Wednesday, May 03, 2006

food for thought

I eat my breakfast in front of the computer every morning with the news in the background , checking e-mail and getting in my fun computer time before kids and chores and errands and other things call to me. The last read for today was the best. Smartmama was talking about her thankfulness to the feminist movement because it opened a world of choices to her. In her words:

I am a woman, a smart woman, I don't want another woman to speak for me. I have a voice, my own voice. The press may not quote me, like Linda Hirschman, so my voice may not be as loud- many whispers can create a great sound--I am one woman just as she is, of equal importance, with a voice as unrelenting, as strong and as valid- Don't pity me, don't trouble yourself that society has done me wrong, don't fear I may never escape this domestic drudgery and become enlightened--This life, as a mother, as a mother who stays home, is my choice. I walked away from a tenure track college teaching job because I wanted to. I wanted to experience motherhood without distraction. Homemaking is not drudgery, paid work is not bliss. I am still the same girl who grew up knowing she could do anything she wanted--And guess what- world is still on a silver platter before her and she is still choosing all the greatest delicacies of life to enjoy.
I *needed* that today. Here's a deep dark secret: I chose to quit my masters degree program when I was two classes away from finishing. Two classes. I put in thousands upon thousands of hours working and studying and writing and thousands of dollars in tuition, and I chose to walk away when I was thisclose to being done. I caught slack from all kinds of people - family, co-workers, friends, and most of all, my cohorts from graduate school. Admit what you're thinking - it's pretty lame to quit that far in, isn't it? (for the record, I did get some extra teaching credentials out of it, just not the masters degree) Super lame when my goals and track were not only to be a teacher to students and a reading specialist to children who had difficulties reading (which I got to do for one year), but also to teach college. I was working with two of my undergrad professors on writing a book. So one could look at all that and say I gave up too much. But it was so clear to me at the time - I was in a new place with life and getting ready to start a family and I knew I was going to pursuse a new career as a mom. It was my choice and one I've re-thought from time to time. It became pretty obvious the only good the piece of paper saying I had graduated would do me is to allow me to say "I have a graduate degree". And what good is that for? To impress myself? Other people? I already have the knowledge I gained from the experience and lessons of grad school, and that will never go away. As we're getting ready to leave CA, I realized that my option to finish my degree, should I have chosen, will no longer be an option. And I've had to really think about the decision I made and wonder if it was the right one. It's caused me a few minutes of pause and anxiety. Now, however, I'm peaceful with my choice and where my life is now and where my life is going. I love my life. Being a teacher is no longer my defining role, as it once was - and while it was a harder transition to make than I anticipated it would be, how lucky I am for that! Primarily I am a wife and a mother and am passionate about my roles and grateful for my life. I am so blessed.

3 Comments:

At 5/03/2006 08:41:00 AM, Blogger smartmama said...

glad to help-- i so applaud your decision not to finish-- sounds crazy but that takes some serious guts and serious confidence-- what a great example way to go and make the choice that is right for you no accolades, no diploma that sits in its envelope in your filing cabinet is worth sacrifices you don't want to make!

 
At 5/03/2006 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Gabriela said...

Thanks for sharing such a personal story. Sometimes life takes you in a path that just doesn't make sense to the rest of the world, but if you know you are doing what's right, then that's all that really matters.

I gave up medical school (never started, but could have). I know I disappointed my whole family. But, one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that my life was meant to be more than being a doctor. When I start to feel down about things like that, I remember those strong feelings and know that they were real.

 
At 5/04/2006 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Caryn said...

Excellent quote and analysis. I hope that you feel at peace with your decision someday, since it sounds like you are still uncomfortable with it. You can always do what you want later, too. In the meantime, your experiences and learning can help you enhance your own children's lives & learning.

 

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