Can you believe it?Â We’re already half way through our journey until we get to meet each other!Â We’veworked pretty well together so far and I’m so proud of how you’ve been doing such a good job growing inside mama.Â Papa and I got to hear your strong heartbeat at our birth center appointment and also got to hear you kick.Â A lot.Â Our midwife said that you were “pretty active.”Â You’ve already surprised me with some pretty good kicks too.Â Mama’s been showing you off more and more these days, and I like to rub my belly a lot to say “hello” to you.Â I love growing you inside me.Â I hope you like it too.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to balance family and career. The age old question that everybody struggles with. And not just “career,” but your “passion” and sense of self. Your identify.Â As a pregnant, working mother and wife, I’ve been more present and acutely aware of myself lately. I feel so cliche thinking about it, but it’s also a frequent topic that comes up when I talk to my girlfriends.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I ever envy Matt for being able to stay home with Ellie. What’s ironic is that Matt has asked me the same question in the past. And my honest answer is, No. I don’t. I enjoy working. I enjoy having boundaries between a personal and professional life. I enjoy having a routine. And I enjoy the fact that having the time away from my family makes me appreciate them even more, and having the opportunity for more intentional moments with them. I am fortunate that I don’t have a job that requires me to travel frequently, or to constantly chuck in a lot of overtime. That would make it a whole different story.
When I returned to work after I had Ellie and Matt and I were both working, we knew that something had to give. Even though Matt’s mom had graciously agreed to watch Ellie 5 days a week and we didn’t have to go through the hoops of finding a good day care, we hardly had any time to catch a breath, let alone find time for each other. But it’s a tough decision to have to make choosing to go from two incomes to one. Can we pull it off? Is it worth it? And which one of us would jump that bridge? Matt getting laid off was truly a blessing in disguise for us. It was as if The Universe had guided us in the right direction.
Matt and I never had the dynamic where there were expectations of each other based on gender or social stereotype. He crocheted me a scarf one year for Christmas when we were dating. He was loving, treated me with respect, and made me laugh. He did everything from fixing cars, loading heavy cargo, to making me homemade cards and baking cakes. I wasn’t expected to be a certain way “because I’m a girl,” and I didn’t expect Matt to be a certain way “because he’s a guy” either.Â For us, it just works. So when Matt became the “stay at home” parent, there was no doubt from me whether he could do a good job or not. I already knew. There were no power struggles between us, if anything it was the social stereotypes and barriers that we had to work through (more so Matt than me, of course).
So for me, I feel lucky that I didn’t have the “As a mom, you should be the one staying home with your baby instead of her dad” internal struggle that I needed to personally break through first. If anything, I am so grateful knowing that Ellie is in the best care she could be in, and for the irreplaceable time she gets to spend with her dad building a lifelong relationship. As a mom, there is nothing more gratifying and rewarding than knowing that her daughter’s first love and role model is her daddy (and Ellis is without a doubt, a bona fide daddy’s girl).
So that brings me back to a place where we are about to grow our family, wanting to take care of myself, feeling protective of my time with my family, but also feeling gratified by my career and wanting to advance in it more. I believe there is space for both. But how do I balance it? I would never choose career over family, but I also believe that my happiness with my career reflects in my space with my family too. Plus, it’s my career that provides for my family.
My attachment and sentiments to this pregnancy that are different from my first one makes me wonder if this time around I’ll actually have separation anxiety from Bunnee and have a difficult time returning to work. Am I too bold to think that I have the right to pursue my career while also equally prioritizing me and my family’s needs? Can’t I have my cake and eat it too?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
I realize that many, many women before me has had to make this tough choice whether they were ready for it or not and make sacrifices to meet needs. Essentially, it all comes down to choices. Just because I feel a certain way right now doesn’t mean that it won’t change or be influenced by future events yet unknown. I know I have to go with the flow and let go of things along the way. But whether it’s a whole cake, a slice, or a lick of frosting, I’m hoping that we as a family can figure out a way to have our own cake and eat it too. Because so far, things have been pretty tasty and filling.