If you asked me 20 years ago what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you, without hesitation, a Rock Star…
I spent my early twenties swaddled in one exciting adventure after another. From singing in seedy bars; hosting my first show; working as part of a Television production team to Programming and Acquisitions for a National Specialty Channel. You could say I had life by the globes.
Early in my marriage we discussed not having children, instead we’d be that power couple who had it all. We’d climb the corporate ladder, travel the world and host glamorous parties. Who would regret that? My husband was gearing up for a three month work placement in New York City while I planned every hot spot we’d frequent. It was during this time in my life that I thought we had it all… and then something happened…I was late.
This was not part of the plan. After weeks of denial I began to embrace the excitement of becoming a new mom. After all, I could totally rock this, right? I shopped for baby and actually enjoyed maternity wear.
One night during my 6th month of pregnancy (with my dear hubby still in NYC) I went into pre-term labour. My baby would struggle to take her first and only breath. I left that hospital with empty arms.
Although I faced months of grief I was now more determined than ever to become a mother. Two years later, after 3 more early losses, I finally did. It was pure bliss, I literally walked on air.
As my maternity leave drew to an end I began to panic! How could I leave her for 40 hours or more each week? I couldn’t. With a heavy heart I gave my notice and afterwards I cried. I cried out of relief that I no longer needed to leave her and I mourned the life I left behind.
Two years and two miscarriages later my middle child was born. Three months after she arrived something happened…I was late. Once again life had other plans.
Survival was my motivation. I was now knee deep in motherhood.
The first few years after my second and third child were born are kind of a blur. Routine became my savior. Friendships faded, coworkers moved up the corporate ladder and my world existed amongst feedings, picture books and the occasional stroller procession.
As the smoke began to clear I barely recognized the person in the mirror. What happened to me, to my goals, to my now defunct vocabulary? Like a character from the Walking Dead I stumbled out into the light. This is a daunting task when you can’t remember what you did last week let alone almost a decade ago.
I never dreamed I would stay home for 9 years, in my previous life I couldn’t stand 9 hours!
So now what? Can I include my superhuman multi-tasking, life coaching, mentoring, nursemaid, secretarial skills on my resume? What will potential employers think when they see my giant gleaming abyss of nothingness that follows years of exciting career advancement on my resume? Yes, I’ve volunteered to get myself out there but the inferiority complex I now have is palpable. We all know everyone thinks stay at home moms eat bonbons all day and overdose on Talk TV…
And then the mommy guilt kicks in. Who will volunteer to make play dough or stay home when they are sick? Who will drop off an extra sweater at school when they’ve worn a tank top in the middle of February…again? Who will ask them how their day was on the way home from school? Will I undo everything I’ve done by abandoning them just when they learn to stand on their own two feet?
Motherhood is a constant struggle to remember the woman you dreamt you would become and still diligently support your campaign for Mother of the Year. So the real question is, can we successfully accomplish both? Is it physically and mentally possible and how do we explain abandoning our careers for a life of sticky fingers, limited vocabulary and tantrums? I’ll let you know when I figure it out…
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You can find me on Twitter @NatashaMcKenty and @GRLiving