Sunday, January 15, 2012

30 Million Day Blog Challenge #8: Having Kids Changes Everything. Duh.

This next 30 (million) day blog challenge prompt is: A picture of someone or something that has the biggest impact on you.


Behold!  My kids.



Once upon  a time, I went to law school.  It was the first step in climbing the corporate ladder, and plugging away at my so-called "5-year-plan."

Then life happened.

Now I stay at home with my two children. I didn’t plan on this five years ago.  

Motherhood was to be put off until I was securely and comfortably established in a high-power career.  This would satisfy my unerring sense of drive and craving for self-worth. It would allow me to provide my children with the very best of everything tangible and impressive.

I thought it was the right thing to do.

It was the wrong thing to do.

My pregnancies were surprises, the most terrifying and extraordinary surprises of my life. I worked hard to be a big, important person; a high-stakes player in the legal world. Instead I became a big, important person to two small, impressionable, dependent human beings.  

After three years of trying to balance my family-life and work-life, it became clear that I had reached a cross-roads.  I couldn’t keep working at such a frantic pace, trying to do it all at once.  And my own self-image was slowly morphing. The so-called great, big, important career was no longer so great and big and important.  

I left my job when we moved back to Wisconsin.  It caused a significant hit to our household income.  It caused a significant set-back to my career.  But I could provide more for my children at home, than I could spending all my time at work bringing in the bacon for them to eat without me, as I burned the midnight oil.

The legal profession is often symbolized by a scale, weighing justice versus mercy. But there is no true way to know before starting a family how you will balance your career with your family time. When is it just to be at work? Or at home?  When can you show mercy, allowing your heart to rest at home with your family? Or do you allow your mind the mental break and space to build a career outside the home? It’s an ever-sliding scale, with the weights constantly moving from one end to the other.

I can’t always gauge whether my scale had balanced.  But I can listen to my heart.

It’s the right thing to do.


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20 comments:

Lizbeth said...

That was the hardest thing I had to do with my career---leave it. Now I wouldn't have it any other way but I do wish there was an older version of me that could have gone back and told the younger me that it would all work out. Maybe not the way I had planned, but it would work out.

Lindsay Schultz said...

So beautiful!

Fox in the City said...

Oh my, your girls are so beautiful!

Good for you for following your heart and doing what you felt was best for your little family. :)
Jenn

bettyfokker said...

I kissed any hope of a career goodbye when I went into SAHP mode. I would do it again, in a heartbeat. But I really wish we were like Europe where women can take 2 YEARS off and get their old jobs back. I have three daughters. They might want kids one day. We are seriously thinking of moving to the UK so they will have more opportunies as mothers.

Vapid Vixen said...

That took a lot of guts to do that. My Mom sacrificed and was a stay at home Mom for me and my 3 siblings. I had the best childhood any kid could want and I'll love her forever for it. Your girls will too. Who, by the way, are absolutely adorable.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Lizbeth - there's a lot of things the older me would go back to tell the younger me if she could :)

@Lindsay - thanks :)

@Fox in the city - thank you!

@bettyfokker - America is so backwards in the parental leave department.

@Vapid Vixen - I may head back to work in the future, but I know I'll never regret the time I have now with my girls.

Joshua said...

Declining law school was probably the best decision I made in 2006. It was mostly market based, but it turned out for the best.

Marianna Annadanna said...

Wow I LOVE this post. Beautiful. You sound like me :) No wonder we're friends. So far I'm doing the career stuff, and kids will hopefully come soon. But I'm trying to find balance.

Angela@BeggingTheAnswer said...

@Joshua - the job market for attorneys is still glutted (at least in my neck of the woods.)

@Marianna - I love that we're friends :) Balance has never come easy to me either.

January Dawn said...

Follow your heart and I believe you can't go wrong. Great decision, great post. Your little girls are so sweet.

lindsayfield said...

I would love to have had the opportunity to stay home with my boys before they went to school, especially. It takes a special type of person to be able to do that. I have MUCH respect for SAHM/D's and to this day think it's one of the hardest jobs on the planet.
As for the working world? It will be there ...

Janie Jones said...

What a touching post! It's so heartwarming to hear things work out for the best.

Andrea @ The Penny-Roach's said...

I think it's wonderful that you can stay home with your kids. Whatever makes you and your family happy is the right thing to do :)

Ado said...

Cheering you on from the sidelines, here!
Well-done, bravo, mama! Our society "grades" us too much - and then we grade ourselves - according to income, career etc. - when really, the best judges are our children's hugs and their time.

Jackie said...

That image of the scale really hit me- trying to find that perfect balance. Good for you for realizing what works!

Lydia said...

I think you spoke this best where you said you became "a big, important person to two small, impressionable, dependent human beings." I mean the other stuff is awesome but as a stay at home mom myself, I have never had a position that felt more important (also scary and rewarding) then the one I have now. Loved this.

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

The years when our children are born and grow up to be little people? Are years that cannot be relived, once missed. I think you made a momentous, important and right decision. Bravo!

Jamie said...

When we make plans and then it turns out nearly the opposite.... it reminds me why I shouldn't make plans!! Beautiful girls!

Kindred Adventures said...

That must have been one of the hardest decisions you ever made. Being a working mom can give you a certain definition. You leave the house for a period of time everyday and you are not mom you are the person who does this job and has her own goals. Even as we try to maintain that balance it is incredibly tough. I feel lucky that I teach. The hours are reasonable and I get summers off. Those bonuses off set the hard part of going to work everyday. I do not know if anyone really has the answer. We do the best we can. I know when I am home during the summer I get a sense of what it would be like to be a stay at home mom and that job is equally as hard and can be very lonely. Being a mom is a tough job. I think we second guess ourselves a lot, but we just make the best decisions we can and move forward. Good luck momma. You have two very lucky girls!! -LV

Carmen said...

your girls are beautiful :-) as are you!