Monday, April 21, 2008

How I Feel About My Job

You know my tenth college reunion is upon me. I am excited about reconnecting with old friends and meeting spouses and seeing pictures of children and kissing a few babies. If I am totally honest, I'm also a little apprehensive. I mean it's been ten years and what do I have to show for it? I'm a stay at home mom with machine washable labels on my clothes, an unused Master's degree that I'm still paying for, dishpan hands, and a few wrinkles.
I was fortunate to meet my husband in college. We married young and more or less grew up together during our twenties. After a year chasing a corporate ideal that was never going to happen, I cheerfully got married, and not so cheerfully started traveling with him to pursue his career. They say the early years are the sweetest. Maybe so in some ways. We were young and in love. But I was miserable taking a bunch of dead end jobs and I felt left out of the whole "what are doing with your life" race. So, with my husband's full support I went back to graduate school.
I loved becoming a speech-language pathologist. I finished my degree and was ready to embark on my new found career--and had to move again! This time we moved to a city that has the number one university program for speech-language pathology in the country. A state that turns out over 150 graduates in speech path a year. Needless to say the job market was saturated. Again I was disappointed. But then something else amazing happened. I got pregnant. Daycare was exorbitantly expensive and I had no family to fall back on at the time. Without a secured job it was foolish to even think of working. So I stayed home that first year. Again I was delayed in my future career. I don't regret that decision though. I learned so much about life. I think my son and I will be the better for it someday.
When we finally moved to the place we call home, I started my career. Putting my one year old in day care was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But it was the right decision. I had to complete my clinical work or face starting all over again from scratch. I became pregnant again about 5 months before I finished my hours. Doggedly I finished the hours and am the proud owner of a Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology. It looks nice on my wall. I haven't signed the first document as CCC-SLP, but I'm hopeful it will happen.
Currently, I am a stay at home mom. I do crave working, but I know that being at home in this moment is the right choice for now. I hope to go back to work again, but I have all I can say grace over at home.
So when people ask me what I'm doing at this reunion, I'm going to say I'm an engineer in child growth and development. Many will laugh and ask to see my kids' pictures. Some will not get the joke. Others will think, oh what a waste. It's okay. I've been in all of those moments before. Right now, I'm changing the world one diaper at a time. During the writing of this blog I have wiped a bottom, wiped a nose, consoled a baby, played trains, and have been invited to play in the play tent (a coveted invitation) after I finish my "work on the computer". It's not glamorous. It's not always that much fun. But my boys are gifts that keep on giving. I can't imagine my life without my them. I have high hopes of returning to my career, but I'm not going to quit my day job.

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