This weekend, I met up with some friends and was introduced to some people I hadn't met before. Everyone was young and single and career-driven. Those are amazing qualities, but just not ones I relate to anymore (well, maybe the young part haha). I was actually never really career-driven in the way that we normally think of that trait. Don't get me wrong - I loved teaching. For ten years, I lived, ate, and breathed teaching. I thought about my students the way that I think about my son now. But advancing my career was never a priority for me. I never had ambitions of becoming a school administrator or anything like that. [nb: Advancing my career and developing my career are two different things... I was always growing as an educator and always wanted to do better as a teacher.]
Anyway, a little bit into the conversation, one of the girls in the group asked me what I "did". For the first time, I hesitated.
"Well, I'm a stay-at-home mom now."
That's not good enough, Jen.
"But I used to teach, and I also am a photographer."
Better, but nobody is impressed.
Nobody had even said anything, and insecurities were popping up in my head. As a matter of fact, the girl who had asked me even went on to say, "Well my mom stayed at home with my sisters and I and I really have no idea how you guys do it. Her schedule was tighter than anyone's I know." So why did I feel inferior?
I think when it comes to women, there is such a push toward this feminist movement and women having equal rights as men. And I am all for that! If that's the kind of woman you are - climb that ladder, lady! But I am way more traditional, and I truly see the value in a woman being at home and raising her children. But society isn't leaning that way right now. Society is asking us to be the "power woman" that they are encouraging little girls to be. And there's nothing wrong with encouraging girls to be whatever they want to be... but it has to be just that. Who says that you have to be a doctor, or an astronaut, or an attorney to be successful? We need to teach little girls (and boys!) the value of every profession, occupation, and lifestyle choice, and allow them to follow their dreams - whether they dream of being a mom who raises her children or an attorney who slays in court.
And for me, the choice has been easy. I wouldn't trade what we are teaching our son for the world. We are teaching him that there is nothing more important in this world than family. Could I teach that if I were a working mom with a 9 to 5? Absolutely! But the fact of the matter is, the choice is mine to make.
And for the rest of you moms out there, struggling to feel like you are "enough" in society, because your worth can't be measured by a paycheck - your worth can't be measured at all. Because your worth, were it to be measured, would be in love, and dedication, and hugs and kisses and lessons your children can learn only from you.
And it is enough. As a matter of fact, it's more than enough.