I had been searching for the inspiration for my next blog post. A new song came on the radio while I was driving around with my twins. I listened to the song, looked back at them and smiled. I was inspired…
“Ain’t it funny how life changes
You wake up ain’t nothing the same and life changes
You can’t stop it just hop on the train and
You never know what’s gonna happen
You make your plans and you hear God laughing
Life changes and I wouldn’t change it for the world”
– Thomas Rhett, Life Changes
Every morning I wake up to the sound of my twin sons chatting away and I am amazed that they are my children and I am their mother. It’s been 18 months and still I can’t believe this is my life. It’s certainly not the life I planned for or expected but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Long before my sons were born, they started teaching me that no matter how much I try to plan out everything, change is inevitable. I had worked very hard in my career as a social worker and landed my dream job in a school. I felt great pride in my work and my accomplishments. I felt personal satisfaction and received validation from clients and colleagues. I loved going to work everyday but something was missing.
My husband and I had planned out a timeline for when we would have children and how this timeframe would align with our career and life goals. We knew we wanted to accomplish a lot and make a difference. We also knew we wanted a family. We spent years in and out of fertility treatment trying to get pregnant while trying not to lose our minds or resilience. This is when we began to see no matter how much we planned, change was inevitable and life would take us down unknown paths.
My plan was to have a baby, take my leave of absence, return for a couple of years and take another leave with my next baby. This plan seemed so perfect because it would give me time with both my hypothetical children and keep me on track in my career. Then we found out we were pregnant with TWINS! Again we saw that no matter how much we planned, change dictated where we went.
Recognizing the need for change again, I made a new plan; I would work up until I had the twins, then take my leave and go back to work. Then about half way through my pregnancy, I was put on bed rest and had to take my leave abruptly and immediately. At this point it was clear that I was not in control of the plan. Before my sons even came into this world, I knew my life was about to change in so many ways and no matter how much I prepared, I needed to be ready to go with the unforeseen twists and turns.
My career was an essential part of who I am, where I put my focus and how I lived my days. Over the last 18 months, my husband and I have come to realize the enormous burden in maintaining both our careers and caring for our boys. In every family, the dilemmas of balancing work and family are unique, complex and difficult. I have come to realize there are no magic formulas for making this decision and no amount of planning that can prepare you. Every parent has to do what is right for his or her family. For our family we decided that for right now it would be best for me to be home with our boys.
This decision was not made lightly or easily. I still question daily if I have made the best decision. As the school year begins and my colleagues return to work I feel a pang of loss. On one hand I know that no matter what I chose I would feel a loss. On the other hand when I see my boys I am filled with pride and excitement. Toddlerhood is something I could have never anticipated. They are incredibly needy, easily frustrated and constantly on the move. Toddlerhood is both exhausting and exhilarating. The boys learn new skills everyday and I love watching them explore the world.
In my career I have always strived for professional growth. I always had mentors and people supporting me, letting me know areas where I could improve and acknowledging when I found success. Miles and Henry are not able to say “great job today mom” and some days I wish they could. No longer part of a professional team where feedback is plentiful, as a mom, I now find my feedback in forms of kisses, joyful interactions and a delight in seeing my boys chatting and playing with each other.
What this whole journey has taught me is that I can plan as much as I want and try to give myself the illusion of control or I can learn to live and love each day of my life as it comes. I never anticipated getting pregnant, being pregnant and having twins would challenge me in the ways it has. I also could have never anticipated how I would step up to the challenge.
My career is on hold, but it does not mean that I have given up my goals and aspirations. I am where I am meant to be right now. As a mom I am learning to look inside and find my strength from within. This is a change and challenge but I can do it. As I watch Miles and Henry achieve so much, I feel proud to be their mom. I am still the person I was before but now I am also the mother of twins. I am the mother of twins who can confidently watch my boys on my own. I have so much to be proud of and none of it is what I expected.