Monday, September 22, 2014

Career or baby #2?

(The ultimate working mother - Licia Ronzulli - img via)

The question of when to have baby #2 has been on my mind for a while now - roughly speaking, I have been thinking about it since Maya has turned one years old. Now she is nearly 2.5 years old and I'm still undecided!

When she turned one, I got bogged down by toddlerhood, with her being newly mobile and SO fast. And then when she turned two, even more so with the toddler tantrums, plus outrunning me. Now I have noticed that she has started to calm down a bit (thank god!!!) or (on the flip-side, maybe I have calmed down a bit!) I kind of feel like I'm getting to be a more experienced parent and I could handle having another one....I think...!

I would like to give Maya a sibling, as well as feel the intense love for another child - multiplied. Even though I'm vocal of how hard motherhood is (hey, I'm just being honest...) I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have a dream of being surrounded by my children at the dinner table. Even if it's chaos...that's just my dream.

BUT...there are so many factors to consider. What about my career and my own personal dreams and goals? Lucky men, they never even have to consider this! I will have to get pregnant (and most likely be sick again a la Kate Middleton), give birth, recover from birth, take maternity leave, and probably take even more time off to raise the child.

After putting my career dreams aside for so many years (even before I had my daughter), I feel the inevitable pangs of maybe-I-should-be-doing-something. All of my mother friends are back at work now and it's just me at the park with a bunch of Filipino nannies. Sometimes I literally feel like I am just cooking ALL day and I wonder if I should be doing something more with my god-given talents. But, at the same time, my daughter will only be young once. She's already going to school soon. And motherhood has taught me so many invaluable skills - I can multitask like no other, can do anything under extreme pressure, and generally working my ass off. Even more so, being a mother has taught me that I can do anything. The mere act of giving birth to my child was like growing invisible courage.

I graduated with my heart set on a career in photography, but then life got in the way. Immigration issues, deaths in the family, and my parents needing my help uprooted our life. Then we had to work. We had to work to make a living and help my parents. I didn't have the luxury of sitting around to think about my own hopes and dreams and how I would get there. I was on autopilot 6 days a week. And then we had a baby, and I have been on Motherland ever since. Now husband-ji is nicely settled in his career and absolutely loves it. He was meant to be in the Fashion industry. He loves running a store. He is designing things and he loves the creative process. I have to admit, I feel a little jealous that he found his calling and I wonder if there is something out there for me. 

I have been thinking about going back on my original dream of my career in photography for a while now. It has flexible hours, it makes money, and it is very natural to me. It doesn't feel like work to me - I love to do it. But it will take a lot of time to build this career and get a client base. My heart is being pulled in two different directions - I want the career AND baby #2. Or CAN I do both at once??? Is it only my mind thinking that I can't???

Sometimes I feel like men never really have to consider the work/life balance or family planning. They work, they come home. There is dinner on the table. The sleep, they wake up, go back to work. They don't have to consider things like debilitating morning sickness or postpartum hemorrhaging or breastfeeding latch. Or who's going to watch the kids (some woman, I guess...LOL!) When I ask husband-ji about our future family planning, he says, "It will happen when it happens, da! No need to worry or think!" But for me, there is a lot to think about...


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18 comments

  1. Hm... I know of women who started their business when they were pregnant or had young babies to take care about. I also know of artist mothers who create. I didn't, I don't. And, now I know that if I didn't, it's because I dind't really want to. It's really important to be honnest with oneself :)

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    1. Yes, priorities! Always a balancing act!

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  2. I think you should do what makes you feel happy. So many times we follow what society expects from us to do and rarely what we truly want to do. If your dream is to raise a family and your husband supports you on this go ahead and realise your dream. There's nothing wrong on wanting to have another kid. In the other hand, you are chosing a career that is flexible, start taking family and daily pics as a hobby and when you have some spare time update a little bit. There are plenty of tutorials or classes online. Little by little you can make your portafolio and start gathering some clients.
    Luckily for us is possible nowadays to follow both paths, is great to have choices ;)

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  3. I have been thinking about it for a while regarding what will happen with my career once I have the baby. The answer is neither simple nor easy either. I guess woman have thought job need to make the hard choice.

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    1. It is a huge complicated question that it impossible to plan!

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  4. I know what I would have chosen if I where you: another baby!
    But I am no mother myself, and even after following you for some time I have no idea how hard it really is. It is a bit funny that your boyfriend say "it will happen when it happens!" as this sound exactly like what my guy would say. Is this some typical tamilian thing, or simply a man thing? ;)

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  5. @Alexandra

    Happy Navratras to you and family. May goddess Durga bless you with strength and prosperity.

