I have heard it all before. Can you have it all? The age old dilemma for women after having children is that internal debate to either stay at home or be out in the work force. Sometimes you don't have a choice. Sometimes you do. But either way, it's not easy.
For years infertility stole any impulse for my career. I would turn down jobs because of IVF. I would take a project but wished I didn't have to work and could just have a family. I put off taking a heavy stressful full-time job thinking I can't get maternity leave after just starting a new job. In the midst of all the shots, doctor appointments, and pregnancy losses, I lost sight of what my career was going to be. It wasn't my priority.
Now after 2 weeks of working on a freelance project, I am beginning to think about how I can balance motherhood and work. I keep hearing how there is this divide among mothers - those who work and those who do not. There are judgements and insecurities about both decisions. I hear complaints about women who can't imagine not staying at home and providing made-from-scratch everything for their child. Others take offense to working mothers who condescend to stay-at-home-moms.
I have decided to remain Switzerland on this subject. I have yet to enter into the larger mommy world because we are still staying at my parent's house and our baby is so young for it to be relevant. Isn't it just important to do what makes you happy? Maybe there is too much gray in that idea, which is ultimately why maybe women never quite feel satisfied with these options. It's not just about my happiness now, it's about my daughter and my husband too. Before it was expected that women stay at home. Then it was expected that you work too. Now it seems really up to you which way to go. The judgements and subtle jabs that women give each other only really come from a feeling of not being able to do it all. When you are at home all the time you might feel like your career is slipping away. When you are working you might feel you are missing precious moments with your baby. No win situation.
My plan is to find as many cool parents who are chilled out and open-minded. There are parents who judge or compete or preach or brag or compare children. These types of people just make you feel bad, so I plan to stay away from these parents as best I can. The last thing I want is to question myself, especially with all my infertility baggage. With so many levels of concerns about your baby - a) keeping them alive b) making sure they develop healthy and strong c) nurturing them for the person they will grow to become, you just have to do what feels right to you.
So my newest challenge is riding the roller coaster of making decisions about my career while trying to be the best mom I can. Again, better than the roller coaster ride of IVF. Luckily, part of what infertility has taught me is to tune out the noise. It has taught me well that the definition of motherhood is an infinite amount of things.