I have the privilege of being a part of the board for the engineering alumni association at Alabama. It’s a great group of people getting together to try and enrich the engineering school and thus enrich The University. A bunch of people who have done a lot more than I have, who have worked for far longer than me, and who are — with one exception, me — currently in the work force. Last Thursday and Friday were filled with my first board meetings to attend. I just got on the board and when they called last spring to see if I was interested I made sure to let them know that I am not currently in the workforce. They said that was fine.
My first meetings rolled around and, while everyone was perfectly nice to me, I always got skittish when they asked where I work. The first time I was asked on Thursday I answered simply, “I’m a stay at home mom.” By Friday afternoon I was answering the question by qualifying that while I’m a stay at home mom I’m looking into some consulting opportunities but I just haven’t found something yet that I’m interested in.
It rattled me that I felt that being a stay at home mom wasn’t/isn’t enough. No one made me feel that way, but somehow I felt a little ashamed that I am at home with Charlotte every day as opposed to coding for some company somewhere. And that ticks me off at myself but it’s also something that I can’t really deny. And I wonder why was I making myself feel bad when everyone accepted my current role?
I’ve been gifted with this time home with Charlotte. Yes, it is trying and hard and mundane sometimes but it’s also wonderful and invigorating and so so special. I was here when she rolled over for the first time. I saw her take her first steps towards me without being lured by something. I’m here to wipe her nose when she’s sick and to take her outside to explore. I pick her up from school and ask her questions about her day. I’m shaping her life each and every day, for almost every second that she’s awake. And that’s important.
But sometimes it’s not enough. And I accept that. I accept that in a room full of working engineers I’m going to feel left out. I’m going to work harder at making sure that it doesn’t make me feel incompetent or that I have to overcompensate with humorous anecdotes or embellishing my career aspirations. Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Always. Computer Science and engineering was just a means to an end to get us to a position where I could do that and thankfully we made it to that place.
Still, accepting that doesn’t mean that I’m always 100% satisfied with being here all day. I keep looking for something that will motivate me and get me excited to start a project. So far, software design isn’t that thing for me. I don’t really have a desire to get back in to it right now. But maybe sewing is. Or photography. Or blog design. Or writing. Or something that I haven’t quite found yet. But I’m on the lookout for it and praying for God to make that path clear to me. And until then I’m just going to enjoy the days at home with my daughter and do my best to be the best mom to her that I can be. And I think, for today, that’s enough.
**For another great post on a topic similar to this check out Kathy’s recent post.