Thursday, October 7, 2010

Having it All

I love this quote (emphasis mine)

"Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons. Liberation was meant to expand women's opportunities, not to limit them. The self-esteem that has been found in new pursuits can also be found in mothering."

-Elaine Heffner

My dear friend Sara and I have been discussing recently the choices we make in life and the difficulty of making solid decisions when there doesn't seem to be one "right" answer.  So often it feels like we are teetering on the edge, trying to maintain balance while taking on more things as parents and individuals, hoping we don't tip over.

When F was a baby, I became overwhelmingly passionate about natural birth - especially birth as a means to empower women for the larger (and more difficult) job of parenting their children.  I decided to become a Doula (don't know what that is?  Click here) and, although it was difficult to attend classes with a baby in tow, made it through my training to be a Birth Doula.  I loved my work.  I loved talking with women about what they wanted to be different this time, encouraging young and underprivileged moms in their choices, and watching beautiful baby after beautiful baby make their way into this world.  I attended several births that year and was completely hooked, a self admitted "birth junkie."  I loved that I could be a full Stay at Home Mom but work on the side and occasionally whisk off to births.

The next year was when things changed.  We decided to homeschool (more on that decision later).  My mom, who acted as my on call childcare for births, went to work for my dad.  And so I realized that something needed to change - that I couldn't have it all.  We needed to make some choices.

This is just one of many times in our lives as parents that we have had to stop and make some difficult decisions.  It hasn't been black and white, and sometimes we're not sure if what we are doing is the "right" thing.

Being a birth-worker was flexible in some ways, I could schedule prenatals when my husband was available to be with our children, etc.  But being on call while homeschooling 3 kids with no guaranteed childcare was not going to work.  We had to decide what we wanted more - the additional financial benefits of me working as well as my delight in working in a field I was passionate about - or to homeschool our kids.  It was also around that time that we discovered I was expecting our 4th child, and that really sealed the deal.

No matter what path we choose, there are going to be sacrifices.  Choosing homeschooling for us meant that my career goals are on the back burner - possibly even "never going to happen."  Choosing to work would mean a different lifestyle for our family, a different way of raising our kids.  There was no way to make it work to have everything that I wanted - time to pursue my goals and interests while also homeschooling my larger than average family and being on call for them all the time.  It had to be one or the other.  I couldn't have it both ways.

Its hard to make decisions when there is no right or wrong way to go.  Sometimes I wish there was a neon sign saying "turn this way!" during those times - it would certainly make the decision process go that much smoother!

Its OK to not do it all, or have it all.  Just because right now isn't the best time for something doesn't mean it is wrong or bad to want it, or that maybe it will be time, later down the line.


What are some of the sacrifices you have made in your life?  Do you think you made the right decision?

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