As a college student I always said I was going to wait to get married until my 30s (check), I would marry a man totally supportive of my having a career (check, check) and he would be an excellent chef and do all the cooking (check, check and check!). I also said I wouldn’t get married until I made my FIRST million. Well, three out of four ain’t bad. Back when I made those checklists, they were simply ideas in my head of how I thought my life would go. I was raised in a Gen X, post-Title IX world and grew up believing I could do anything and be anything. I always knew I wanted kids and never gave any thought to choosing one path or the other. I could have it all.
But maybe this is how it is supposed to work. Missing my kids and wanting to get home to them makes me more productive and efficient during the time I am at work. An exasperating day at home full of tantrums and lacking adult conversation makes me crave the order and quiet of my office. On days when I fail to inspire and students fall asleep in the back of my class, I know I will have a rapt audience waiting for bedtime stories when I get home.
So perhaps I’ll always be torn, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. It’s like going on a fabulous vacation you don’t want to end and then suddenly looking forward to coming home. It’s like choosing between a post-work run or a cold beer on the porch – both are relaxing and rewarding in different ways and I wouldn’t want to give one up exclusively for the other. Maybe being torn is the new balance, that ugly word hated by so many working and stay at home moms. (Because let's face it, there is no balance. Only skilled juggling on any given day). So the next time I’m torn between two things I love, I will try to pause and remember how lucky I am to have a choice. How lucky I am to be torn.