So, you didn’t get the job. I don’t know what to say. Congratulations? Sorry? Both feel appropriate. You weren’t sure if you wanted the job. You thought maybe it’d be soul-crushing. You thought maybe it would get your writing juices going again. You thought maybe it would legitimize you — you’ve been a stay-at-home mom for about 6 months now, not by choice but by force, and you’ve feared it’s made you soft and useless when it comes to the corporate world.
It’s not that you wouldn’t choose this life at home. And the trouble is, now that you’ve seen the other side — the side of tantrums and giggles and adventures and wonder and so many other wonderful and terrible things — how could you? How could you go back to the corporate world to run marketing campaigns, go back to outperforming, outdoing your competitors. To working on projects you fear don’t matter to you or the world. To awkward small talk and forced relationships. When you could be packing up the diaper bag for the 40th time this month and heading out to do something, anything, with that little precocious bundle. The bundle that drives you absolutely nuts, the one you’d do pretty much anything for.
You didn’t get the job because you’re not qualified. You’re smart and capable and clever and hard-working. You would have done whatever it took to be successful. And that’s part of the problem. You may have worked too hard, at a job and a life situation that wouldn’t be good for your health or the health of your family. The trouble is, the balance you think you need financially, materially won’t satisfy the balance you know you need spiritually, emotionally. And vice versa.
You may someday come to know if working a full-time job again will, in fact, be soul-crushing. You live in an expensive city. And you don’t exactly feel like you’re thriving on one income. The day may come when you need to bite the bullet and do something you’re not sure is right for you, not sure is right for your daughter. But you may need to do that.
But what if you say no?
What if you don’t accept that reality. What if you throw out doing what you feel you must do and instead do what sits well with your heart and your soul. Is this attitude a kind of cop out? An excuse? A way of skirting the uncomfortable and the uncertain and the difficult? (It strikes you now that raising your daughter in your home is, at times, uncomfortable and uncertain. And Difficult.) Maybe it is. Maybe it’s not. But this particular situation feels like a fork amid forks in the road. Fortunately and unfortunately (you haven’t decided yet) this decision was made for you. There’s no gray area — it’s just not going to happen. But the wonderful possibilities are exciting and seem more important and profound to you.
It’s time to step out. It’s time to shine. It’s time to write and edit and cook and knit and do all the things that give you life. This isn’t a proclamation; it’s not a promise. It’s an idea. It’s a nudge and a smile and a wink. It’s an effort. It’s love.