I have been struggling with this present and impending redefinition of who I am. This morning, while reviewing my bank account, I came to the realization that in all reality, my part-time salary covers so little of our expenses that it might as well not exist. I flashed back to a time when I had a nicer title, a nicer salary, a more “professional” (and full-time) job with a tidy little office, and I began to really feel like a bit of a failure. I have to remind myself some days that I chose this. That we are okay with this. That my value does not have to carry a dollar sign in front of it.
I went and sat next to him for a moment, and told him what I was thinking. That I feel like my job is a joke. Going to work is absurd when I am not contributing enough money or respect to our family with what I am doing. That I feel like a failure. And asked him again if I should get a “real job” after the baby is born. Clear-eyed, he said, “Being a mom is a real job.” And I realized yet again that I must find a different way to measure my value. To measure my freedom. To know that I am contributing enough. I am still working on how to do that.
I am wondering what it will be like to not get up at 4:30 or 5 in the morning and drive somewhere to earn money. What will it be like to have my morning to do list include things like “make breakfast”, rather than “grade exams” or “run such-and-such report”? Do people even eat breakfast during the week? What does that day look like? And how, exactly, does one place a value on changing diapers, or doing laundry, or growing food? Am I giving up some part of my freedom? My independence? My identity? Or is it only a change in how those things are measured?
Sometime in the next month or so, I will stop working until at least June. Sometime in the next four to seven weeks, I will welcome my daughter into the world. Sometime between now and then, I hope to reconcile all of this, and hopefully find some peace in these changes.