Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Letting go

Finally, the Bean Girl is asleep. Without any fuss. Just dropped off quietly in my arms as I swayed and rocked her after lunch.

I'm actually feeling good right now. It's remarkable what an extra hour of sleep can do for my mood.

It's been a time of great transitions for my family and me. Career changes for both Husband and I--he's left academic medicine, gone into full-time private clinical practice, while I am now a stay-at-home-mom. We moved across the state to a new city for Husband's new job. And, oh yeah--I'm expecting Edamame, our second baby!

I always had a plan. Not the most well-thought out plans, but I was on a track, I had Goals. Grad school, then post-doc, then ambitions for tenure-track faculty position. (Hey, no one said my goals had to be realistic). Boom, boom, boom--one after the other. Then I was forced to confront the reality that I am not competitive for those tenure-track faculty positions, at least not at any major research institution. Now I have no job, now everything is up in the air. Now I don't have Career Goals, now I don't even know what I'll be doing a year from now. That's scary for someone like me. I am staying home with the Baby Bean, I will stay home with the Edamame.... And then what? Science writing/editing? Teaching? Dabbling in literary writing? Full-time SAHM forever, with volunteer work on the side? Or dare I try another post-d0c, hoping to land a perma-post-doc/staff scientist-type position, or transition into a college teaching position? (Husband thinks it's a waste of time, that I should now avoid research like the plague, even if he won't quite come out and say so).

Letting go of plans, of structure, is probably the hardest thing of all. The lack of structure is one of the hardest things about stay-at-home-momdom. When I try to impose a Plan for the day, Baby Bean often has her own ideas. And no use arguing with a sleepy or hungry toddler! =) Someone said that pregnancy is a time for learning to let go. You can't control your body's reactions to the growing person inside--you can't control your mother sickness, the fatigue, the aches. You can only accept them and go with the flow, just as you will have to "go with the flow" throughout your parenting years. It's so hard for me to let go, to try to "live in the moment," as they say. There are isolated moments... Rocking the Baby Bean in my arms, feeling her warm weight against me, and inhaling the scent of her lavendar Johnson's-baby-shampoo washed hair... Watching her in the sunlight, temporarily stunned by her beauty. Only isolated moments, like rocks in a stream, and then I'm back in usual current of list-making, stressing, and worrying about all the future has to hold... Which is plenty enough, for anyone in any life! Why is it so hard to let go?

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