In a recent article entitled “Have Babies, Just Not Yet” on the Her.meneutics blog, a blogger confronted the tension between having a career and having babies. She explained the current popularity of the choice to first establish the career, and then have the babies. She wrote about how women in their twenties who have babies experience a bit of shaming because they had not yet “made something of themselves.” The article ends by discussing how, regardless of where a woman is in her career (or noncareer), children should be celebrated as an important part—if not the most important part—of the life God designed for us.
When I first read the article, I really wanted the blogger to focus on the tension that I am feeling right now: the vocation to have both children and a career and balance them well.
When I was little, I thought that maybe, when I grew up, I would run an orphanage. I have always known that I wanted to have children. I used to imagine my parents’ car had a second backseat, and that is where my kids sat. In my imagination, I would turn around and try to keep them from arguing with each other too.
When I hit high school, I discovered that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. A writer and a teacher. Writing was a passion I knew that God had given me, and to use the talent of writing is giving the gift back to God. Teaching others to write well is also a gift and a job that I enjoy.
I don’t see these things in competition with one another—not, at least, in God’s mandate for my life. God didn’t create me to only be a mom. Nor did God create me to only be a writer or a teacher. For me, doing one does not mean I shouldn’t do the other. I believe that God has called me to both my career and my children. My life is full with all of these things.*
Where these vocations do conflict is in where I spend my time. Time is a limited resource. I’m starting to see time as a Lego board with only so many slots on it per day. How I balance my family’s needs and my career needs is a dance. Some days my family gets more time than my career. Other days the career gets more time than my family.
It’s a dance my husband participates in too. We’re fortunate because he can take Siena to work with him. He gets less done, of course, but the store is still open, and board games still flow on and off the shelves. After I’m done with work, I pick Siena up, and he gets more done.
So, basically: we both love spending time with our daughter (and each other), but we both get more done when she’s with the other. It’s a dance. A tango. The baby tango.
That’s what I really wanted the article to be about: the vocation of being called to both babies and work, and the tango of balancing it all.
If you’re a parent, how do you balance your family’s needs and your needs?
*I blog really infrequently as a result, something I feel ridiculously guilty about because I should be “building my platform for the book.” But without a book, I don’t need a platform, so which really comes first? The platform or the book? The cart or the horse? The chicken or the egg? It’s one of those Rilke-ish unanswerable questions in which I’ll just have to live my way into an answer.