My husband and I had a good talk tonight about what the next stage in our lives should be. Since completing my graduate studies I love not having to study for a test, write a paper or get together for a group project on the weekends. What I love even more is my job and the money I make. There’s something freeing about bringing in my own money from something that I love to do. Truly. So life has been pretty foot loose and fancy free around here. Right now we’re both studying for our respective licensures and certifications but that’s it.
This is our first year together not being graduate students as we met in grad school, so it’s kind of like getting to know each other and dating all over again, we’re just married now. It’s weird, but that’s how I can best explain it. We were both pretty busy with grad school, working and in some ways our relationship suffered as a result. But we’re at a stage where we’re just completely enjoying each other again.
Still, having turned 29 over the weekend I started of course thinking about the next step in our lives. [Aside: We are planning on adopting a Malamute within the next few weeks/months] Should I apply for my intended doctoral program or should we start having babies? That’s a tough question for me as I value my career just as much as I do being a mom. Becoming a mom was a recent decision, as recent as tonight because there were times when I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to be a mom and this was based on my own complicated relationship with my mother and rocky childhood.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a fun childhood and I was a badass but there were some equally tough times as well. I only made the connection within the last year but this has been a sorted journey of self revelation, honesty, digging up old resentments and making attempts to resolve events of the past.
I read somewhere that the journey of motherhood causes a shift in a woman’s identity and before tonight I wasn’t sure if it was something I was ready for as I never looked to that in order to define my womanhood. I wasn’t ready and perhaps to some degree, still am not ready for the identity shift that comes with being a mother. Yes, Ive been in therapy, done much soul searching and finally tonight it was just a talk with my husband and his reassurance that put everything in place for me.
I’m not sure why or how, really I don’t, but this was a conversation I dreaded having because Ive known that he’s left it up to me as to when we would start having children but I never really nailed down a complete time frame. As you know, Ive got to plan everything as best as I can, even children LOL
We went through my reasons for wanting to get a doctorate, balancing the demands of motherhood with our careers, childcare, my position at my job, IE dropping clients once I take go on maternity leave and having to rebuild once I return, finances etc etc Basically everything that goes into finally making this decision. This conversation was deliberate in that I wanted to really open my heart and share my concerns about taking the next step. For some women, I’m sure this is a no brainer, but for me this was much more.
So we came up with this timeline…..
- Fall 2009 Take and pass my state boards
- Spring 1010 Study for GRE (scores expired and I need to retake it)
- January/Spring 2010 Start trying for baby (TTC)
- **Get pregnant somewhere thereabouts?**
- Fall 2010 Apply for doctoral program, be fully licensed as a LPC and hopefully be pregnant/have delivered
- Fall 2011 Baby should be at least one year when I get started on doc program and we will have adjusted to all the changes, secured in home childcare and happily on schedule once again.
My concern of course is working, being in school and raising a child, something may have to give, and it can’t be motherhood LOL. Of course I know millions of women do this and then some but I do have to be respectful of my breaking point.
One day when I am comfortable I will share the issues from my childhood which plague my hesitations around becoming a mom but what I will say is I’m happy that I married someone who is letting me take my time in making this decision. I realize that Ive created my own ticking biological clock and he’s been patient to wait for me to get to where I need to be in order to take the next step. For that I am grateful because this has been one hell of a ride.
Till then, I will share that I had a mini consultation with Sherri Kalt of Authentic Mom and she recommended I read: The Whole Parent: How To Become A Terrific Parent Even If You Didn’t Have One by Debra Wesselmann. This has been a complete eye-opener and deeply insightful as the author speaks to many of my concerns around how my childhood will shape my experience as a mom.
This isn’t to in any way bash my mother or take away from her efforts in raising me, but Ive finally come to the conclusion that even with her best effort and working with the tools she had as a young mother, I’m still left with scars that have yet to heal. I wish I could say live and let live but this has become a process, one that I have reluctantly chosen to face but doing so knowing that the rewards will be well worth it.
I also read When You and Your Mother Can’t Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life by Victoria Secunda which was good in helping me deal with our relationship as it stands today.