Sunday, July 22, 2012

Identity Crisis

The other night I met a lady with one daughter about graduate school age. She is a librarian so we talked about that for a little while. Then she asked what I did. The look on her face when I said, "I'm a mom" was priceless. I then probably explained more than necessary by saying that we homeschooled and had 3 boys. Everyone at the table seemed to accept my answer as ok because I have 3 relatively young boys. But I wonder if my answer would have been ok if I would have had girls or if I would have just had one or two children?
She then found out through conversation that I used to teach in the classroom. She asked if teaching in the classroom was easier than homeschooling. Everyone at the table seemed surprised that I said it was the opposite. I taught for 6 1/2 years in the classroom and if I could have my way I would be retired from teaching. If or when I ever have to go back to work, I don't know what I'll do, but I really do not want to go back to teaching.
It would be one thing if Ram and I had never been blessed with children if I remained teaching in the classroom. But I just don't feel I would do a great job teaching in the classroom now that I have children because my family is more important to me. Could I do a good job teaching in the classroom with a family? Yes. But even when my boys are older they will still need parents-it will just be a different kind of need than now.
Most other jobs besides teaching have set hours and you don't have to bring papers home to grade and do lesson planning after hours. When I taught we were almost more busy in the summer than we were during the school year planning and preparing our classrooms and trying to do as much as possible to make the school year easier (make copies, etc.). I know that you do what you have to do if you have to. But I would find it really hard to be motivated to do that after hours and summer work with a family.
Ram's mom had to work some when her boys were young. She returned to college for a few years when they were older. After her time in college she has not worked outside the home. She still has a hard time answering the question, "What do you do?" I think it will be easier for her once Ram's dad retires. But that shows me that if I don't return to work it is such a foreign way of thinking for the working women that I will always have trouble answering this question.
Along with this, most people in our new church don't know that I've had 5 miscarriages. I assume that they think that we quit with 3 boys willingly. They have no idea that before we were married Ram wished for 6 children, I wished for 4, and we joked that we should compromise with 5. I know I shouldn't worry about things in the future, but as our boys get older I wonder if my answer of being "just a mom" will be acceptable.


Karen said...

Some people will accept and even encourage you to be a mom with older children. Other people will look at you as wasting your life.
When your children have graduated, you could always say that you're retired. ;)

I have friends who have graduated all their homeschooled children and are now empty-nesters. They have struggled with finding their identity. Their struggles have made me look at the changes occurring in our family as the kids get older. My friends told me to find interests that are not based on my children.

Anonymous said...

I do find that people question my staying home more now than when the kids were younger--I used to be able to brush that off with a laugh: "Oh! There's no way we could afford daycare for all these little kids!" Now. . .I suspect some people think my husband is overpaid because we can "afford" for me to stay home. Not true--as you know, we make different financial choices and sacrifices in order to keep me home with the kids.
I received your box of fabric the other day--thanks for thinking of me! I did end up passing it on, though, as I've been trying to pare down my own stash in hopes of moving at some point. :)