Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"What's up?" "Oh, not much..."

How do I really answer that? The bar exam's coming, we might be trying to conceive, and (or?) I will be job hunting, and we want to think about where we'll move once this apartment gets too small. Who wants to overwhelm the casual questioner, though. So, all that merits an "Oh, not much."

I guess if I break it down, the bar's first. Who knows about how the getting-pregnant versus getting-a-job thing will go. I don't! That's somewhat scary. But I think it will all work out.

To be honest... I hope it works out better for me than it did for my mom. She had my sibling and me, and didn't really go back to nursing. She did work outside the house part time, off and on, while I was in school, but it wasn't doing anything she cared about. I know she loved being a mom more than anything else, and I can see that happening with me, but I also know that I didn't get all this education to not use it and contribute to the world in that way, too. What a struggle.

Edited to add: I just read Opinionista's blog, and there's an entry that totally speaks to this. Apparently, she had an argument with a friend of hers who, at 23, is a mother. Opinionista is climbing the corporate law ladder. As she tells it, they ended up making snide remarks at each other for their life choices, and then confessed their unhappiness and fears around their *own* lives.

Which, I think, pretty much sums it up. There's no perfect answer; there are always compromises. We make our choices, and there are always things we lose. But this is a culture in which we are trained to see what we don't have, so that we're always wanting more. It's unusual to be grateful for what we do have. Sure- if you choose the corporate law job on partner track, you're not going to be there for many important moments of your kids' lives. If you choose to be a stay at home parent, you're not going to rise in the ranks of corporate America, and you likely won't be making the money or enjoying the status that accompanies such positions. Gain and loss go hand in hand, and that's all right. People make their own choices about what's important.

I don't need to have it all. I don't need to feel guilty for the choices I make if I'm happy with those choices. I don't need to judge others for their choices.

And knowing that is really empowering. I don't have to do *everything*, I can just do what I want to create the life I want. It's definitely going to be different from others, but that's what makes life interesting, right?