Today a woman who is researching empowerment and fair trade contacted me to see if she could get a copy of my MA thesis since it is one of the few case studies that focuses on this topic. Last week one of my thesis committee members called me to get my advice on a course she is teaching this fall and asked when I would be returning to the world of academia. Meanwhile, Kris and I have been purging our bookshelves and I've had a hard time letting go of any of my old textbooks, despite the fact that they're worth a lot more than my watermarked copy of Good in Bed.
What all of this adds up to is a reminder that a year ago I was defending a thesis that I spent two solid years pouring myself into and was supposed to be starting my PhD. I made the decision to take a job and start a family instead, much to the disappointment of my PhD advisor and pretty much every professor I ever had. I was lucky to land a job that I enjoy and was even luckier to get pregnant so quickly and as a result of both of those factors, I never really second guessed my decision.
When I was chatting with my committee member last week she asked me what I was up to "academically." Was she kidding? I mean, she has two young children of her own - she has to know that there is no "academically" when you live with a (almost) four month old. I said that I was focusing on my family right now and that maybe one day I'd come back and do a PhD but so far I didn't really miss it and she told me "the academic world will be ready for you when you come back." As if it was my calling. As if she knew that's where I belong.
I've heard people say that when they became a mother, they realized their purpose in life. When I was pregnant and after I gave birth I had an overwhelming realization that this is what my body was made to do. I was fasinated by the way my body changed to accomodate another and completely empowered by the experience of birth. But I've never really felt like being a mother is my enough to make me complete. Instead I continue to struggle to maintain a sense of self and a sense of balance while taking on the role of mama. Granted, Kale is only (almost) four months old and I know it can take a lifetime to figure it all out, but I think the important thing is that I strive to be a good friend, a good worker, a good partner, and a good mother all at the same time.
I think that there are many differnt roads I could take in life. One of those might even involve a return to the academic world. Regardless of the road I take, I'm so thankful that I get to take it with these two: