"Your Turn" is a series of posts where readers share their stories of parenthood, work, the struggle for a balance, or just life generally. If you are interested in contributing a story, please email me at email@example.com or click here.
I am mother of two wonderful (and exhausting) children, a Navy Wife, a part-time attorney, a daughter, a sister, a friend- like many of you readers, I am trying to do it all. Which I believe only multiplies the amount of guilt I feel!
I am a lawyer. Though I often wish I could talk to my 20 year old self and tell her to really reconsider her career choice. At the time, I just was not ready to be done with school and I wanted to know I could always support myself. I was not thinking like a mother and certainly not like a Navy Wife (i.e., I have already taken 2 bar exams and will probably have to take at least 2-3 more before it is all said and done). I just don't believe that at 20 we should have to decide what we are going to do for the rest of our lives. I luckily have found a wonderful nanny to love my children when I am not there and a small law firm that allows me to work only 4 days a week and recognizes the importance of my family and how that will always take precedence. But this unfortunately is a rarity in the legal field, and in 2 years time I will be moving again, starting over again, building a reputation again, all the while trying to make the move as seamless and easy on my husband and children as possible.
I am a Navy Wife. As a fellow Navy Wife once said, I am the happiest married single mother there is. My husband is an excellent partner and an amazing father. I was once told to marry a man who you would be happy to have a son just like- and I would be thrilled if my son is as wonderful as my husband. But with the nature of my husband's job, he is gone A LOT. When my daughter was 6 weeks old, he left for the first time. I was in the throws of post partum depression, and I had no family close. But I survived because if there is one thing us military wives are it is survivors. Now, I need to clarify because as far as military wives are concerned I have it rather easy. The longest my husband has every been gone straight since we have been married is 3 months. He has never been deployed for 12-18 months, or gone to Afghanistan. But I still live in constant fear that this will happen. I do not write this as a pity party, but more as informative of what military wives go through and that there is no civilian job that compares. That being said I am very blessed. My husband has a great job that he loves and is proud of and in which he is secure, which is a rarity these days.
Most importantly, I am a mother. My children are the most important thing in the world to me, and I would give anything to protect them and care for them. I work, not because I want to, but because I have to in order to provide them with the security that I often times did not have growing up. I want them to be secure, but not spoiled. I want to teach them to be sweet, but strong and independent (but not so independent that they move far away from their mommy); to be smart but not smart-alecs; to be respectful but question what is not right. But most importantly I want them to know they are loved and how special they are, and I think as a working mom this is the hardest as I feel like I am constantly leaving them! Which brings me to the guilt I mentioned above.
Guilt- no one tells you as a mother how much guilt you will feel. I feel guilty about going to work (even though I have to), about losing my patience with my children when I have only been home an hour, about wanting time to myself even though I have been at work all week, about not keeping the house clean enough, about not staying in touch with friends, about not working out, about letting my children watch tv, about serving my son cheese puffs and yogurt bites for dinner, and the list goes on and on. And my husband never feels any guilt it seems- I think men are just missing that chip.
But despite all the guilt, and all the stress of the different hats I wear, I would become a mother again in a heartbeat (in fact I want a third baby now but that is a whole other post). It is the most exhausting yet rewarding job there is. What I try to remind myself of daily is that God made me exactly the mother that my children needed- and he (unlike me) does not make mistakes.
This post was written by Amy. You can read her blog at http://parttimelawyerfulltimemommy.blogspot.com/