The greatest lie of the feminist movement, and of our current culture, is “You can have it all!”. You can have a career and family, hobbies and a great body. “You can be anything you want!” But come on… I think it’s safe to say not everyone who wants to be president gets to be. Not everyone who wants to be an astronaut goes up into space. There is a limit to our time, energy and income.

I’ve really been struggling with my return to work. I still hold I couldn’t ask for a better boss or coworkers. But more its the time spent apart from Seedling. It used to be I was borderline workaholic. Anything that was asked of me, if it was in my power I would do it. 110%, going above and beyond for my job. But now… I find myself just wanting to get by. Do a good job and be done. 90% effort. I’m also finding that with breastfeeding-induced fuzzy brain, and coming in to work on 2-4 hours of sleep, I just can’t be the employee I used to be. I forget simple, routine things. When it’s pointed out to me all I can think is “Duh! How did I miss that?” I feel incompetent. I feel like my boss and coworkers are a little let down I’m not the employee I used to be. The truth is, my heart is just not in it like it used to be. My heart is in spending time with Seedling.

Maybe part of it is that I’m just a receptionist. Making little more than minimum wage. I went to school to be a vet tech. To draw blood, assist in surgeries, look through a microscope. The education feels wasted and I can sense that knowledge slipping away, “use it or lose it”. But the clinic I work at only hires licensed techs to work as vet techs. And getting licensed is a $500 process that includes a giant, intense exam I doubt I could do well on at this point.

Thursday I received an email referencing my résumé that is posted in a national vet tech database. I figured they had emailed everyone in the database and didn’t put much thought into it. Friday morning I received a phone call. Turns out its a state of the art emergency and specialty clinic that REALLY wants me to come in and interview. Without going into too much detail, in short it’s my dream job. But I gently interrupted the woman and explained I had just had a baby and that if it was any other time I would have loved to take it. She was very understanding, and said “When you’re ready to get back to work, let me know!”

I spent the rest of the day wondering if I’d made a HUGE mistake. Finally Hubster got home and I had someone to hash it all out with. I told him that I wish I could take it so he wouldn’t have to work. That it was potentially the golden opportunity of my career. I lamented that we really can’t have it all. I can’t have a career without some sacrifice to the time I spend with my family. I can’t have a family without sacrificing my energy for my career. Hubster told me he would support me no matter what. But he did say that if it came down to him working so I could spend time with Seedling, or me working so he could spend time with Seedling, that he would rather work. Not because he doesn’t want to be here – the truth is her loves and adores his father-daughter time! But because he believes that the mother-daughter bond is SO important. He sees the value in my ability to snuggle and breastfeed. And he recognizes I’m the same person who, a decade ago when we first met, had said I valued family above all else. And I still do. I could work, and Hubster could work, and we could put Seedling in daycare. Lots of families do! But it’s not what I want. I want to be there, to watch my daughter grow, to raise her. Am I sad to let go of one dream? Sure. It’s always sad to realize we can’t fit all our dreams into our life. But it’s also the mature thing. It was hard to realize we didn’t have the money for both a family and horses and I had to sell my horse. But when it comes down to family vs hobbies or career? I’m always going to choose family.

I think back to this fabulous exchange n “Mona Lisa Smiles”:
Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I’ll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I’m afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I’d regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I’m doing and it doesn’t make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn’t say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don’t. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You’re the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.

Scott came home this evening from work saying his start time is changing from 6:30am to 4am. So he can’t take Seedling to day are for me in the mornings. It just feels like one more thing and one more thing keeps coming up … It’s just a matter of time for me to put in my notice. I’m not sure when it will be exactly… But it’s coming.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Oh sweetie. Just *hugs*. I know it was so scary when I had to quit working (sudden bed rest a few months before we were “ready” financially for me to be a SAHM). I relate to this so much. It’s hard to sacrifice money, especially when there’s not a lot of it. But you’re right, or Mona Lisa is right LOL, it might be hard but in the end what I would really regret is missing out of any time with my babies. Good luck and I hope that the day is sooner than later that you get to turn in your notice… fingers crossed.


  2. Yep, thats where feminism kinda let women down (or did it? Did women just get their hopes up too much?) you CAN have everything, but the slices of the pie get smaller, the more you want to dip different fingers in.
    And pie is impossible to juggle without getting at least a little on your face.
    But it tastes good, right? But it will never leave you feeling ‘full’

    Its sods law as well, that all the opportunities come up when you’re least able to seize them. But your values are in the right place . . . (in saying that, they’re congruent with my own, so of course I’m going to think that!!)


  3. I’m glad you know where your priorities lies, and nothing is right or wrong, just do what you think you would have less regrets with. Time is precious and goes so fast. And if that place of work really wants you and mean that you can contact them in the future, well, that could be a year or two from here, not neccesarily weeks or months. And if it helps, I would feel the same, not wanting to miss the first months/year with baby.


  4. There’s no right or wrong, it’s reall all about what is best for you. Though I wish we could have it all xxx


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