“What a waste.” I thought. I’m ashamed to say it now that I know better, but back then, that’s what I truly believed. My sister had a degree from the esteemed University of Virginia and she had chosen to stay home to raise her children instead of juggle both a career and her role as a mother.
I thought about this, recently, as Aurora vocalized her desire to be a baker with “Big Harper” (my friend, not her sister) when she grows up. Back then, I would have encouraged her to set her sights higher- a doctor, a veterinarian, an astronaut and while we still discuss those opportunities, I embrace her current decision as a 5 year-old to be a baker. Because you know what? We need bakers. And cashiers. And trainers. And trash collectors. And salesmen. And custodians. And waitresses. And hairstylists. And teachers. And mommies who “just” want to be mommies.
When did this job become not enough? And not enough as in “income- earning” but as in “you got a degree what did you do with it?” I have a B.A. in English and a M.Ed in teaching Pk-6. What am I doing with it?
I’m raising the next generation.
I’m surrounding them with books. I’m sharing my knowledge. I’m using my critical thinking skills to figure out how I can raise my children with the perfect balance of exposure to the arts and experiences while still living “simply”. I’m using my psychology classes to deal with epic emotional meltdowns on a face-to-face, you-matter basis. I’m using my anthropology minor to teach my children about people around the world and what that looks and feel like. I’m providing them the tools to discover their roles now and later.
Ignorance makes it easy to judge but once we know better, we do better.
So this is a long-overdue apology to my sister. She’s raised three beautiful children- now teenagers, soon to enter adulthood where they will be faced with their decision of what they will do when they grow up.
I hope they follow their heart because whatever their role is, wherever their “place” is, we definitely need one of them.