I am a lucky woman. I live in a time and a place where I was encouraged to attend high school, college, and graduate school. I chose the career I wanted, just because I wanted it. I’m allowed to vote and drive. I was able to buy a house and live in it by myself. I’m fully aware that some women in the world today do not have these options, and hoards more have been denied these options in the past.
I am proud of my achievements, and I have always been thankful that others (including my parents and grandparents) paved the way for me to have choices and make the decisions that I wanted to make.
And now, I want to change my mind. I want to spend my time and energy raising a curious, smart, energetic toddler. I want to show her the world and inspire her the way my mother inspired me, and I don’t just want to do it for an hour or two in the evenings. I want to quit my full time teaching job and be a full-time, stay-at-home mom.
But now, I’m torn between the expectations of my friends and family, my own ambitions, and my heart. My father said, “You’d be a fool to give up that job.” and maybe that is true. Maybe we will struggle financially, and maybe I’ll regret my decision. Maybe staying at home with Grace will be boring, and I will hate it. But these will be the consequences of a decision that I made.
My own ambition and sense of pragmatism also dislike my resigning to stay at home. I have student loans to pay and a Ph.D. to earn, and staying home a few years will make both harder. Plus, as a teacher, I have a terrific benefits and a retirement plan that I could tap into around age 55 – if I work straight through until then. Unfortunately, my heart says, “Stay home! Be with this child!” and I think it knows what it’s talking about.
I’m proud of myself for doing so much in such a short time, and I’m grateful to all of the people who worked hard to ensure I’d be able to. Thanks to them, I have ability to decide for myself.
Now we all have to live with the choice I’ve made.
© 2008 – 2010, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.