By Kristen D
I am a 32 year old new mother who is about to make a decision most women in the US are faced with. Do I go back to work or stay at home with my son or find something in between? It's a cross road in the middle of a woman's life that potentially shapes her future (her self, her family, her career, her lifestyle). For me, facing the decision is both liberating and paralyzing at the same time. I feel liberated by the fact that my husband and I are financially secure enough to be in a position where I am able to make this decision. I am sensitive to the fact that in today's economy this is not a choice at all for some women. I also feel liberated because a decision to stay home with my son and be a full time mom will allow me to do almost anything I set my mind to.
My husband and I are not wealthy, but we do live comfortable lif**e. I currently hold a Sr. management position at a large well known Biotech company. I make a 6 figure salary which is quite an increase to my starting salary of $24,000/year less than 10 years ago. I am not a extremely smart person. I attribute my success to solely to my dedication, commitment and hard work during my career. This I believe is one of the major reasons for the feeling of paralysis when I am faced with this decision. I gave so much of my heart and sole to being the best I could be in my career that **my job has defined who I am. How pathetic. I can honsetly say that I was proud of the "worker" I had become and somewhere during the last 10 years I have lost any other sense of myself. Without my career, I do not know how to answer questions such as (What's new?, What are you good at?, What are your interests and hobbies?) I truly was a GREAT worker and I liked it, but for many reasons, I know deep in my heart that if I can afford to stay home with my child, then that is the decision that is right for my family.
The decision to be a stay at home mom and take up new hobbies, volunteer your time to the community and spend time with your children sounds like the ideal situation for most mothers, but it is so scary for me. In the past month as I have been waffling with this decision, I have applied to nursing school (thought I'd go on to get a different type of education and use my free time from work wisely), bought a $1300 camera and 5 books on digitial photography and signed up for an online course (thought I'd start my own photography business), sent letters to every volunteer agency in my area (Red Cross, Tenafly Nature Center, Junior league, etc.), read Eat, Pray, Love and joined a local church, debated if I could become a government councel member in my community, bought bags of running clothes to prepare my self to run a marathon, bought hiking gear for me and my son, etc. etc. etc. I sit here today, with my head spinning. Besides the initial 5 minutes of exploring any of these ideas,** I have accomplished NOTHING**. It is obvious I am trying to find myself. I have the support of my husband and seemingly endless possibilities of what to do next with my life - and I just can't get it together. How pathetic.** Who am I?** What can I do to contribute to society, make a difference, and be the happiest most content person and best mom that I can be? I am about to take this cross road very seriously and as a 32 year old new mom - redefine myself. Maybe some of readers of this blog are also in this position. I don't often hear of many stories of the situation I am in. I'd appreciate any advice and hoping that there are others out there who are also sitting in paralysis trying to figure out who they will be for the 2nd half of their life.
I will capture my journey of redefining myself in this blog. Stay tuned. . . To be continued