I saw a PostSecret recently. It was a postcard of the Stanford campus and said, “Stanford. I am ashamed to admit to my friends that even though I go to one of the top universities in the country, all I want to do is be a stay at home mom.”
I may not have attended one of the top universities in the country, but I was accepted into one of the most rigorous professions. I worked hard to be admitted to veterinary school. I studied and trained through blood, sweat, and tears to become a veterinarian. I also struggled through blood, sweat, and tears to become a mother, and the day I gave birth and held my child as a mother I hold in infinitely higher regard than the day I walked across the stage and held my diploma as a veterinarian.
While I whole-heartedly intended on practicing for a good many years, when I had a child, all that changed.
I define myself as a veterinarian and a mother, and while there are many who succeed at combining the two, the demands of each in my case have fought a battle of time and love. On the one hand I want my child to see me working, having a career. I do not want to lose the knowledge and skills I worked so hard to gain. But on the other hand, I want to be there for my child, to be present, to be a teacher and a mother. In the end, mother > veterinarian, for now.
My child is only going to be young for a short time. Maybe when my child starts school, I will be able to make amends with my veterinarian-self and reconcile mother and veterinarian to go back to work. In the meantime, I am privileged and oh-so-fortunate to be able to be a stay at home mom. While I was ashamed to say it before, I will proudly say it now, “I love being a stay at home mom.”
I hope the Stanford student can work through her shame as I have done (although some shame will always linger in the background, when seeing old classmates, friends, colleagues), and realize that being a stay at home mom is a worthy endeavor to be proud of.
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