Life on Hold: Enjoy Each Stage

t's birth announcement (2)BY KATHY P. BEHAN

I’ve been restless lately. This is probably due to the recent reports by friends and family of exciting changes and opportunities in their work lives. Some have climbed another rung on the corporate ladder; one of my sisters just got back from a business trip to Switzerland and France, my other sister had a long article published in a national magazine this month.

What have I accomplished lately? Well, I gave birth five months ago to a gorgeous and not-so-little (almost nine pounds) daughter. My time has been spent caring for her, my two sons and all the other miscellaneous duties of running our household. Career-wise however, I’ve done squange.

Raising children is truly the most important task that life can offer — everything else is secondary. I’m proud of my stay-at-home mother status and view my happy, healthy, thriving children with a deep sense of satisfaction. But for me, this isn’t enough. I want to make my mark on my profession as well as on my kids.

The problem is I can’t figure out how to do that now. I’m burning with frustration and desire, but I’m crippled by lack of sleep, time and energy. I know that eventually I’ll be able to do the things that I want when I want to do them. But how will I feel about motherhood then? When the children are older and less demanding of my time, chances are I’ll mourn for the days when they were little and needed me so much.

I guess the lesson here is that there are tradeoffs in everything and to try to enjoy each life stage as fully as you can. While I’m in phase one of motherhood, I’ll just have to put my dreams on hold. Instant gratification has always made a lot of sense to me though, so it won’t be easy to sit out the career dance for a while.

My time will come. I just hope that some of the adages like “patience is a virtue” and “good things come to those who wait” prove to be true. That way I’ll end up not only realizing my career ambitions, but also being a better, more understanding parent as well.

Kathy P. Behan, a mother of three, is a nationally published freelance writer, specializing in health and family issues.

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