Have you ever noticed how sometimes a certain theme will pop up in your life at one time? Like when you ask a friend for a DVD she borrowed and she mentions that perhaps you let another friend borrow it and that friend, without prompting what-so-ever mentions that DVD and brings it back? It’s like just by saying the DVD title out loud, all of the universe collectively worked with some weird underground energy current and subconsciously effected the mind of your friend?
Or is that just way too new age bullshit?
It’s happened a lot to me. Ok, maybe not “A LOT” but it happens. I’ll mention something to a friend and suddenly that same thing will pop up again in other places. Sort of like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden EVERYONE has that same new car. I know they all had that car before and you just never noticed it because it wasn’t on your radar, but still. You have to admit, it’s kind of weird, right?
When I was in Germany, my host Betty and I had lengthy discussions about being a working mom. It’s hard to explain to someone without kids, or a mom without a job, about the stupidity of combining the two. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but when you talk to a corporate woman who is successful and driven and chose to put off chlidren because she was good at her career, and when you talk to stay at home moms who put off career to be with their children, you end up looking like a buffoon for claiming you can have both. Like a naive asshole buffoon.
I sort of feel a little like a buffoon some days.
Trying to fit in work and doing the best job possible while putting that aside for sick children or anxiety-ridden three-year-olds is complex at best. You can’t do both well. You can do both mediocre but one will alway suffer.
This theme, this realization, has come up sixteen times in as many days. I was standing in the locker room at the YMCA, hurrying from my thirty-minute lunch workout to get back to work when I heard some elderly women chatting. They were talking about their grandchildren and how much they love being around them. “I worked through my children’s entire childhood. I never had the chance to just be with them. It’s like I have this chance, finally.”
I nearly cried.
I spoke with a father at my son’s school who is staying home for a while simply because his son was a preemie. “During the H1N1 scare, I quit my job to be home with him. My job will still be there, but he is only small once.”
I nearly cried.
For my birthday, I received a massage. While face down in the hole of the chair, I started thinking about those things I love to do or study. Alternate medicine. Nutrition. Sustainable living. As much as I love what I do now, my job, I had a brief moment of epiphany. “I WILL BECOME A NATURAL DOCTOR! AN ND! THAT. THAT IS MY DESTINY.”
Funny thing is? It’s not. It’s a layer of complexity over a complex issue. I’m good at what I do now. I am.
I just want to balance that with being a good mother.
And I don’t know how.
So here, at the eve of thirty-five, I admit, in full complete honesty: I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
There ya go, kids. Life: Funny, disturbing, challenging, baffling. Always.
Even still, half way through.
Yes to all of this. Good thing our kids will continue to love us even if we don’t always know it all. That saves me every time I want to freak the eff out because this juggling thing is hard!
P.S Happy Birthday, baby!
PPS - you’re younger than me so that’s gotta make you feel good.
PPPS - Where da party at ?
By Stacey on 2010 10 28
It’s not easy! I have a 22 yr old daughter and felt guilty ALL THE TIME! I work a full time plus OT job and I love what I do and I get paid well. Furthermore, we could have never paid our bills or survived on my husband’s income alone. STILL, I felt guilty when I wasn’t there when I felt I should be. We really CAN’T do it all WELL
if we spread ourselves too thin….but we CAN do our best and juggle our time as best as we can and hope our career survives and our children turn out ok. It is tough. You are doing the best you can….give yourself a break.
By Diana Wilson on 2010 10 28
Happy Birthday; Love, Mom and Dad
By Omaflinger on 2010 10 28
you aren’t alone. I went back to last spring at the age of 40. I’m going for a degree in Family & Consumer Sciences with a minor in psychology. Not exactly sure what I’m going to do with it but I’m finally doing something I want to do!
Hope you have a very Happy Birthday!
By Brenda on 2010 10 28
Happy Birthday, love.
I love you, your beautiful imperfections, your perfect beauty and your beautiful realizations.
By VDog on 2010 10 28
Happy birthday! As a woman a few years older, take comfort in the fact that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up either!!
By Pgoodness on 2010 10 28
Great post! My litmus test is doing something even if the person couldn’t be paid, because it makes their heart sing. For me it’s teaching a child to read, even though I’d move into a box stall to be near horses. It’s good to have many things you love to do. Crucial for high IQ types, which clearly you are.
