Thursday, March 05, 2009

Part Two... the past few days

(I'm gonna have to keep up with things here, otherwise there will be MANY more installations in "the past few days"... as it's now been almost a week... oh well).

Ever since I can remember, I've wanted to be a mama. I loved baby dolls, playing house and pretending to be a mommy. I don't recall being concerned in the slightest about the Daddy Figure until high school - it was assumed in my young mind that there was a Daddy, of course - but I didn't dwell on romantic notions of true love. It was all about Mama.

When I was old enough, I started babysitting - and loved it. I volunteered in the church nursery from junior high until last year. I led vacation bible school classes for preschoolers, watched other people's babies and small children, and loved snuggling little bodies close any chance I could get. People told me I was good with kids and babies - and I was. And I loved it. It was a calling that felt beyond me, almost... like I was born to hang out with little kids, born to be Mama.

By contrast, I didn't decide on the Academic Adviser career path until sometime in graduate school (a difference of two decades at least in terms of my Vocational Calling Timeline). That process was much more exploratory and experience-based. I knew from several previous jobs that I wanted to get a higher education administration degree. So I did. From there I gathered experience in Residence Life, Student Life, teaching and more - and decided to pursue jobs in academic affairs. Experience, thought and reflection led me to academic advising - not a burning passion or gift that I was born with.

Last Friday I spent a full day with my former peers and coworkers. We talked "shop" and I was transported back into the mindset of Professional Katie at her Old Job. People were glad to see me, still valued my input, and I was reminded that (despite my lack of "divine calling" to the profession) I had been a talented and respected member of the advising team.

When I juxtapose that feeling - that slightly wistful remembrance - with my hodge-podge of emotions regarding my New Job... I don't know quite what conclusion to draw.

You see, even though I dreamt of being Mama my ENTIRE LIFE, and had this so-called natural gift with babies... the reality of being a Mama exists in so many days that feel so very far beyond me. I am shocked - and often deeply unsettled, to be honest - at how frequently I feel grossly incompetent. I NEVER expected parenthood to be easy - but I did expect it to feel a bit more natural, more instinctual. But there are days when an incredibly fussy and tired baby simply cannot be talked into naptime... and there are nights when my baby daughter awakes, teething and in pain, and nothing - NOTHING - I do will comfort her.

I feel so lost in those moments - so unsure of myself and my abilities. It often seems prideful and silly in the light of day when things are running along smoothly... but the truth is that I sometimes seriously wonder why I'm not better at this. If I was so meant to be a Mama - why can I not comfort my child when she's in pain? Why can I not calm her down and lay her in bed for a naptime without shrieking and tears? Why do I struggle so hard to see the bigger picture, to gain the wider perspective... why, when I know that this is a phase, and a tough one at that, do I I feel so guilty for not enjoying myself more? I have been given a beautiful gift in this little girl, and the child growing within me... how selfish and self-involved am I that I do not revel daily in my ability to be at home and take care of them??

This is why Friday's experiences unsettled my brain so much. I felt myself longing for the easier days of my Old Job. Days when I knew how good I was, knew what was expected, knew how to get the job done and done well.

But I don't want to go back. I love my New Job and I intend to keep it for as long as possible. But in order to do that, and to do it well (something that is extremely important to me, no matter what the task I'm tackling) I have to be focused. I felt my gaze torn between professional life and home life last week - and I can't grow in this New Job if I'm torn. I need to re-center and refocus and find ways to delight in the day-to-day happenings of my current role. And that's way tougher to do than it was before.

Stay tuned for Part Three... hopefully the last installment! Thanks for hanging in there for so long today!

1 thoughts:

Dilyn said...

love you katie b :)