It’s funny how the most frustrating thing about being a stay-at-home mom is also one of the best. Some days I hate not having a job that pays in regular cheques. The dividends of sticky kisses and squishy hugs don’t always seem to cut it. Yet giving up the money-paying job to be at home is what enables me to dream and plan for all the fabulous things I will do once I’m no longer raising little kids. It gives me the time and space to discover where I truly want to go.
Twenty-five, married, at home, with two kids: this is not the path I originally intended for my life.
At age fifteen, I assumed I’d be utterly absorbed in medical school by twenty-five, studying to become the obstetrician/gynecologist that I’d always planned to be, even before I knew the official words for ‘baby deliverer’!
At age seventeen, twenty-five was sooo far away, it didn’t even matter, as long as I was living anywhere but Canada! Preferably bell’Italia, grazie.
At age nineteen, I thought twenty-five would see me back in Brazil – working in Recife, spending weekends at Porto de Galinhas, a dashing brasileiro by my side.
At age twenty-one, I believed wholeheartedly that my twenty-fifth birthday would be spent amid final exams for the last year of law school, embarking on my dream career as human rights lawyer, about to change the world.
At age twenty-two, after my son was born, I began translating ‘baby deliverer’ differently, and believed that midwifery was my calling. I wanted to be part of the growing movement toward natural birth and the taking-back of birth from the hands of male doctors in hospitals.
At age twenty-four, I finished my B.A. in English and history with no idea what to do. Thank goodness it didn’t really matter a lot, because I had my work cut out for me already – a toddler at home, an embryo in utero, a great husband with a good job, a house. And I felt happy with it.
When I look at the changes in my perspective on the world over the past six years, I’m staggered by the progression. My parents warned me of this; they told me that I wouldn’t continue to see things in a particular way. I didn’t like that; I always wanted to believe that I knew exactly what I wanted at any given time, but I’ve learned you can never cling to any one view of life too long before it becomes outdated, no longer appropriate, unfitting. I grew beyond those goals and moved onto better-suited experiences, each and every time.
Now that my education and travel experiences have slowed down somewhat and plopped me into the midst of a rather long-term investment, the dreams continue to flourish. My latest aspirations are being a full-time writer and author, owning a bookstore or an espresso bar owner or a homemade artisan gelato shop or a pizza shop, studying to be a chef, running a bed-and-breakfast, working as a musician, librarian, teacher, activist, traveler.
And, of course, the eternal dreams of human rights law and midwifery will never disappear completely. They continue to pop up as a reminder of the ambitious young woman I once was (not that I’m not ambitious anymore – I’m simply using my energy for other purposes right now) and beg for accountability: “Make me come true! Prove you can still do it!” Ahh, the possibilities are both overwhelming and terribly exciting.
For now, though, I mean to learn to appreciate the space – both mental and physical – that separates me from the ‘rat race’ and enables me to figure out where I can best use my particular gifts and talents to make a difference in the world, when that time comes. Already I know I’m better prepared for the world than I was at nineteen or twenty-two, so imagine how much better it will be when I’m thirty, or even forty.