Friday, October 8, 2010

What If...?

A dear friend shared with me today that she was hesitant to go to her college homecoming this weekend.  All her old college friends went on to get masters and doctorate degrees, while my friend got married and had a baby.  She didn’t feel she was good enough anymore or had lived up to her potential.

It’s not that my friend isn’t happy with her husband and baby, it’s that she feels like she should have done more. Or more so that society looks at her as if she should have done more.

I totally understand what she’s feeling. I too feel like sometimes I need to remind people that just because I’m a mom – and in my case a mom to many – that I still have a brain. Some people have been surprised to hear that I do indeed have a college degree, yet I still choose to work only hours that are compatible with my kids.

It is extremely frustrating in the workplace when other less qualified people get promoted or get hired for a job I could do with my eyes closed, yet I choose not to apply because it would take away from my job of raising future decent human beings.

Working hard now to raise responsible adults isn’t as prized as working hard now to bring in more revenue for your company or selling the newest must have product.

And I’ll even admit to sometimes wondering what if… What if I hadn’t taken so many years to be a stay at home mom? What if I had put a masters or doctoral program before having babies? What if, what if, what if?

The problem, though, is that the What If game can be a dangerous game to play.  It usually begins in moments of self doubt.  And it quickly leads to a place of low self esteem where the “oh I’m just a mom” mentality sinks in deeper and deeper and even you forget that you can do more than change a diaper or cook another meal no one wants to eat.

Playing What If is insidious. It lets depression creep in and self -assurance run out.  The lower you go with What If, the harder it is to climb back up to confidence and conviction.

The whole world can be on your side. But if you’re not, well it doesn’t even matter.

What if I hadn’t had six kids? I don’t know. Except I wouldn’t have met my dear friend and her beautiful baby.