Last Wednesday someone asked me, “What kind of mother do you want to be? What kind of wife? What kind of life do you want to have?”
It was during my first graduate student crisis, where I wondered, Am I doing too much?
I had signed up for 3 courses, plus a teaching assistant position. Add in 2 seminars and there would be no margin for error. No room for kids to get sick, crises to emerge, or to be just plain old tired and wanting to watch television all night.
When someone asked what kind of mother/wife I wanted to be, what kind of life I wanted to have, I didn’t have an answer. I want to be a good mother and wife, to have a good life. But, what does that mean? What does it look like? How do I do that?
I realized after thinking about it for a few days that I wasn’t worried about what kind of life/mother/wife I wanted to have/be. I have good kids who are happy and well adjusted. I have a healthy relationship with my husband and I laugh often. I have a good life, even if it is busy.
I realized I was really worried about what people would think. What kind of mother/wife do they think I am? Do they think I have a good life?
In the end I dropped a class and lightened up my load. I felt better instantly and more confident about the semester ahead. I am in no hurry and luckily I chose a faculty that makes room for people who are unable to follow the prescribed path most graduate students do. In doing this, my faculty lets you be a mother, someone with a disability, or someone who has to work while pursuing their education.
Making education available and accessible to all is a concept that is central to the intellectual path I have chosen. Looks like things are off to a good start.
And to the person who asked me this question I answer:
“I am a good mother and wife. My life is great. I am a free woman. Free to make her own choices and live as I see fit and that is enough.”