SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – “Can being a full-time mom be considered a career?“ After becoming a full-time mom two and half years ago, I have often struggled with this question.
Finding My Career Path
Ten years ago, as a business major in college, I was eager to see where my education would lead me. I was young, talented and ambitious. I was unsure of the direct career path I wanted to take but I felt assured that there was a demand for business graduates. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management, I was anxious to find a job that would lead to a fulfilling career. Unfortunately, America was in the middle of the Great Recession. The job offers I had expected were no longer a reality.
While pursuing my degree, I had obtained an entry-level administrative job in the Anesthesiology department of a local University hospital. With the economy in such an upheaval, I was truly grateful for my job. I realized that many graduates were having a hard time finding any type of employment. However, I was still determined to find a job that would allow more opportunity for promotion and a career path. As the months passed, I filled out dozens of job applications and submitted numerous resumes but I never heard back from any prospects. I was becoming very discouraged; I was desperate for a change and anxious to find my “dream job”.
First Post-Graduate Job
After a year, I finally had my first interview with a local law firm in their medical malpractice department. I was excited to use my medical experience in a new environment. The position was not my “dream job” but there was potential for growth and promotion. When an offer was extended to me, I was thrilled to take on a new challenge and to, hopefully, be closer to a fulfilling career. I enjoyed learning the particulars of the legal field. After working at the law firm for a couple of years, my husband and I made a drastic decision to quit both of our jobs and realize a lifetime dream of living internationally. We participated in an internship program through a consulting firm located in Brussels, Belgium.
During this program, I was involved in the interview process for positions available at the firm. My eyes were open to the scarcity of jobs available for young, educated Europeans. I reviewed hundreds of resumes and interviewed dozens of overqualified individuals for the positions offered. Each individual seemed desperate for employment. I felt a strong bond between these applicants and me; we wanted more out of our work experience but we hadn’t yet been given the opportunity. The economy had not been kind to any of us and we were at its mercy.
When my husband and I returned from Belgium, we were back in the reality of finding employment. My new career goal was to work in hospital/medical administration. After dozens of applications and several failed interviews, I was still struggling to find employment. I was beginning to doubt my abilities and regret previously made decisions. After a few months, my previous position at the law firm became available and I was offered the position. I had hoped to venture back into the medical field but I was tired of being unemployed and decided to accept the job offer. In the meantime, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. With so many variables, I was at crossroad in my life:
Was I going to continue to find my career or would I become a full-time mom?
A Career in Motherhood
In September 2012, we welcomed our beautiful baby girl. It was an instant love. Caring and providing for my baby became my sole purpose. After adjusting to motherhood, I was faced with my dilemma: whether to return to the workforce. Two and half years later, I am proud to say that I know I made the right decision for me and my family.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines career as a person’s “course or progress through life”.
This definition perfectly defines what we strive for as we search for our career. We want to be continually challenged and pushed beyond our original limits. We want each day to be more than completing the task at hand but an investment in ourselves. We want to see our dreams realized.
Motherhood would not qualify as a career in the typical use of the word. There is no monetary value or profession titled motherhood but for me being a full-time mom has given me numerous opportunities to grow and progress. I have been challenged on levels that I didn’t even know existed. I have come to realize that this is my career and I am willing to invest my time, talents and skills into this lifetime pursuit.
To be continued…
Betsy is to be a columnist at MissCareerLess with honest stories that touch upon motherhood vs. career or shall we say motherhood as career? (Ed.)
Photo credit: Flickr/ Theresa Martell