On facing down the future…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. Maybe more than I should. I tend to do it a lot. I’m the person that plans so far in advance that I often forget to stop and enjoy what I’m doing right now. It’s been a point of contention in various relationships and friendships throughout my life.

I digress.

I’ve been out of the corporate game for three years now (Facebook has been reminding me all week) and I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what would happen if I ever wanted or needed to rejoin the work-force. I loved working. I was good at working. It helped that I loved my job and was as appreciated as I was good at it. But now that I have a huge gap in my resume, I have to think about how, exactly, I’ll make myself a desireable candidate once again. The one thing I keep coming back to is…grad school. I’m going to have to get my Master’s.

It’s actually exciting to think about. My husband has recently started his undergraduate work as he starts to think about his future, post-Navy. As much as my undergraduate experience was whacky and stressful, I sometimes really miss being in school. (As an aside: I wonder if that’s a family tic, loving being a post-graduate student? We all seem to really enjoy it, especially my brother, whom I’m convinced is just going to be professional student for the rest of his life.)

But then I think: what will happen to the stay-at-home-mom that I’ll have become? As much as I try to make sure that facet of me doesn’t consume every other part of me right now, I worry that if I go back to work, the working girl facet will consume everything. I worry about missing field days and field trips. I worry about not being home when my kids get home. I worry about having to work overtime and missing games or concerts or meets. I worry about babies getting sick and not having the time to take off to care for them. I worry about not being able to take quality vacations as a family.

I know that parents do it all the time. In fact, I’d wager to say the majority of parents do it. It’s a select few that are able to stay at home and be 100% invested in their child’s life from sun up to sun down. I consider myself extrememly lucky to be among the even fewer that are able to stay at home by choice. But it doesn’t stop me from worrying about how I will do it. I’ve long said: “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at once.” And I believe that. It’s just that, now that the statement applies to me, it makes me angry. It sort of makes me regret ever saying it to any other mother struggling with this very issue. It’s another crappy platitude in the motherhood universe that doesn’t really help the situation at hand. So, apologies to the many women I’ve said this to in an attempt to help you come to terms with your family situations.

However, I also don’t think any of that should stop me from pursuing my educational goals. I still think I should get my Master’s. I still think I’m going to re-enter the workforce at some point in the next 5-8 years. I still think I need to make myself as valuable and as marketable as possible.

And I kind of think everything else is a bridge my family and I will cross when we get to it.

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