Everyone has heard the saying, “When one door closes another will open.” Or “if the door closes, open a window.” But one might wonder where these sayings derived from? The original line came from Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. But the majority of the quote has been lost through repetition, and personally I feel it is much more profound. Bell’s original quote was, “When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Over the past several months I have found myself conflicted with career guilt. I recently completed my administrative paperwork with the intentions of advancing my career whenever the right opportunity presented itself. After begin accepted into the program, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised with the news we would be expecting our second daughter. As seems to be the pattern in my life, I can never do just one thing at a time, so this was only appropriate. After our beautiful second daughter was born, I had the opportunity to take a little over two months off to spend at home with her, returning to work just in time to complete my internship, while working full time, with two children at home and a husband who worked away more than any of us would have liked. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. But we all survived and I ended the school year with my new certification processing, and very ready for a summer break.
Now the saying, “When one door closes another opens…” isn’t exactly the theme of this post, because no doors have closed in my life lately. But I continue to struggle with the internal conflict (total English teacher geek out moment there…) between career and motherhood. Again, I cannot stress how grateful I am that I chose the profession of teaching, because it truly is a schedule tailored to parenting. But as my daughters have transitioned from babies to toddlers, and my oldest is transitioning overwhelmingly quickly to a preschooler, I have spent countless hours reflecting on my recent decision to consider pursuing administration.
I have some wonderful role models in my life. The first being a mentor to me, was paired up as my first year teaching mentor five years ago. As a teacher recently turned administrator, whose beliefs, values, and family life are so similar to my husbands and mine that I find myself going to him for guidance on career and teaching decisions constantly. I truly believe I have become the teacher I am today because of his guidance and wisdom, perhaps this is why I am so confident he will excel in his new role as an administrator.
The second is a mother and an administrator. She does it all, balances motherhood and parenting, with a moderate commute to and from work. I recently found myself discussing these conflicted emotions with her, gauging how she balances it all, and she was able to talk me through some of my issues, realizing where our shortcomings were and explaining how her dynamic works. I also credit her to initially triggering the baby fever that brought on our first daughter, and have been grateful to have her in my life over the past 5 years as a friend, additional mentor, and confidant.
The next two people have been supervisors to me and the initial people to inspire me to pursue a career beyond teaching. One has been my boss for 5 years and the other stepped in to temporarily fill in during his absence.These two mentored me through my internship last spring. Both of these men have been inspirational in my career decisions and have always pushed me to achieve greatness, even if it meant moving on to other opportunities.
And the final person, and perhaps most influential person in my recent mental shift is my mother. I honestly don’t know if I have ever even told her what an influence she has been in my life. Mother daughter relationships are the most complicated ones out there. Perhaps because you see so much of yourself in your daughter, want the best for your daughter, or want to prevent your daughter from making your own mistakes. Whatever it is, they remain the most intricate, complicated and uniquely valuable relationship there is. A mother-daughter relationship completely shifts when the daughter then becomes a mother. All of a sudden everything you thought you knew, has changed. You see things through your mother’s eyes and understand. Being a mother of two daughters, it both terrifies me, and makes me wonder, “will I be half the mother that my mother was?” It’s such an awesome undertaking that you can’t help but be overwhelmed at the thought.
So returning back to this final influence. I grew up with a mother who was able to be home with me each day. I woke up, got ready for school, and ate breakfast with my Mom. She then took me to school every day. She was home when I got home each day and continued to take me to ballet, Girl Scouts, piano, and lord knows what other crap I enlisted in. She was constant and present in my life every day. I lived such a fortunate life having two constant and strong parents in my life every day that it wasn’t until recently that I realized how critical that was in shaping me into the person I am today. They are the reason I am the person I am today, motivated to pursue challenging and influential career opportunities.
My husband recently shifted back from the field to the office, making him that constant and strong fatherly presence in my daughters lives, so much like the father I grew up with, that I truly believe it has inspired me to take a page from my mother’s book. And it is with the utmost confidence that I have decided to make just that shift.
I have recently been provided with several professional opportunities from administrative, to opportunities within my current location to ones that would place me back with my two sweet girls. And it is because of all of these strong influential people in my life that I have chose just that, to return to my home, like my mother, and be there to be that active presence in my children’s lives.
I cannot express how difficult this decision has been for me, how many people I am incredibly grateful for, and how supportive all of my supervisors and administrative faculty have been where I currently work as I made this decision to transition back to the home. I will still be able to be an active presence in the education field, but will be able to be a more active presence in my daughters lives. If it wasn’t for the strong marriages and parenting of both my parents and my husband’s parents, we wouldn’t be the people we are today. And I want to be sure to pass on that life style and encourage our daughters to be just that, strong confident women in an ever changing and competitive world, just like my mother motivated me.