Re-ordering priorities

Standing by my bed under yellow light bulbs, my feet were killing me. It was a long day. Folding a million tiny pieces, I longed to wave a magic wand so everything would be done and I could rest my weary feet. Except I couldn’t find my magic wand or conjure up my pixie. Sighing, I picked up the phone and dialed a friend. She wasn’t around. I kept calling friends in succession all of whom seemed to have disappeared this Sunday night or decided my caller id was enough to keep them away from the phone. Trying one last number I was thrilled to hear a voice at the other end. Mommy of twins herself, I could sense that she was busy from her voice. We spoke briefly before I decided to give up all attempts at finding company while the humongous pile before me refused to shrink.

In that small conversation she said something that set me thinking. Perhaps it is something in the air. Thoughts surrounding priorities, feminism, motherhood and career have been darting in and out of my mind over the past few weeks. Mad Momma wrote this post about the choice she made.

I feel like I am at crossroads. There is one side to me that wants to go all out. Capitalize on the MBA, look for opportunities and make my corporate dreams come true. There is another side that plays devil’s advocate. Raises uncomfortable questions. Makes me pause and think. It is not about working or staying home. It more about learning to be content and re-ordering priorities than to try to be super mom and do it all. I have more than a few friends who have chosen to pass up advancement opportunities in order to be better available to their families. While I did not understand their reasons then, I do now. Yet, there is this small voice inside of me that pipes up. Why can’t I have it all?

Why indeed? Why do I feel career advancement can only come at the cost to family time? I wonder if fathers feel the same way as mothers do, that career advancement can only come at a cost. As for the people who say they have it all, I wonder what is it that they are secretly compromising on. 🙂 Perhaps they have learnt to outsource the meal planning and home keeping to other people? How thin can one spread themselves? If work starts feeling like a chore, is the advancement even worth it?

Perhaps, over time I will find a happy medium or re-order my priorities so I feel like I have a win-win situation? Till then the questions remain.

If you have an opinion chime in. Am all ears!

8 comments

  1. I believe that dreams that fulfil your soul should not be compromised.
    But I think a happy medium and taking as much help as possible is the
    solution.
    My sis who has twins ( turned 5 years now) always had someone to come and clean the home twice a week, and a gardner to trim the lawn once a month. Recently she got a promotion and has people whose work she has to supervise, and now with the kids starting public school where they don’t provide lunches, she now has extra work , make and pack all lunches and help with their homework everyday.
    So she has someone come by to cook her meals in the eve. 6-8(while she helps with their home work ). But she happens to live in the Bay area where she easily got an Indian woman ready to cook for $5/ hr.
    So I guess there is way always, if we badly want something.
    My few thoughts…

  2. It depends on who you are and your priorities and most importantly the support system and work situation. I was lucky that i was able to work from home till my kid was 2 years old, but after a job change, having to leave a 2 1/2 yr old at day care was heart wretching. But now that he is nearly 5 i do not feel guilty. Moms need “me time” too.

    But yes you need a teriffic support system at home, otherwise its conflicting. And am pretty sure men do not feel the same way or atleast to the same degree. Somehow, even if the husband is helpful around the house and does everything for the kid, men do not quit to stay at home in any culture. (May be 1 in a million might do ). I feel what men may feel for their children is different from what a women feels, it might be a very very small difference, but it is there!

  3. thanks for linking up. i hate to think i added to your confusion. one small thing – i dont think its a mom-dad thing. its what you want for your child. very few men are liberated enough to act upon the thought that they want more time with their kids. but i do know many men who have chosen slow track careers so that they can attend PTAs and pick up kids. often i stop to wonder why cant i have it all? and then i realise that i do. personal growth doesnt have to be about money. i get to read, i am in touch with the news, i can do bits of work – and thus i get intellectual growth too. its not what satisfies everyone, but it does satisfy me. i guess we need to break out of the conditioning that tells us personal growth and intellectual fulfillment must involve a job and monetary remuneration

  4. Ahh..the choices of “moms”!
    I think you should read “7 habits of highly effective people”. My teacher used to go on and on about it…he said that once you reach a stage where you are working, have kids and its all too much to take..you should read this one.
    I havent read this myself so dont know how much of a difference would it make but I’ll tell you what my teacher did. He had just become a father and chose not to take too many work related responsibilities so he could give enough time to his daughter. He said that Family and relationships with his wife and baby meant more to him than career at that point so took he a decision in that step. Its all about prioritizing!

  5. It depends on your priorities, nature of work , support you get from your spouse/family and your energy level. To balance career advancement and family time you definitely need to compromise at least little in one of the area. And as far I see compromise by men in our culture is not allowed :D.
    BTW in our community we do have a non-Indian, full-time, stay-home dad taking of his 3 kids.

  6. No one has it all. At least not at the same time. To me, it’s not about who does the stuff…I want to be here to enjoy the time with the kids. The fact that my husband can would not make a difference to me in the least. I quit a job I loved in May, both to be with the kids and to work on part one of Plan PhD, something that I hope I can combine well with parenting.

    What I have realized is that the work will be around in another 10 years, my kids will be out of the house (and/or have no time for us!). For now, this works well for me. Either ways, you will figure it out and it will work out. It is not like children of working mothers are delinquents or all saints in the world have mothers who stayed home – if you know what I mean.

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