Having it all?

There is a nagging feeling that many people have, most likely around age forty, which comes from being out of balance in some way. Feminists tell us the feeling is due to our oppression. Christians tell us that the feeling is due to missing our heavenly home. Psychologists tell us that the feeling is some sort of existential, mid-life crisis due to thinking about our mortality and what we have not yet accomplished. Economists, especially nowadays, tell us that we have a niggling feeling that something is wrong because we are in a recession. Talking heads on morning newsmagazines give us ideas to help us move up the ladder/please our boss/deal with coworkers/quit or get a job. We are also told that the key to finding balance is to be better/more efficient/more progressive/more traditional/more satisfied mothers. Our mothers tell us to get over it because we cannot have it all. Our friends seem to have it all.
Several years ago I completed a research project that explored why women in professional careers would quit their job to go home to rear their children full-time. Most of the women that I interviewed echoed the same theme – you cannot have it all because, for women, “having it all” is too much. More than over-whelming; it is over-bearing. Different from mommy guilt, trying to have it all is simply too hard – logistically, emotionally, physically, psychologically. There are only so many hours in the day and spreading oneself as thin as you have to in order to have a successful, professional career AND be a successful mother does not produce a happy, satisfied, calm, balanced person. Thus, for the women in my project (physicians, attorneys, CPAs, professors, and business women), having it all was not the neat and easy solution that slick magazines and celebrities want us to believe. Since the women in my project couldn’t quit their children, they quit their jobs. But, after accomplishing so much in their careers, how can that transition be successfully managed?
Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that I would be in the exact same situation. After being single for twenty of my adult years while getting an education and building a career, I married the love of my life. My love’s son lives with us so the minute I became a wife, I was also a mother of a young teenager (with no experience). Four months later, I became pregnant. For reasons primarily due to the economy and the characteristics of my profession, I kept my job which was two hours away. After four and a half years of commuting once a week and being apart from my family at least one night a week, I quit my full-time position to stay home. While I am able to keep part-time employment by telecommuting from home, the fulfillment of a career and the financial stability that goes along with it are gone. In a matter of five years, I got everything that I wanted but lost myself.
Now, at forty-five, I find myself questioning everything in my life. While on paper I seem to have the things that most people desire, I do not feel fulfilled. I am not alone in this feeling. The way that I have gotten to it may be somewhat unique but the feeling, most assuredly, is not. So, here I sit, alone in my home office trying to stem the tide of dissatisfaction.
Hopefully, this blog – http://www.geauxmommy.wordpress.com – will be a sort of self-therapy. If others can relate and enjoy the journey along with me, all the better.

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