What I Have To Admit To You

As I spend a part of each day considering job openings, pondering career paths and dusting off my resume, it’s hard not to reflect, although purposefully briefly, on the big picture. What do I want in life? Where is this job going? Where could that one take me? What is my passion? These questions are enough to make an educated, married, twenty-something’s head spin Exorcist style. But after a conversation with the lovely Caitlin, who’s head is spinning in a similar manner, I realized this might not be *SHOCK* a problem exclusive to my crazy little realm. Girls of the world, let’s dish.

Every now and then you watch an Oprah about some wunderkind who started a charity at age 7 to send medical supplies to third world countries. Said child then began to pursue his/her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, a goal which they completed by age 24, the passion for which they never doubted or lost. And then you’ll read the blog of a witty woman who has children, and loves it, and loves them, and shows a true passion for motherhood and family life. And then you realize that while you want a career and look forward to a family, you don’t have that kind of passion for either. You never want to be CEO, you have no desire to be the president of the PTA. You aren’t lazy. You’re not a baby-hater. But you are also not a work-a-holic, nor do you have what they call ‘baby fever.’

The strangest part about these realizations is that I actually feel guilty over them. I feel guilty that I’m not completely driven with concrete goals for my current or future career. The time and resources invested in my education are still serving me well, and I’m proud of my accomplishments. But I don’t feel the need for a career to supplement my identity. I want a job that I love. I’d like to find a field I can excel within. I want to take pride in my work, but I never want a job that takes over my life. I want to feel satisfied with my role as a person, but I don’t think my occupation has to be the only way to find that satisfaction.

After meeting Dave, I started to warm up to the idea of my potential role as a mother. Having a uterus makes me eligible, but having an over-analytical, paranoid and slightly selfish soul made me hesitant to put kids on my radar. Luckily, my partner and I have the same timeline for our future family, but I still don’t have that gung-ho motherly instinct. And no matter how many people tell me ‘Just wait, it will come’, I know it never will. At least not in the way that I see it manifest in other women. I won’t be wearing clever t-shirts indicating the cuteness of the fetus I carry, and I don’t want cartoonish drawings of my family made into decals for the windows of my SUV. I will love my kids, I will change my ways, but I know myself (and the mother from whom I was born) to realize that motherhood for me will not mean a cracked-out, Kathy Lee-esque enthusiasm for all things widdle-baby or mommy-wommy. And sadly, somehow, these truths seem impossible to say in a room of women my age. So cowardly am I, I say it here instead.

I have nothing but love for those friends of my who are incredibly dedicated and extremely successful at their careers. I am so happy for those of my friends who have found a wonderful niche in motherhood. I am in awe of those who manage to have a drive and force that fuels passion for both. But I’ve reached a point, a moment, a corner. And what I have decided is that I don’t have to meet the expectations of my friends, family, society, or Utopian feminist fantasies. I have hopes for the future, plans to execute, places to go. And the lack of specific drive that I have for career or child-rearing funnels directly to another place (near my spleen?) and translates into a general passion for life. I want to be happy, safe, fulfilled. I want to be well-rounded, well-read, well-travelled. I want to spread myself thin enough that I can cover all kinds of interests, thin enough that light shines through, thin enough that I can still fit in my wedding dress someday in the distant future. And mostly, I want to be able to say all this without shame or fear of eye-rolling, without hesitation and concern for the disappointment of others. I want to say it and have my loved ones know that I am not judging them…and hope that this makes them feel free enough not to judge me. It’s hokey, it’s idealistic, and probably overly simplistic. Exactly the way I want it.

The bottom line of what I want to say is this: I can’t do it all. I can’t have the ambitious, ferocious career and the Donna Reid, Martha Stewart home life. Can’t do it, don’t want it. I want to wake up in the morning ready to give ‘er, not needing a pep talk and some uppers just to find the time to smile. Can I find this? We shall see. To be continued…

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6 thoughts on “What I Have To Admit To You

  1. Whatever you decide, I know it will be well thought out and well executed. You are one of the most level headed women I know. Xoxo.

  2. Amen! I got a lot of strange looks when I said that I just wanted a job that I felt good about doing and gave me time to do my own thing outside of the job. But I truly believe my honesty about this in the interview helped me get this job. Is it somewhere I want to be for the rest of my life? No. Is it going to lead to a promotion? I don’t know and actually, I don’t care if it does. I think people think I’m too young to feel this way – like I should be more ambitious and a real go-getter. Or if I’m not, I should be on my way to having babies. There seems to be no in-between area and that’s the problem. Is that all I’m good for? A high profile career or a house full of kids?I’m interested to see what others say. I think the saddest thing about all this is that we’re judged mostly by other women.

  3. Oh Lane and Caitlin, I could just kiss you guys! I have resigned myself to just smiling and keeping my mouth shut for the most part, because I do not have the desire to have kids nor do I a passionate career. Why are women so mean to each other!? Why can’t I just live and be happy and let it be.

  4. Wow, you have yet again managed to articulate what we are all really thinking – good work. I’ve been in my job for 8 years. Do I want my boss’s job – no. Would it be slightly more money? Yeah. Less time to do the things I actually want to do in life before I am old and crumbly? Heck yeah. Everyone has a point at which more money doesn’t mean a better quality of life. Mine’s pretty low because I like simple things. Don’t feel too bad about not wanting a dozen kids or a power career… I feel sorry for people who need those things to be ‘complete’. :)PS Dave’s right, you should be writing for magazines.

  5. Excellent post! I have found that I to feel that same way! Why have a career that you absolutely hate??? Most of the time when ‘ambitions’ exceed expectations, that’s what happens … we don’t really do what we want because we feel the need to define ‘success’ by what the world defines ‘success’ as … and well, that’s lots of money! I say, find that ONE thing you love, no matter what it is, grasp hold of it, and then do it well forever!!! And well kids … that’s another story. I’ve never really felt ‘motherly’ enough … even now … I’ve been married for almost eight years, and I still am hesitant! I have to agree with ‘Caitlin’ when she says it’s one or the other; a career or kids … no in between … yet honestly, I think we can have both, if we really want both, ya know? You’re an amazing writer and I can imagine that your creativity and beauty will shine in whatever you do! Good luck to you!

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