When I get together with my mamma-friend Allison, we talk about our mamma-friend Naomi. Not the gossipy kind, we discuss a problem we're having then use one of Naomi's prolific anecdotes to resolve the silly little issue we are babbling about. A few weeks ago, Allison and I talked about working and not working. We've talked about this quite a bit because Allison was a bomb ass saleswoman who stepped away to have a family. She struggled and we have that in common.
We have had several conversations about our feelings of resentment, guilt, self doubt and worry when it comes to staying at home with our children. This time Allison wasn't discussing her experience as a stay-at-home-mom drenched in heavy feelings, rather she was confident and light. She told me that Naomi had mentioned a fleeting phrase that had shifted her perspective on work and being a mom. It was simple: "It's just not my time."
Allison shared this statement with me and I began to see the potential in my future. It was a if I had been standing in a confined cave and this phrase chiseled a long, deep path, well-lit and inviting. I realized that my thoughts had been so close minded that I hadn't allowed myself to think about my capabilities a few years from now. I had been stuck in NOW. My goals had to be accomplished NOW. I had to be the person I dreamed of being NOW. But that isn't true, we have time and growth and development. To be honest, I'm not ready to be everything I want to be right now. I hadn't allowed myself to think of that until I stepped back and saw that I have a long, beautiful journey toward fulfillment.
I believe many mammas get stuck in this pattern. Thoughts like: "If I don't go back to work right now, I'll become irrelevant." "I'll always be a stay-at-home-mom." "I have to choose between work and family and that decision will define me forever." These thoughts are daunting and simply incorrect. The only certainty we have in life is change. As mothers, we know that all to well. Try to put your child on a schedule and they will quickly begin a growth spurt hyjacking the schedule you established (yep, go ahead and take that hand written schedule off the side of the fridge and reorganize your mommy and me calendar). Mamas, we change too.
Yes, we all have big, beautiful dreams. We don't have to throw them away, maybe their just not going to happen right now. We can work toward them, plan, dream and make our dream a part of our current identity. So maybe a PhD program or executive role isn't going to fit your life right now, ok-it's just right now. Let's live right now and continue to dream about what's next.