April 23, 2014

A new season

by Michele Dortch

Yesterday I had a moment. I was doing something ordinary and practical. I was being proactive, trying to keep my work-life in order. It was a functional sort of day. No biggie. But really…it was HUGE and I didn’t understand that until after it was done. What did I do?

I turned in the kindergarten registration papers for my youngest child and was unexpectedly flooded with sadness and joy.

I’ve done this twice before, so sending a child to school isn’t new to me. It shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

I remember with my first (she’s nearly 9 now), I cried. Ok, I sobbed. My baby was going to school! When my second, who will be 7 next month, went off to kindergarten I didn’t cry. I felt badly about this, as if I should give equal emotions to each of my kids for these important milestones. Now, with my third, youngest and last child…I’ve returned to the all-consuming emotions that flooded me with my first.

It’s funny. I’ve been looking forward to this year for awhile. For the last several years I’ve put my career on the back-burner while I focused on raising the kids. Admittedly, I never really let my career go – completely. I struggled to say good-bye to work that defined me, only to engage in a role where I felt less equipped. I have two college degrees and a mass of post-graduate certificates, but none of that prepared me for motherhood! So, I continued to work part-time and have anxiously awaited my son’s entrance into kindergarten for some time.

And now, it’s nearly here. In seven months, my son will be in kindergarten and I’ll have nearly full days to myself – five days a week! I’m overjoyed at the prospect of ramping my career back up. Yet, I’m consumed with sadness as I realize that my kids are growing up – fast. This Fall I’ll have a 4th grader, 2nd grader and kindergartner. And to think, I still remember holding each of them as tiny babies – the smell, the touch, the essence of all that angelic baby love – oh, it’s so sweet and still strong in my memory! And that’s when I cry.

Off-ramping my career during my kids’ pre-school age changed me though. I’m still ambitious. I still strive to achieve goals that stretch me – personally and professionally. But, my priorities are different. Before it was work first. Today, it’s family first. So as I enter into this next season of working motherhood, I do it with joyful anticipation and a hint of sadness that yet another season has ended.

image credit: flickr/joiseyshowaa

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The near death of motherhood

by Michele Dortch

It’s no wonder that motherhood is sometimes a struggle. We spend so much time strangling her into compliance (i.e. “my way”) that she rarely has room to breathe. She chokes up. She gasps for air. She begs to be let alone.

Just for a moment.

Still, you grasp her firm because it’s your life and motherhood keeps blindsiding you. She’s messin’ up your flow! But you misunderstand her intentions. She needs you, after all. You, dear mother, are the vehicle from which she can flourish. Without you, she can’t breathe life into those beautiful children of yours. But it’s a paradox. It’s because of you, she can’t breathe.

Yesterday, I strangled motherhood. It started early – 4 o’clock in the morning early. And before I even opened my eyes, my mind was racing. I shot up from bed. The day ahead was busy, starting with a 7 o’clock dentist appointment for my four year old. But I was prepared and ready to take charge of my day. I was in control.

By 9 o’clock, my day was unraveling as unexpected events struck me from every angle, yet I was determined to maintain control and do what I set out to do. After all, “If it’s meant to be; it’s up to me!”

By 4 o’clock, I was exhausted, irritable and on the verge of a meltdown. The day was hard. Trying to strangle motherhood was tough work! She wouldn’t back down. She insisted that I change, do things differently, and what? She wanted me to slow down?! She must not have seen my long list of to-do’s. She must not care about my dreams. She’s…a…meanie! (To put it into the words of my kids.)

By 8 o’clock, I crashed into a crumpled heap and fell asleep. Too tired to plan tomorrow after a hellish today.

This morning I woke up with a fresh mind, regretful for having nearly killed motherhood the day before. Before rising from my bed I paused to silently apologize to her. I promised that today I would release my control of her and do my best to follow her lead. Motherhood isn’t my enemy. We could work together, we agreed.

Repented and whole once again, my day began and it’s been good.

image credit: pareeerica

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We love publishing diverse articles from diverse men and women. If you have something to say and would like your voice heard on We of Hue, please head here to submit and article or here to inquire about joining our team of talented regular authors.

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