have a mama who was home through my entire childhood…I seriously get how valuable it is. I am TOTALLY grateful! I’m not offering up a fix for this little problemo. I don’t actually think there’s anything to be offered. The tricky dichotomy of being a woman in our culture just…is. I wanted you all to know that whether you are a stay at home mom or you work outside of the home, there is no perfect answer. Everyone is sacrificing something. Most women feel a pull in the direction that they are not leaning into, at least every now and again. How about we endeavor to encourage each other lavishly instead of pick each other apart? I’m all in if you are!