(Disclaimer: These are my feelings and mine alone. I realize and respect that everyone is different and has different priorities. I am not a stay-at-home mom, and that is by choice. But I am first in line to respect those who do stay at home. Staying at home with your children is an amazing gift to their childhood. It is a difficult job, and one that deserves to be honored.)
I am two different people.
I have a career that I love. A career that has progressed and taken a direction I may not have originally envisioned when I was getting my journalism degree back in Ohio. I certainly never could have predicted that I’d be where I am today – in Arizona working in public relations. But I can honestly, whole-heartedly say that I wake up excited to go to work. That I feel like my job, at least partly, defines who I am.
If I’m being entirely honest, I might even admit that for many years, I said I would only be a career woman. That I very well might never get married, have a family, take the traditional road. I was desperate that a family or a title of “Mom” would never define me.
But then I met an awesome guy. A guy who had not only taken a similar education and career path as me, but who was also a family guy, through and through. And suddenly, career wasn’t everything anymore. It was second to building a life, a family, with that guy.
And so we got married, we had a baby. And now that baby is a full-blown kid. A kid who has a vice-grip on an enormous section of my heart. Maybe even a vice-grip on the whole darn thing. He is in the back of my mind every second of every day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
But he’s not everything. Someday, that kid is going to grow up. He will go to college – or maybe not – and when that happens… I still want to be me.
I want to be able to set him free, I want to be happy to let him go. Happy in the knowledge that I raised a good kid who is ready to face the world. If he chooses to move 2,000 miles away from me – as Mike and I both did – I want to be at peace knowing that he did it not to get away from us. That he did it because we instilled in him enough independence and self-sufficiency and confidence that he knew he could go someplace that truly made him happy and that he could build a life for himself.
And so I continue to focus not just on him, but also on myself. I try to push myself at my job. I get in early, and when I walk into work, I am one version of myself. I am consumed with projects and news releases and meetings and goals, and sometimes I am so busy I feel as though my head might spin right off my neck.
At the end of the day, I drive to daycare, peeking at my work email on my blackberry at every red light, because my professional perfectionist tendencies insist that I not miss a critical detail.
And then I walk into daycare.
And I catch sight of my son.
And he looks me straight in the eye, and a huge smile washes over his face. And my heart feels so full it might burst right out of my chest, and I realize that this is the moment I’ve been waiting for all day, even if I didn’t realize it while I was editing documents and making phone calls and replying to emails.
I forget about that blackberry for a few hours. Because now my goal is to get him to laugh, to teach him how to blow me a kiss, to toss him into the bathtub, so he can splash and throw toys over the side of the tub.
And I wonder what could possibly have seemed so important at work all day long. That none of it really matters in the grand scheme of life.
Until he goes down to sleep for the night. And I remember to check my email. And I discover there is an issue – an important one – that needs to be addressed right now. And a physical thing happens. Another part of my brain, of my body, takes over. And I get it done.
Because I am two different people.
(Like me? Wanna prove it, via Facebook? Hugs and kisses!)