Kellen learned how to go down the slide yesterday. He has slid many times before, but this was the first time he put it all together for himself. He climbed the stairs, sat down, pushed off, and whooshed to the bottom. The accomplishment sent him into a fit of excitement. I shouldn’t say him, because he wasn’t the only one clapping and exclaiming “yeah!!”
As I looked upon him beaming with pride, I thought to myself “this is what it is all about.” Most of my blogs make parenting sound like an experiment in sleep deprivation and limitless anxiety. But every single day, I experience moments of wonder as my children learn to do something they couldn’t before. The learning curve is extraordinary. It is strange to bear witness to a creature as he figures out the keys to mobility and communication.
Kellen has an extraordinary vocabulary for an 18 month old. Last week, he went to the pantry and brought me a soda. I took the soda and said “you know you can’t have this.” He pointed at the soda and said “want.” I was taken aback that he could put together that amount of information. I nearly gave in and offered him the can back, merely because I was so proud of his ability.
I write often about my struggles with motherhood, so much so that to someone who does not know me, it would seem that I hate the job. The truth is, I’m in love with it. I know, it’s hard to believe. Don’t worry, dear readers. I’m not abandoning you. I just need to give voice to the gift of motherhood sometimes. We get to watch the process of someone becoming a human being. It is interesting and beautiful and challenging to negotiate. But we get to live that experience daily. How cool is that?
I think about returning to work someday, and I wonder how I will be able to stand it. On my off days, I fantasize about my former cube life, where I had hours to search the internet and play mah jong. Now, instead of being just boring, I imagine it being unbearable- to go from taking part in this life altering process to crafting reports that no one reads. My desk job used to just be tedious. Would it now just feel like a complete waste of time and skill?
Perhaps if I had a challenging career prior to becoming a mother, I wouldn’t feel that way. But I didn’t. I had minimal responsibility jobs that I went to merely to earn a paycheck. It’s not just that my work was boring and repetitive. It made me feel unnecessary. Remember that guy in Office Space stating he did about 15 minutes of real work a day. That was me. The rest of the time, I just tried to look busy. When I took initiative and sought out more work, it clued the bosses to the fact that I wasn’t doing much. I was laid off.
So now, I’m trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know, a little late considering I’m 38. But that means I have at least 30 years of work ahead of me. I’d like to enjoy what I’m doing. It doesn’t have to be the most important job. It doesn’t have to make me a ton of money. But I would like it to have meaning.
I’ve considered teaching. I love kids. My strong suits are polar opposites- I’m creative and I’m organized. Seems like a good match for a teacher. But on the days when two kids make me want to rip my hair out, I wonder what I would do in a classroom of twenty. I don’t want to end up on the 5 o’clock news, “Local teacher on rage fueled crime spree. Last seen a top a McDonald’s play area, waving a whiskey bottle and singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus.’ Details at 11.”
Today, I thought about a lactation consultant. I was surprised to find breastfeeding to be such an empowering experience. I am passionate about feminism and children, so this would seem like a perfect fit. But I wonder if I’d be able to find a job without being an RN. I definitely can’t handle the RN degree. I memorized just enough to pass my basic Biology course, and then promptly thanked the stars that my science credentials were covered.
We should advocate for some new way of thinking. At 18, you have no idea what you want to be. At least I didn’t. I didn’t go to college right out of high school, but for most people I know, college was nothing more than an invitation to drink at all hours of the day and sleep with people you would never associate with in daylight. It would be so wonderful if college was not expected until around 28 years old, when you have experience to know what you want to be, and have drank enough to not be enamored with hang overs.
I know it’s not too late. Hell, I received my AA a week after Kellen was born. But I also know I don’t have twenty years to make a bullshit degree pan out for me. I have two kids of my own to put through college. I kind of need a degree that would actually get me a job, which seems to be tougher and tougher these days.
So what should I be when I grow up? Do you have suggestions for a somewhat crazy, very outspoken, slightly weird, pseudo hippie type, who loves kids and is passionate about feminism? Any advice or connections? Seriously, I’m all ears.