Tuesday, August 20, 2013

do, be, good

This post has taken about a month to write.
It originally started when I saw this...

"I didn't always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be. -Diane Von Furstenberg
via Emily

this pretty much sums me up.
I still don't know what I want to "do"
but I know the kind of person I want to "be".
In a word I just want to be good.

I became a chemist not because I loved chemistry.
When I was in school they pushed my class to go into math and science.
I started college as an engineering major.
My plan was to become a pilot.
We all know how that turned out.
Then I took a chemistry class and admired my teacher so much that I switched majors.
Weird right?
I worked three jobs at one point to pay my own way.
Tuition, car insurance, car payment, rent, food.
The whole kit and caboodle.
I appreciate that fact now.
When I was in school struggling to make ends meet
{and keep my grades up}
I admit I wasn't so appreciative.
{best college job by the way was at a hotel as night desk clerk....
best grades ever because I could study when I wasn't helping someone}
But looking back on that time I have nothing to be but proud of myself.
That I pushed through when all I really wanted to do was give up.
But there was no choice really.
Everybody has to work right?

I graduated from a great school and started working immediately.
I was thankful to have a job.
One job.
Not a bunch of them like I did paying my way through college.
I worked as a chemist in industry for over a decade.
I'd always planned to continue working outside the home.
Then I had babies.
Two preemies to be exact.
That'll change life in an instant.

OK., so I took a break there for the night.
When I went back to writing I had planned to figure out where I was going.
Then I read this post on one of my favorite blogs...the silver pen.

You gotta click through and read it...
its a guest post of sorts called
"8 reasons to keep working after you have kids."

Interesting title.
I clicked through to read it.
I left a comment afterwards.
A short one.
Here's the long version I erased...

"I always thought I'd be a "working" mother.
Premature twin babies will change your priorities in an instant.
I have never worked harder in my whole life.
I don't get paid a dime.
Fine by me.
Lately I've read a lot of articles
about how great it is to be a "working mother"
being a mother whose work is inside the home without pay.
Last one I can remember was in a recent More magazine.
Why is there a need to debate this?
Who cares really?
To each their own.
Each is terrific and each sucks in its own way
yet has its downsides too. 
Does one have to be portrayed as being "better"
or can we as women just say
"good for you"
for the choice you've made.
Life is all about choices right?
I'm solid in being knowing that I made the right one for ME
to stay at home while my kids are little. 
It was the best thing for our family.
I'm not saying its the best choice for all families.
Just mine.
You make your choice.
I'll make mine.

Why do I stay at home?
Have a minute?
I know on my deathbed that I won't be lamenting the loss of a paycheck.
Heck, childcare isn't cheap...sometimes it can be a wash.
Yes I want to see my kids as much as I can
and be there for them when they need me.
What mom doesn't want that?
In the beginning there were monitors and alarms that would go off
and oxygen lines that they would pull out.
Keeping them on a schedule for them and for us.
In the beginning it was all about survival.
Now staying at home means
I'm there when they're throwing their tantrums etc.
and doing crazy things
 that might drive another person
who didn't give birth to them
to their breaking point.
I have trust issues.
{my friends would say I watch too much "nancy grace"}
That's just me.
I'm just doing the best I can.
I bet everybody else is too.

Most of my friends work outside the home
(both men and women so there goes #6 on that list)
At least one has admitted
that they feel like it makes them a better parent
to go to work every day outside the home.
Am I a better mom
than one who leaves their home for work
I stay at home with my kids?
You know why?
There is no "better" way to do it.
I don't care what any dang study says.
"Better" doesn't exist.
Parenthood is hard.
Stay at home.
I'm just trying to do my best.
I'm sure you are too."

told you it was the long version.

I'm teaching one of my guys how to tie his shoes.
You know there is more than one way to tie shoes.
Many ways in fact.
When my "rabbit ears" method didn't work for him
I you-tubed it to find a video of a different way.
Trust me there more ways than you can imagine.
Same thing with parenthood.
More ways than one to raise a kid.
You do what works for you.
I'll be doing my thing over here.
Let's meet up in 20 years to see how it all turns out.
Compare notes if you will.
If they all have jobs and are not in jail
we'll raise a glass and have a toast.

Until then can we please just get to the point
where we,
especially women,
stop judging each other's choices?
Especially when it comes to parenthood.

And can I just say this:
Nobody questions a man going to work if he has kids.
Nobody judges the man.
Let me just throw that bone out there.
Let somebody find the wherewithal to write an article about that.
Or better yet do a study on it.
Now that's some research I'd LOVE to read.

Let me wrap this up with a pretty little bow
and bring it back to my original idea.
My point was this...
I'm 42.
My kids will all be in school full time this fall.
I don't want to go back into chemistry.
I want to reinvent myself.
I don't know exactly what I am going to do.
Aside from trust issues I also am indecisive.
You probably already know that by now.
I don't know what I want to do.
I just want to do good and be good at whatever I do.
In the meantime I'm going to lean into my discomfort
and try to figure out what to become.
And I hope its good.

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