Who I am vs. who I’m “supposed” to be.

So. It finally happened.

I was on the phone, today, with a deceptively-kind-sounding salesman, when he said something that revealed the wolf beneath his sheep’s clothing.  He asked me what I ‘do,’ and I replied that I’m a stay-at-home-mom. This guy replies, “Ah, one of those ‘domestic engineers,’ eh? I laughed for about 15 minutes the first time I heard that one!”

Wait.

15 minutes? It’s not that funny. And not all that far from the truth.

Perhaps I was already on edge after reading an article that an acquaintance posted on the lovely Facebook (if you must read it, you can find it here). The gist of said article is that women who choose not to chase after a career for fulfillment are inferior to women who do.

Say what?! Oh no, she didn’t! (But yeah, she really, really did.)

So here’s this poor guy who’s just said exactly the wrong thing to me at exactly the wrong time. Only, I’ve never been faced with this situation before and never even considered how I would handle it because it wasn’t until reading this stupid article that I realized people actually still feel this way.

What a slap in the face. First, some lady writes some obnoxious article arguing that the role I chose to take on in my family contributes nothing to society, and then this guy, this stranger whom I have never spoken with before, laughs at the term ‘domestic engineer,’ as if to say, “Why on earth would you compare something that doesn’t require a college degree to something that someone without a college degree couldn’t possibly have the aptitude to understand?”

Wait, wait, wait… Let me give you some background information.

I got my discharge papers in the mail yesterday. My attempt to go back to school courtesy of the United States Army collapsed around me in the wake of a surprise pregnancy.  And BAM: the unspoken-of, not-so-happy ending to that story arrives yesterday via certified mail.  I am no longer a member of the military. My bonus? Gone. My GI Bill? Nope. That 97 I scored on the ASVAB? Doesn’t. Mean. Shit.

So the message that I’m some sort of failure isn’t just coming from all around me.

If I’m 100% honest, it’s coming from within me, too.

I am so disappointed in myself.  I am such an intelligent woman… I have test scores out the wazoo to prove it. So why the hell can’t I finish anything I start? Why can’t I be that person who powers through college and walks away with a diploma to show for it?

The truth is, it just doesn’t matter enough to me… And the reward isn’t worth the risk. What I’m afraid of (and I think many men and women of my generation can relate) is taking out loans, investing four to six years of my time, doing everything everyone has told me I “need” to do to get ahead – and coming out with a job that pays just over minimum wage. Or, worse, not being able to find a job at all.

There are five or six things I think I would enjoy doing, but the only thing I have ever known I needed to do, the only thing I’ve ever felt called to do, was to be a mother.  I know I’m capable of graduating college.  I just can’t bring myself to give so much to something that matters so little to me. I’ve never been a career-minded person. I’ve always felt most alive with family.

I don’t know that I need to justify this to anyone else. After feeling angry over the whole deal for a couple of hours, I decided Ms. Amy Glass and Mr. Salesman-guy can suck it.

Sadly, I do feel like I need to justify it to myself.

So:

Dear Lindsay,

You are doing something so very worthwhile.  If you need a reminder, just look at the man who’s closest to you – look at the hurt he’s suffered at the hands of a woman who should have made sure he only ever knew what it felt like to be loved.  This world needs more mommies.  Its children need hugs when they’re afraid. They need someone to take their picture, so they know they’re worth remembering. Someone who will stop anything she is doing at any time to make whatever is wrong, right. They need someone to accept them just as they are, wherever they may be. They need to know that, yes, they can make mistakes, and yes, they are still worth loving. Someone in their lives has to take the time to create opportunities for memory-making. Someone has to perfect the art of making a house a home. Someone has to be patient enough to recognize that even though all of the little things she’s doing can sometimes feel like ‘nothing,’ together they add up to something really, really important…

…Love.

I know that sometimes you feel like no one sees the things that you do. No one recognizes the value in the person who washes the dishes and does the laundry and makes the beds and cooks the meals. No one sees the sacrifices you make for your mission, your goal.

