I hate hearing myself think this (yes, I hear myself think). HATE IT. Generally, it happens at night, when I’m tired – when Droidlet is asleep and I’ve been lesson planning/working on my thesis/hunting for better paying jobs for far too long and I stumble across something that sounds awesome:
Teach English overseas! Join the PeaceCorps! Be an assistant to a crazy 86 year old author woman who lives in a mansion in Agoura Hills! Be a free lance writer!
And I think in my head, “I would…if I didn’t have a baby.”
I promised myself when I got pregnant that I would never use Droidlet as an excuse. Yes, there would be reasons that are tied to him for why I may have to cancel a girls’ night or not go on a weekend adventure up North, but none of those would be Droidlet’s “fault” and instead, a decision I make for what is best for my family. Yet, here I sit in front of the computer, with lots of interesting, random events and opportunities popping up in front of me and all I can think is “I would…if…”
Where did I go?
Of course, I am realistic. PeaceCorps is not in the cards for me anymore but that's not just because of the little bot but because of my educational pursuits, my relationship with Funk, and my closeness with my family. A good balance? Supporting my cousin whole-heartedly as she entertains this as a possible path for herself while I continue to navigate my own revised plan.
Before getting pregnant, I talked a lot about getting my PhD or MFA – definitely furthering my education. And aside from “Is Droidlet sleeping through the night yet?” and “How is your thesis going?” the most common question I get is “So, are you, um, still gonna go for that PhD?” in a very why the hell would you do that to yourself? kind of way. And for that half-split-very-miniscule-itty-bitty-second, I almost think “I would…if I didn’t have a bab-“ and then I catch myself.
YES. Yes, I am still going to get a PhD. Now, the path to that PhD may have changed a little bit. I still need to decide whether I’m going to enter a program immediately, or when Droidlet starts school, or when he leaves for college, or when/if I become a grandma. I haven’t figured out the when of it, but I do know it’s going to happen. I am not done attending school, I am not done learning, and although those two things aren’t mutually inclusive, I love having them intertwined.
So, why would I let “having a baby” get in the way of smaller decisions?
I think part of it is battling what society tells me I need to be as a mother. Droidlet should come first, in every single way – my goals should become secondary in order to let him have a fulfilled life with all the opportunities he needs. Of course, I don’t believe this. I think him seeing me teach and write and pursue research and education will be just as enriching if I was able to stay home and school him myself. He’ll be able to do fieldtrips to the universities I speak at and will learn about other people needing their space to write and think and create. Hopefully, he’ll learn a respect for reading, writing, and research because he grows up in a home with an “academic” (whatever that turns out to mean for us…).So, it’s time to get that excuse out of my head, remove it from my repertoire of silly excuses and justifications that bounce around up there. “Want to take a hike, Rachael?” Why, yes! I’ll just strap the baby to my back and make sure to stop and feed him every hour to prevent altitude sickness and yay! he gets to start to foster a love for the outdoors. “Rachael, want to try for this crazy job opportunity?” Why, yes! I’ll work out a flexible schedule and maybe a work-from-home time so that I can be both mama and awesome writer-making-money-lady! "Hey, why don't you try to publish some of your work?" Why, yes! This is the scariest thing ever, ever but during Droidlet's naps I can research journals and maybe, just maybe, some of my thesis work can be sent to publishers! And the list goes on. Because the possibilities are endless.