By Vicki B on 2010 10 29
You are definitely not alone. Balancing the two is common discussion for men as well. I love my kids but my sanity as a adult needs the time I spend at work.
35? that aint nothin. try 36… now THAT is a year…
By Marcus Neto on 2010 10 29
Mrs F. I had the same thoughts when I was 35. 15 years later and I’m glad I was a working mum. My kids are now two of the loveliest young 19 and 22 year old guys you could ever meet. (I’m allowed to say that, I’m their mother!). However I do believe it!
If you’re not happy they won’t be happy. So what ever makes you happy is in their best interests; unless your a drug snorting waste of space…..which I know you’re not.
MRS F I know you’re a good mum. Now go out and have a great Birthday and enjoy watching them grow up! Don’t waste a minute of it.
By Angela on 2010 10 29
Happy Birthday Leslie (almost the same age as me!)
By Matt Robin on 2010 10 29
Happy Birthday! You’re an inspiration to many around you…me, for instance. Had a similar convo with a grandma at preschool the other day about working versus staying at home. Do whatever will make you happy! Have a birthday drink - and it’s Friday so you can start early.
By Wendy on 2010 10 29
Happy Birthday! What you’re feeling and experiencing is perfectly normal. If you’re not questioning what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, you’re brain dead. I’m kidding but you know what I mean. It’s a sign of an active mind and a will to always be and do better. Balance is such a struggle in life and if you do find it, it only lasts until the next thing shifts or throws a monkey wrench into things. Enjoy where you are now and never stop being YOU!
By Chrisor on 2010 10 29
On this date, I gave birth to our first born. She is an amazing young woman who goes by the name of Mrs. Flinger.
Love, your mom and dad.
By Oma Flinger on 2010 10 29
It won’t help that I am 42 and have no idea what I want to be when I grow up will it? No, of course not. Be happy where you are…the dreams about what to do and be will come again.
Love your blog. Glad I was sent to find it with a Love Bomb!
By Maryellen on 2010 10 29
Happy belated birthday girl (and you are STILL a girl since you’re still in your damn 30s!!!)
p.s. I still don’t know what the hell I want to be when I grow up and I still don’t know what the hell I am doing as a mom 1/2 the time. WHEEEEE!
By Jamie on 2010 10 30
Oh yes, in regards to your title and I know this will be TMI; you were made in Oberammergau in the Bavaria mountains south of Munich. O"gau as it is called is where the Passion Play is hosted but in between times, it is a beautiful place to visit, camp, stay for the weekends, etc. The first time we ever went, I woke up to yodeling. It was the sound of music but in real life; so perfect.
By Oma Flinger on 2010 10 30
By Oma Flinger on 2010 10 30
Pretty sure we just need to meditate. #snort
By VDog on 2010 10 31
It is *totally* The Flow. Not too new-agey for me. LOL.
Happy Birthday, Flinger!
By Al_Pal on 2010 11 02
Way late and a few dollars short of course!
Belated Happy Birthday Mrs. F!!
Who said we had to grow up?
At 44, I take as my role models some amazing women - who never stopped reinventing themselves. Who, in their 90’s are pretty sure that yes, you can have it all and that they are proof.
I know more than one.
The part where someone tells you that you are “sacrificing” one thing for another? It implies that you aren’t getting that thing. Not true. It just means you need to work on your balance.
I sadly know one too many “stay-at-home moms” who really aren’t very good moms. They may not have a job - but they don’t take that extra time & energy and focus it into raising their kids. Computer games, blogs, soap operas, running a thousand errands - there’s one who lives by me whose children see me more than their mom. But she ‘stayed home for the children’. There are others who work who do seem to be the uberWoman we’d all love to be. Executives with fulfilling work lives, still at home every night, leading the brownie troop, and there for every school play, soccer game, and bruised knee. (Yes, I know her and she’s nice to boot so I can’t hate her.)
What I’m saying is “find your balanace, hon” - you can totally do this. Just don’t let other peoples’ lives fool you. The package from the outside is not the entirety.
And remember: the only real important view? is from the kiddos in your own back seat.
By Lucretia Pruitt on 2010 11 05