But God does.

Please know that everything He’s brought you through up until this point has prepared you for this, and you will not fail. This is what you were created to do. Sometimes you wish you were one of ‘those’ people, and that’s okay. Go ahead and let yourself feel that way if you must. But after you’ve felt it, let it go. You are right where you need to be.

Maybe the people you’ve loved will, one day, recognize just how much of yourself you’ve given. But probably, they will never fully understand.  And that’s okay, too. What you are doing has a forever impact. An eternal impact. For now, make peace with not always being able to see the big picture. And quit trying to change your ‘stripes.’ You are more than enough.

Hugs and kisses,

Me

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Who I am vs. who I’m “supposed” to be.

  1. This is a great post. Being a mother is such a worthwhile adventure! I think your reasons make sense (about the whole college thing)…my younger brother just graduated from college with a huge load of debt and was telling me about how so many of his friends can’t get jobs after all the hard work they went through. My husband does not have a college degree but has been able to attain a good job, he simply worked his way up the good old fashioned way and now he is in management. Still, he will willingly walk away from it all to be a stay at home dad this September. And we are excited about that! Be encouraged, you can do whatever you want to do but you are choosing to do something so powerful and beautiful – be a mother. As a teacher in a low income district, I see lots and lots of crappy parents.
    The world needs more good ones like you. Be blessed!

    Like

    • That’s so scary! I have so many friends who’ve graduated and not been able to find work. Or work at jobs that pay less than what I was making at my full-time job, before. I know this kinda turned into a rant (wrote this on very little sleep!) but I have the toughest time stomaching that what I love to do isn’t ‘good enough’ in some people’s eyes. Also, thank you for what you do! Teachers have such a HUGE impact on their students’ lives (idk about you, but I remember every teacher I’ve ever had!). I imagine it must be so hard not to bring all of that home with you…

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  2. You are right. You are doing the best you can with what you have. That doesn’t mean you will be in the same place five years from now, and if you are because its where you want to be, that’s fine too. Hugs!

    Like

  3. Oh, I can understand so many of those feelings. Trust me when I say that as long as you’re not “working” a “job,” you can expect regular disgust, contempt, and disparaging commentary from others. Additionally, some of those comments will be an attempt to cloak jealousy and fear.
    My own advice to you (that you didn’t ask for) is that you not attempt full-time classes until you’re able to eat a hot meal on a daily basis, whenever that day may come.
    You are obviously a bright, devoted mother, and that counts for a lot more than any paper.
    And thank you for your service.

    Like

    • It just blows my mind that such intolerance still exists! I mean… Gah. If I expand on this any further, I’m gonna go off on another rant. But seriously… WTH?! Why can’t we all just be friends?? 😦
      I’m, unfortunately, definitely not ready to go back to school… I’m still working on the ‘hot meal’ thing, but getting better about managing the house, keeping it clean (or at least picked up :P) and getting a meal on the table every night. I’m thinking about maybe taking a class in the fall? I know taking one class at a time won’t be very effective, but at least I’d FEEL like I was doing something, hehe. The crazy part is, part of me wants to figure out how and when I’ll be getting back in school, then this other part of me is like, “Wait… But what about making more babies?” *sigh*

      Like

      • Oh, no, I wasn’t implying you should jump back in! Not at all. I only said that because so many mommies are feeling the pressure to “be something” and they leap into school with the best of hopes, but then they drop one, and get an incomplete in another…because babies are very demanding people!
        Whether you take a class, or join a book club, or go to the gym, try to have something like that, where you can breathe for awhile 🙂
        Aw, well, I’m biased, but I say MAKE ALL THE BABIES, lol!

        Like

  4. You already know what I will say, darling 🙂 that’s the beauty of friendship.
    I love you! You know you can call me whenever you want to talk. Chances are that I’ll have something to talk about too 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s