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Are you role confused?  I know I am.  I'm how old?....  and still confused about the role I want in life... pretty sad considering, logically speaking, I'm mid way through life.  You would think I would have worked that out by now.

I have been a wife, a mother, a significant other, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a successful career woman, an artist, a writer, a gardener, a home decorator....the list probably could go on and on if I thought about it more.... and I have loved each and every role.  I truly do not have regrets... then why do I feel like something is lacking?  Why do I feel I'm a jack of all trades and master of none?

I grew up in a time and place when the mothers I knew, mine included, were stay at home mothers.  The ones that did work, worked at jobs, not careers.   They supplemented the household income, very few pursued professional careers, and if they did, they were nurses or teachers, not one of my friends' mothers was a doctor or a lawyer or a corporate manager.  

As a little girl, I played with dolls pretending they were my children.  I had an easy bake oven, my grandfather and father made a little kitchen for me in the basement with a little fridge and washing machine where I could pretend to do the things my mother did.  I dreamed of my future husband and children... it wasn't if I would have children, but how many.  My friends and I played and debated the number of boys and girls we'd have and the names.  My child's view of adulthood was one that totally revolved around my home.

  

Then came the sixties, and women were going to college, preparing for careers and becoming active in their right to equality in what truly had been a man's world.  I was young enough in the sixties to have been influenced by those pursuits.  It wasn't a question of "if" I was going to college, but more "where" I was going and what I would major in.... now the question was "what was I going to be when I grew up"... and with that, the dreams of my young childhood took a step back.... but in the deep recesses of my brain they never totally went away.

I went to work after college... trying to succeed in what still was a male dominated work place... it got easier to get promotions, but more than once after losing out to a male counterpart, I heard "well... he has a family to support... he needs the bigger salary".... it's been a tough nut to crack... but it has taken time and effort...  time in long work hours away from family and things that I would have preferred doing.  

I missed my son's first steps, his first words, and more "firsts" that I care to think about.  My house, while as neat and clean as could be expected under the circumstances, was never as neat and clean as my mother's.  I stressed about taking time off when my son was sick and how it would affect my job or had to leave him with a sitter, while my mother was able to be there for me growing up.  Frankly, I had to work... I had no choice, we simply needed the money.  It was a different time and place from the time and place of my childhood.  

I have had a rewarding professional life and I have had a wonderful personal life, but I still feel like I am always running to catch up.

  

It doesn't help that we have people like Martha Stewart telling us how to throw the perfect party, make the perfect holiday decorations, grow the perfect garden, make the perfect cupcakes and cook the most exotic foods.  I used to try very hard to do all these things perfectly... my son used to joke I was Martha Stewart's evil twin.  Perfection was always a step away...  

I read Martha's blog from time to time.... It's fairly light reading... mostly pictures about her active life and people around her.  It struck me the other day as I read the captions on her pictures, that there was a driver, a dog sitter, a housekeeper, a chef, a gardener, a personal assistant and God knows who else to help her keep this perfect life going.... totally unattainable for the "average person" without the staff.... it's an unreasonable expectation.

So have I been lacking?  ... I doubt it... looking back at the pictures I think I did a pretty damn good job juggling everything.... So why do I still feel like I'm running uphill?

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I think you just never slowed down enough to enjoy the very  simple things in life.  Like me...you were always trying to juggle EVERYTHING...accomplish EVERYTHING...and now...you technically have done so much...you are like...okay what am I suppose to do next and there really isn’t a so call “next thing“.  

      It took years and lots of therapy to make myself slow down. I had to learn to say “no“..and now I say it a lot.  I think you are not lacking anything you just don’t know how to handle not having anything to really do...no major projects...if I am reading into your blog correctly.  I might be way off here.  

      In my mind...I want to make everything.....do everything....help everyone....take on every project....make it the best...do the best job....be the life savior to everyone....but in all reality  ....I will never do any of those things in that manner.  

      I’m made my share of mistakes...and do wish I could re-do some events in my life....but I can’t.  So ....all I can do is move forward....and be so ever grateful for TODAY.  And be glad I was able to do what I did.  

      Relax......just enjoy being alive and run on level ground...not uphill.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Michelle Rowe wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • I believe my role in life is to oversee the care my mentally retarded older brother receives. I think it’s a great and pretty important role!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Hendricks wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • Mary...

      Thanks for your input...

      I agree.... I am learning to gear down... but I guess another point I think that is important is that roles have vastly changed since my childhood... and what I expected to be when I grew up is not what it ended up being....

      I went out to supper recently with a good friend of mine and we were talking about just this topic... life just didn’t end up what we thought it would be... we tried to fulfill the childhood expectation AND the new expectations... a wiser move would have been to find a hybrid between both ... and realize readjusted goals and expectations isn’t necessarily a sign of failure.

      I’m glad that todays young women have more of a variety of role models... and I think they will grow up more to choose from... and I hope doors continue to open more easily.

      I have projects to do... but you are right... I can’t do it all... I need to pick and choose what I want to do and say no ... I have come to feel no one can do it all and do it perfectly... Martha Stewart is just an example of someone that tries to show it can and should be done... but the reality of it is that she has a staff doing it with her... the behind the scenes no one actually sees...

      I have resolved to try to run on level ground... but it is a challenge when you need to “deprogram” what you have been doing all your life...

      Thanks again for the insights... I enjoy feedback... that’s the whole point to a blog... starting a dialogue... so we can learn from each other and give each other encouragement...

      Thanks!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Hendricks wrote Nov 15, 2008
    • vigirl...

      I admire you and the role you have taken on... and I, too, think the role is very important.

      God bless you.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mary Clark wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • I understand the de-programming thing....perfectly!  I had to do it myself.  It will be challenging at times....but you can do it.  When you get through that part and actually doing the things that you want to do...you’ll love it.  OH....and it will be a bit difficult for others around you to accept as well...but they’ll get through it too.  It’s a “take care of you” phase now.  

      Best of luck in all you CHOOSE to do.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Linda Hendricks wrote Nov 16, 2008
    • Thanks... I really needed to hear that... that I’m not alone in what I’m going through



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