Friday, February 16, 2007

Full Time, Stay-at-Home Mom

That's me. Well, as soon as my employer and I agree on what I need to do to document current project status, the time frame, etc. I have wanted to be a mother who did not work outside the home for about 3 years and I've been working toward this.

It feels like failure to me. I never would have expected it, but there it is.

I have three daughters, we have a rather large house to be cared for; Rob's mother is aging and needs help from time to time. Additionally, we all know about Rob's brush with death and the loss of my sister. The challenges of my personal life have been exceptional.

In the meantime, I've continued to do my best to fulfill my obligations at work. Although I think that I've personally led two really ground-breaking projects for public health practice, I haven't been as reliable as I should have been. I've written two text book chapters, I have honestly lost count of the number of papers I've published since taking the job five years ago, and my work has really served as the template for others who undertook similar ventures several years after I began my work.

I'm not one to count off accomplishments, I just want to illustrate what is really wrong with me. When I think of these things I've done, the daily demands of my life, the genuine emotional crises I've handled---how is it that my conscience still sometimes has me thinking of this decision to resign as a failure to succeed? That I haven't got what it takes to do it all? Remember that terrible song, "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never ever let you forget you're a man..." or what about, "I'm every woman, its all in me (anything you want done, baby)..." what a bunch of freakin' horseshit.

I have to say I've worked with the best of colleagues in this job, I've had the greatest opportunities ever, it has been more intellectually rewarding and the most professionally relevant work of my life. I will miss those things. I will not miss feeling like I'm letting everyone down if I don't max out every effort. I will not miss feeling like my household is out of control and that every single glitch in our carefully planned child care arrangements will put me in a position of having to apologize and inconvenience people.

What is that saying about swords---double edged or something? Oy.


Donna said...

I say you need a new mind set for sure. There are more accomplishments to be had than professional. Lyman is my biggest accomplishment and I put all my time and effort into him. Don't go that overboard. I'm sure you'll be surprised at how much you will still accomplish, you just won't be going to the office to do it. I'm on your side kiddo. LYFE

Kathy said...

Donna---whose computer are you on at this hour on a Saturday?

I'm not mourning the loss of my professional life per se... what I am is disappointed in myself for letting down colleagues who came to expect certain things from me, to rely on me.

I know I've made the right decision for me and my family. And I know how lucky I am that we're able to take this route. Its not easy these days to raise a family on one salary, certainly not here. I'll get over the shame(?) of throwing in the towel at work.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, kiddo.

Love you, Carol Jean

Donna said...

This is the 3rd Saturday I've had to work. Like you I feel this stuff MUST get done before I go to LA. There is sooo much stuff that needs done as JCAHO who does our hospital accredidation is due anytime and I'm in charge of the personnel files. So I'm here on a Saturday again. You aren't letting your collegues down you are moving on and sooner or later all of them will too. It's just that it's the end of something you liked. There's bigger and better things on your horizon. Live, Love & Laugh, that can be your new motto. LYFE

Kathy said...

I'm ready for it!

Lyman said...

good for you I say