Disclaimer: I have an extreme amount of respect for working moms. Mommy wars are silly and motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes, and is filled with all manner of choices and careers. This post is meant as a personal reflection on my own search for identity in my career and in motherhood.
If I had a nickel for every time I had to explain this, I would have probably been able to pay off my student loan debt by now.
I was reading a blog about a mom who found her true calling in motherhood. She said that if she had known this prior to being pressured by her parents and society to get her degree, then she would have opted out of school completely and her and her husband would have started a family a lot sooner than when they actually did. She deemed that time and money spent in school as a complete waste.
This got me thinking about the eight years and $50,000 (that we are still paying off, by the way) that I spent going to college and then pharmacy school. Was it a complete waste of my time? Should I go back to work in order to justify the value of my education? I had a total identity crisis. I guess for the three years that I worked, my career was somewhat the source of my identity. At 23 years of age, I was making a six-figure salary and pretty much had it going on. Who the heck am I now?
"Oh, I'm just a stay-at-home mom." I found myself saying that when people asked me what I do for a living. JUST. Ugh. If only I could remove that word from my vocabulary. I mean, how does one define this "living" that I am apparently "not" making. Am I dead?
Then I realized something: I realized I still have it going on. I have an immensely loving, caring, gorgeous, intelligent, talented, Christ-loving husband who works hard to provide for our family and I absolutely love taking care of him. Together, we have two beautiful, and also incredibly intelligent, daughters (with a third baby on the way) whom I get to nurse, nurture, educate and share my day with without having to miss anything.
I believe in the different seasons of life. I believe that everything happens for a reason. The process of getting my degree and the short amount of time that I spent in my career shaped a lot of who I am today. It was absolutely not a waste of time. Here's why:
1. I made life-long friends during those eight years of school, and those friendships are priceless to me.
2. I made life-long friends at my old job.
3. I learned important life lessons while taking care of sick patients.
4. I learned how to conduct better research.
5. I learned that my hobbies are valuable and I am happy when I have time to completely submerse myself in them.
6. If I would have chosen a different path in life, then I may have never met and married the man of my dreams.
7. I plan on homeschooling our children. I think the education that I have had the privilege of getting gives me the confidence to know that I can, in turn, give them a good education.
8. I learned how to manage my finances.
9. I learned that money does not buy happiness.
A good friend of ours once said this: "Who you are is not as important as whose you are."
It reminds me that I already have my identity, and it lies in Christ.
I am thankful for the time that I got to work as a pharmacist and help people and it does not mean that I will not do it again. But right now, I am so thankful and realize that I am incredibly blessed to have the privilege of being able to stay at home and raise our children. The past 3 years of watching the lives of our children flourish have already gone by so quickly that it frightens me to think about how quickly ten years will pass... and I don't want to miss a thing.
And now, I shall leave you with this last, and incredibly important reason as to why my degree was not a waste of time: I know the real reasons behind why your prescription takes an hour to fill!
An earlier version of this post originally appeared on the City of Hearts.
All photos copyright City of Hearts Photography by Madina Lawlis.