I am certain that my "traditional" upbringing and beliefs had a lot to do with my decisions about career and motherhood. I always wanted to be a stay at home mom. I did go to college and got a degree. I was a teacher of special needs preschoolers in the public school system (and a darn good one if I do say so myself) before I had my own children. That job was fulfilling and I honestly gave it my all. However, that job was just that - a job, not a career. I never intended to do it long term. It was a filler until I was able to do what I really wanted to do - be a stay at home mom.
I have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. They are currently 11, 9, and 6. I DO NOT regret my decision to make motherhood my
On the one hand, I hope they see that they are my everything. I hope they see that my world revolves around them and that there is absolutely nothing on this earth more important than loving them and teaching them and being with them. I am happy to be the classroom mom, and the mom who goes on field trips, and the mom who leads a middle school writing club because my time is not spent climbing proverbial ladders elsewhere.
On the other hand, though, I also want them to know that they can do ANYTHING they want to do. They can be architects or astronauts; doctors or chefs; lawyers or businesswomen; actresses or designers; engineers or teachers. I want them to know that there are no limitations on what they can achieve. I wonder, though, how will they know they can do anything when they see me, their #1 female role model, doing nothing. Nothing from a career perspective, at least.
If you ask my daughters what they want to be when they grow up, you will get three very different answers:
- The (vegetarian) 11 year old has said for a few years without faltering that she wants to be a zoologist. She is fully aware of the difference between a zoologist and veterinarian. She has even researched colleges with a veterinary program. Recently, she has also added the possibility of becoming and architect to her answer.
- The 9 year old wants to become a teacher. End of story. She comes home form school and goes to the playroom to play school. She shares every.single.detail of her day at school with me. She knows which college she plans to attend and which grade she wants to teach. And, she once told me that she actually doesn't want to be a mom because it's "too much work!"
- The youngest, 6, wants nothing more than to get married and have lots of kids. At last check, her plans included having about 20 children and purchasing a RV to take them places. She, at this point, has no "career" aspirations.
It certainly appears that they "get it." They know they have options other than "just being a mommy." They don't have to choose the same path I chose. But, still I wonder if they see (or will someday see) my lack of a formal career as an expectation of who they should be as adults as well.
I honestly have to say that, although I have certainly heard and read about the "Mommy Wars," the stay-at-home vs. working mother debate, it has never been a big factor in my life. I have never had a "war" with another mom about which choice is best.
The only "war" I've had about it is with myself. However, if I listen to what my daughters have to say about their futures, perhaps that internal war is unnecessary.
My most favorite post I have EVER written is called Lessons I Want To Teach My Daughters. Fourth on the list is this:
4) Do What Makes You Happy. If you want to play sports, play sports. If you want to play music, play music. If you want to be a doctor, study hard and be a doctor. If you want to be a teacher, give it your all and be a great teacher. Do what makes YOU happy - not what all your friends are doing; not what will earn you the biggest salary. Friends and money are worthless if you are miserable. Do what makes YOU happy; what brings you joy. You will receive rewards much greater than money or fame.
There's a great chance that my daughters' happy will be different from mine. There is a great chance that their path will be less traditional than the one I have chosen. Or, maybe it won't. Only time will tell.
In the end, what I really want my daughters to know is that they really can do anything they choose, whether that's having an illustrious, fast-paced career, being a stay at home mom, or finding happiness somewhere in between. The most important thing is that they have the courage to make the decision that is best for them and their future families -whatever that may be.
For some additional perspective on this topic and a comment thread that inspired my post today, check out this post from my blog friend and FTSF hostess, Stephanie!
This post was written as part of Finish The Sentence Friday. FTSF is hosted by some wonderful blogging ladies. Please give them a visit and check out all the other blogs that participate as well!
Janine at Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic
Stephanie at Mommy, for Real
Kristi at Finding Ninee