When I found I was pregnant I was ecstatic! I was 30, had been married for just over 4 years and I was ready for the next phase of my life to begin. I couldn’t wait to share the news but was somewhat surprised to have it met with mixed reviews. Two of my close friends (who knew me very well) had almost identical reactions to the news. To paraphrase slightly they both said, “that is great, but I always thought you would do big things in your career first”.
I mean, I realized that I wasn’t handling massive tort litigation, or living out the Law and Order style dramatic court room battles, but I had accomplished my goal of becoming a lawyer and had been hired by a very well-respected firm where I was building a practice and reputation as a respected professional. I sat on boards, was a member of committees, and had been elected to the Planning Commission, but I didn’t think any of that had to change. Now all of a sudden I was questioning whether I had made a MAJOR mistake.
Was I missing something? Were these two dreams mutually exclusive? As much as I had always wanted to practice law, and possibly even enter the realm of politics or become an author, I had also always dreamed of being a mom. That wasn’t something I was willing to compromise on, and as the years passed I knew that I would majorly regret missing my window. Now I was making one dream come true, but was I sacrificing another? I won’t lie, the direction I took with my career, both early on, and subsequent to having children, had been geared towards my desire to “have it all” so-to-speak. I thought I could balance being a great, involved, present mother AND having an amazing, fulfilling, successful career, but honestly, you really can’t have it all, at least not at the same time. Something has to give. Sacrifices have to be made.
As a mother, it became increasingly difficult to make selfish choices. I would want to work late to build my career, to help my clients, but the thought of having 24-48 hours go by without getting to see my child awake tore me apart. Not to mention the extra strain on my spouse, and my marriage. I would love to just hide away on the weekends at a coffee shop and work on the novel that has been writing itself in my head for years, but I would miss that time just being with my little loves.
I’ll be honest I still look at my life as Aldo and Marco’s mommy and wonder if that is enough, or will I someday regret that I didn’t put more time and energy into accomplishing some of my “bigger” aspirations. But the reality is that right now I am happy with the dream that I am living. My children will only be young for a short time, and I hope to have a very long career. I don’t know if I will ever have the “big career” that I may have seen for myself when I was more young and ambitious, but I wouldn’t trade today for anything. So, for now, I am okay with putting those old dreams on hold to be their mommy.