Thursday, 5 December 2013

It's not you, it's me


I’m scared. Alright I’ve said it. It’s out there. I am in the midst of one of those ‘life changing’ moments and I am worried I am about to make the wrong decision. You know the ones, they disturb your sleep and follow you around all day like a dark cloud looming ominously overhead. Your head spins like a tornado as you lament over the possibilities.
Ok, enough with the weather metaphors, what are you on about?  
Well let me explain…
 
For 14 years I have defined myself by my job. The one where you get paid, not my recent unpaid position as Mum, housework doer (I hate the terms housewife and homemaker) and general dogsbody. Without being specific (bear with me but for a number of reasons I can’t actually state my job title) my job was at one stage my dream career. I went to uni specifically to do this and it has been a huge part of my life for the last 14 years (minus 2 years of maternity leave and one of unpaid leave – so really 11 years!). Unfortunately though like I am sure many others before me have experienced my dream job has not turned out as I had hoped. So now on my second period of extended maternity leave I find myself at a crossroads. Grateful that I have a choice, but nonetheless a difficult one.
Come to think about it my career is a lot like a bad relationship.
When you think about breaking up with him you list all the things wrong with the relationship. How he has changed you, made you more cynical, more negative, more untrusting, how he has basically sucked the life out of you and you are worried you will never love again. You are angry and hurt and betrayed. You let yourself be open to him as a young 21 year old and you wonder what kind of person you would be now if it wasn’t for his influence over you. But time passes. You reflect on it again and you realise he probably wasn’t to blame.
You knew what he was like when you met and although things were good at the start you knew a few years in it just wasn’t working. You took time off, took a break from the relationship hoping to find some answers. You came back refreshed but without the resolve and enthusiasm you hoped you would have and instead of making a difficult decision you decided to go back to the familiar. You pushed through the next five years, you hoped things would change and there were good times, but overall your heart wasn’t in it. After all these years together you feel like this bond is a part of who you are, how people define you and in a strange way you like this. You like the way the outside world sees you when you are together and sometimes through other people’s eyes you get a glimpse of how you wish it would be. But it’s fleeting and not the true state of your relationship.
So it’s time. Time to cut the cord. You have different priorities now and you have to let go of the ‘you’ that was. In a lot of ways it was only a fa├žade anyway. That doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be tough. There will be times when your world gets quiet that you will mourn this loss, that thing that defined you is no longer there now. There will be moments when this realisation brings tears and a sense of regret. You will be without a net now, no comfort zone to fall back into. But with time you will find out who the new ‘you’ is, she will be able to believe that there is more good in people than bad. That dreams are possible and that you really do have a life to be grateful for. When the wounds have healed and the ‘you’ that was lurking deep down comes to the surface someone will ask you “What do you do?” and you will stand tall, chest puffed out and say “I am a Stay at Home Mum, sometime blogger, creative wannabe and believer that anything is possible”.
So this is end.* We’ve had some great times over the years, but it’s just not working.
And if anyone asks you why? All you need to tell them is, “It wasn’t you, it was me”.
 
*It is possible that I will change my mind about this decision…this is how I feel today, who knows what tomorrow’s machinations will bring!
Have you struggled with making a decision about your career after kids? Would love to hear your stories.

6 comments:

  1. I really love the quote! Having a baby has actually pushed me over the edge in terms of following my creative/career bliss. My sister and husband have been at me for years, but now seeing things through the Tadpoles eyes... things look different. And possible. Good luck with whatever you decide to do... and just remember, "there's plenty more fish in the sea"!

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    1. Ha! Thanks Sam! Yeah it really does change your perspective doesn't it?!

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  2. Love your analogy about the career being the relationship, gold! Good luck, sounds like you're making decisions for the you of today, not the you of yesterday.

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    1. You are right Rachael, when you put it that way it seems pretty clear what I should do! (But I am sure there will be another 7 months of flip flopping!!). Thanks for the support!

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  3. Having children has put my career on the back burner. There is not one day that I regret changing careers so I can put my kids first. Make the break and throw caution to the wind! This will free up your life to be open to new possibilities and be a happier person to boot :)

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    1. Glad to hear you don't regret your decision to put your career on the back burner Rochelle. I am sure if I can actually stick to a decision for a moment I will feel the same!

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Thanks for your comments!