Different Paths

The Monster & MeWhen I was growing up my mum always worked full time. As a GP (doctor) running her own practice, she would often leave for work before we went to school and get home just in time for dinner. She was super busy and often stressed but somehow she always found the time to help us with our homework or take us to our dance lessons on the weekend. Parenting three daughters and building a successful career must have been exhausting, but mum made it seem like the norm.

I gave up the idea of following in her (always stylish) footsteps when I realised that I was actually really squeamish and the sight of blood had me heading for the floor. But I never gave up the idea that I would also have both a family AND a wonderful career. I still think it is possible, I’m just not sure that it’s what I want. I don’t mean this to diminish what my mum did. Not at all. She did an amazing job and we always knew she loved us, absolutely. But I’m not her. And I need to find what works for me and my family. I don’t think it’s working the million hours that a stellar career requires. But I also don’t think it’s being a full-time, twenty-four-seven mum. It’s somewhere in the grey between.

Since we sold our business almost twelve months ago I’ve experienced the joy, the exhaustion and the intermittent boredom that comes with full-time motherhood. I’ve watched not one minute of daytime TV and have not found any extra hours in the day to learn how to knit. The monster keeps me busy but to be honest we don’t exactly operate at breakneck speed. I could do more housework but I prefer to play tickle-wrestle and make ridiculous animal noises while the monster rolls around in stitch-inducing hysterics (unfortunately he might be the only person who enjoys my humor). Some days are just so full of fun and love that being the monsters mum is just about the best job in the world. Some days I’m ready to hand in my resignation by morning tea break as I cry in to my coffee.

Despite the challenges, I’ve cherished this time at home with the monster watching him grow from a wobbly infant to a rambunctious toddler. But I think I’m ready now to find that shade of grey that works for us. It probably won’t be prestigious or note-worthy but I’ll be happy if I find a job that lets me be me rather than mum and stretches the non-baby related brain muscles, if only for two days a week. I know at some time in the future I may lament the aspirational career I never sought but that’s real-world, grown-up life isn’t it? We have to accept that every choice has a trade-off and despite what Hollywood would have us think there is no such thing as having it all. My mum made the choice that was best for her and her family and I’m doing the same. Our paths may be different. But with time I’m learning that that’s okay.

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4 comments
  1. Great post. I love the idea of finding your place in the grey. I recently gave up freelancing to do the full time mummy thing for a while (having another bub in 5 weeks was an added incentive). There are days when I wonder if I’ve done the right thing, whether I’ve put a grinding halt to my career However, I take heart knowing that life is in shades of grey, and there are many doors to choose from, even one you close one. Hope you find a job that adequately stretches your non-mum brain!

    • lauragofton said:

      Thanks Soph. It’s hard to know for sure what the right thing to do is, I agree. But you’re right that there will always be other opportunities (they may just be more challenging to come by). I didn’t realise that number two was due so soon. You will be one busy full-time mummy very soon! xx L

  2. I loved this post too. So well written and articulated! I agree that the ‘ shade ofgrey’ is different for every family, every mum. I also think that it changes at different stages of motherhood: when your first baby arrives, when that baby becomes a toddler, when another baby arrives, when s/he grow up a bit too, when another one arrives, when you get three hours of synchronised naps each day, when your oldest decides to drop napping altogether (nooooo!), when he begins preschool, when EVERYONE is at school (inconceivable, but other mummies tell me it does happen eventually…), you get my drift. I have to admit, I often read blogs and feel a certain degree of jealousy of what other women get to do/experience/achieve/etc. But then I look at the family that I have, and I know there’s nothing I would change…. and oh Laura, I totally know what you mean about wanting to hand in your resignation whilst sobbing over coffee. That invariably happens to me at least every other day. Love that photo of you and your monster!
    Ronnie xo

    • lauragofton said:

      That’s a great point about how the situation that works for you will change depending on the age/stage of your child/ren. I agree about sometimes getting envious of others who seem to ‘have it all’ but like you, I’m happy with the family that I have and the situation that we are in (even if it has taken a while to get here!).

      I’ll take comfort on my next bad ‘work’ day knowing that there is another mumma out there crying in to her coffee too. xx L.

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