metro mama

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Need a Vacation, I Mean, Vocation

Driving home from my mid-term this evening, it really struck me how tired I am of school. I am so tired. I usually like being a student (I have tried to view it as a hobby) but I’m nearing the end of my patience.

The reason I’m a perpetual student is because I’ve never had a strong sense of vocation. In high school, when the time came to decide what to do with our lives, I had no idea. I thought I might like to be a lawyer someday. There was no education fund, and I knew I would have to borrow, so I did a Legal Assistant diploma, thinking I’d work in the field and finish putting myself through school later. I pictured myself as a public defender, standing up for the rights of those less fortunate.

After college, I ended up working for the government for five years until the layoffs of the Harris days. In the meantime, I discovered an aptitude for, and interest in I.T. I ended up with a layoff from the public service that included money for retraining. I went to a private school and earned my IT certifications (a lot of work!), after which I was lucky enough to win a good starting position in a saturated and male-dominated job market.

Six years ago, it really started to bother me that I had never gone to university. Most of my friends had and I really felt like I was lacking something. I had always loved reading and writing, so I enrolled part-time in English.

I moved to Toronto five years ago and (after a short stint at the job from hell) ended up in a good IT position at a wonderful company from which I recently resigned at the end of my maternity leave. I don’t plan to return to the field (I’ve found the work very unrewarding for some time now).

In the meantime, I have been slugging away at school at night and will (hopefully) graduate in April.

School usually comes somewhat easily to me, but I’m finding the combination of summer-time classes and the demands of motherhood frustrating.

When Cakes goes down for her nap, all I want to do is nap or read a novel. Instead, I work on my term paper. When she goes to bed at night, all I want to do is read blogs or watch a movie--but I force myself to catch up on my readings. In a summer course, the course load is relentless.

This would all be good if I had a clear conviction of what I want to do next. But I don’t. I am 90% sure I want to teach, but I’m not sure what grade, or what type of school. I’m debating on doing my MA, but I really don’t know if I can handle more school right now. I want to be 100% sure of what I want before I invest any more time and money in education. I feel like I have been in school forever and I shudder to think of the money I have invested.

Work is important to me, but I’m particular about it. What I want in my work is for it to be: rewarding, conductive to family life, well-paying, fun, lots of vacation time, flexible, making a difference in the world. Is that a lot to ask?

I realize that I am privileged to be this picky about work and able to spend so much time in school to figure out what I want. I am very thankful for that.

The other good thing about my aimlessness is that it made my decision to stay home with Cakes a lot easier. I didn’t have a career I was passionate about competing for my attention. Again, I know how lucky I am to be able to do this.

Still, I wish I were one of those people who have a sense of vocation, the ones who have always known what they wanted and have focussed on building a career. I have done quite well for someone so scattered--it bothers me to think what I may have achieved had I been able to concentrate on one thing.

Luckily, I have a few years to figure this all out. I want to be here for Cakes (and possibly Number Two). I hope things will become clearer before I need to make any more decisions. I am thirty-three, which is still relatively young, and I have an incredibly supportive husband.

But. I. Am. So. Tired.

It is never too late to be what you might have been. -- George Eliot



Blogger Pendullum said...

I think you have your vocation at present with Cakes...

Live in the moment...

And give you and the time of enjoyment you guys truly deserve...

Just met a woman that became a lawyer when she turned 52... The time was right and she has been practicing for the last 15 years and loving it... Before that she was a stay at home mom... Wouldn't trade in either life... She put her kids and herself through school... Pretty cool!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I completely understand how you feel, because I'm much the same way. I went to college right out of high school, with plans to be an elementary school teacher. I switched my major 3 times in college and finally graduated with a degree in History. Went to grad school for History, then dropped out when I didn't like the program.

Then I went to grad school for Theatre and never finished. Now I'm pursuing an associates in nursing. I've worked in daycare, as a web designer, a technical writer, and now a college advisor.

I'm almost 30 and still not sure what I want to be when I grow up. :) Truthfully, the only thing I've been sure about so far is that I like being a mommy.

Hope you find what you want to do with yourself, even if it is just being a mommy for the moment.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Gabriella said...

33 is still young! You have a lifetime ahead of you. I too wish I knew what I wanted to do when I finished high school, I thought I did but turns out it wasn't what I truly wanted. Now at the age of 36 I think I know what field I would've wanted to go into but am now too tired to even think about going back to school. Kudos to you for having the strength and ambition to do it! Don't give up now or in the future!!!!

11:46 AM  
Blogger metro mama said...

Christina - wow, you've got me beat! All the best to you in your nursing studies.

Pendullum and Bri - thanks so much for your supportive comments. I just re-read that post and it sounds like I'm wallowing in self-pity. Actually, I am really loving being a mom right now and that should be enough.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Lotta said...

"Actually, I am really loving being a mom right now and that should be enough".

Ahem. Should I kick your ass now or later? NO, of course it isn't enough. You are more than just a mom and no doubt a great mom!

It's cool to try to figure out what you want to do. And there are many of us (me too) who didn't get into the vocation thing right after school. Life just kind of starts and you get swept up into without time to think about what you want.

Then kids actually make you take a pause (believe it or not) and you start thinking about stuff again.

On the "I.Am.So.Tired". That is a perpetual state of mommyhood, but it can also be from geting the blues. And when you get depressed it's oh so much easier to rag on yourself. So take it easy. Turn down the internal nit picker and trust that you will figure it out when it's time for that next part of your life!

I'm gonna step of the soapbox now!
Keep on keeping on - it's all the rest of us are doing too!


9:40 AM  
Blogger sunshine scribe said...

I wish I had read this last week. I get it. I SO get it. And I too

I wish I could stay at home full time to figure it all out. Part of my challenge is I am trying to figure it out while working full time and being a mom and I end up not spending enough energy on any of it.

Becoming a mother changes what we want and need out of a vocation. It sounds like you are on the path to finding some stellar solutions for yourself. I hope I can do the same.

8:44 AM  

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