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    1. Thank you, happy Navratras :) Blessings to you and your family!

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  6. (Continued from above)

    When I had baby number 2, I was overrjoyed... and overtired. I thought I had figured it all, but baby no.2 was very different from no.1. I continued working, I hired a nanny. When baby no.3 showed up, I confess for the first 10 days I was completely panicked, but eventually I found a rythm and the kids are helping (yeah !). Baby no.3 is also different from her siblings... And I continue working... this time I find it very hard not to be with the baby during the day, although it's quite nice to be able to do something uninterrupted for more than 20 minutes and have a cup of coffee when I need one :)

    I saw this quote on Momastery : "My husband left at 6:00 am every morning and as I watched his showered, ironed self leave the house I felt incredibly blessed and thrilled to have so much time alone with my babies and incredibly terrified and bitter to have so much time alone with my babies." (it's here :http://momastery.com/blog/2014/01/16/save-relationships-ask-right-questions/)

    I think this is true of so many mothers. I think you are lucky to be in the park with all the Filipino ladies. It is a great gift you are giving your daughter,.. and yourself. But it is not luck it is dedication.

    And I think you can have a career and a baby... you only need to get some help. Once you know in your heart what you really want, things will arrange thelmselves... in the meantime you can simply go step by step... I'm sure you could do children portraits and build a client base at school for example ?

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    1. Wow, it will be amazing to see how each child is different..that will be exciting. Props to you for balancing it all, fellow supermom! Glad the older ones are helping....I am trying to teach Maya how to be helpful. This week she helped me load and unload laundry, and carry light shopping bags upstairs!
      Great blog link btw, thanks for sharing!
      P.S. the babysitter is coming this week for the first time...I am so nervous!

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  7. Hi Alexandra, I encourage you to follow your heart and make the best decision for you and your family and not be constrained by societal expectations. I have a friend who is a busy mom of three young children but is still pursuing her photography career on a very part time basis as a photography instructor at an art museum.

    I recommend you check out www.meetup.com There are thousands of moms and other types of groups listed on the website. When I moved across the US six years ago I knew no one in my new area. I joined a local moms group and made new friends. I have been a stay at home mom for seven years since the birth of my first daughter and I love it most days but there are some days that I want to pull my hair out and it is great to have the support and friendship of my fellow moms in my group.
    Sincerely, Rebecca

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, that is very inspiring! xoxo

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  8. As i read your post, i had thoughts running in my mind.
    I am a planner by heart and have already planned a lot of stuff.
    I was always a person who wanted to have a successful career. I had a love marriage.
    I had to relocate myself due to which I had to quit my job.
    4 months , I was jobless and searching for the right job.
    I realized that i couldn't sit at home even if my life depended on it.
    Though i have adjusted in terms of the company i wanted, i am very happy today.
    Somehow a job is like an added identity, a life outside your home.
    I dont know how well i ll be able to handle a baby and work life.
    But I know one thing for sure that it will be difficult but not impossible.
    In your case, I can suggest to start with Photography Freelancing .
    Try small assignments and later you can go for big ones
    Believe me It will enhance your personality and your daughter will love this part of your life.
    I still feel guilty that my mom had to leave her job because there was nobody to take care of me when i was small. But during our time , there was no concept of freelancing.
    Our time is different so make the most of it. :)
    --Ur wellwisher

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    1. I can totally relate. Sitting at home, just doing random chores can be really depressing and also isolating. I am a planner too....the hard thing is that the process of pregnancy & child-rearing is completely out of our control, so much so that you kind of have to submit to the chaos. For example, I was so sick during my pregnancy that I had to take off work and was just basically waiting for my child to be born. It was pure torture. Then I had a postpartum hemorrhage which left me struggling with anemia for 2yrs. Plus, after I had her, I felt weird of having anyone else watch her, and my parents suddenly became unavailable. So it is hard....always something we have to sacrifice....either work or time with our child....it is a balancing act...
      I am so glad that we live in this time and have more choices than our ancestors.

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    2. Sometimes it is for our destiny to decide...
      But i encourage you to go for a career rather than Baby 2
      Maya will find friends who can become family for life.
      Like my best friend, we are not constantly in touch but she is like my sister from another mother
      I really like your artwork. You can really have a bright career :) plus you have a helping husband , so make the most of it.

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    3. That is true....and thank you :)

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