There were about four things I played when I was little. They involved either being a mommy, being in school, acting out whatever book I was currently reading, or solving some kind of Scooby-Doo mystery.
As I got older, it was clear I had neither the confidence to be an actress nor the cleverness to be a detective. And with no baby daddy in sight, I decided to be a teacher.
I really loved the school environment and being a teacher. I earned my Master’s Degree and had dreams of becoming a college professor.
But I still longed to be a mommy.
Eight years into my teaching career, I met “The One,” my frog prince. We got married, and I wanted to become a mommy right away.
But, it wasn’t that easy. Sure there were a lot of tests I had to take—and many I failed—but there was no set plan or course of action that would eventually land me my dream job.
A year and half into our marriage and a year into our fertility journey, I decided to take my dream job—coordinating a Master’s Degree program for teachers at the University. I could work on my doctorate and eventually become a professor— my often dreamed of grown-up job. If I couldn’t be a mommy, that is.
In some weird twist of fate, right before I was set to move into my on-campus office, I found out I was pregnant with twins.
What to do, what to do . . .I had always imagined myself as a stay-at-home mother, and I had my husband’s green light to do so.
I could still work though, right? The campus had a day care. I would make it work.
But then, at 20 weeks, I had to go on bed rest because of preterm labor. And I found out one of my twins would be born with a birth defect. The choice was harder now.
I tried to work from home, laptop ever by my side. But it was hard. All I could think about were those babies and how I didn’t want to leave them once they were here.
The choice suddenly became some cruel joke: Oh, look, you can have all the things you ever wanted, but only ALL AT ONCE!
The more I thought about it, and the more I thought about the special care one of my sons would need, the more the choice became obvious to me. With fingers trembling and with tears in my eyes, I called my supervisor at the University and told her my decision. I was picking the mommy dream job over the college dream job.
Over a decade later, I am preparing to return to teaching. My old job has been filled by a very capable colleague of mine who has no plans to leave it, and I have a lot to learn about what’s new in education.
But I don’t regret my decision to stay home for one second. Though I’ve not loved every minute of it, I wouldn’t trade any of those minutes. I’ll have to work my way back up the ladder—lots of women do —but I don’t mind. I think I can have it all.
Just not all at once.
What do you think—Can a woman have it all, and all at the same time?