Friday, June 8, 2012

What is Success? Defining my Life...

What is success??  I've given this idea a lot of thought this past year...the first year in 23 that I didn't bring home some sort of paycheck.  Because, let's face it, it's easy to equate Nice Paycheck with success.  Oh, it's simple to lay on the platitudes--success is doing what you want, success is enjoying life, blah blah blah, but if I'm really honest with myself, I know in my heart, that I feel--ahem, felt--unsuccessful without that paycheck.  Head said one thing, but my heart said another.

I always told myself that Mom-ing was the most important and challenging job I've ever had--and it is--but you have to have a superhuman sense of self to ceaselessly hold your head up high and confess that in polite society.  It's so undervalued!  I admit, I always answered, what do you do? with something like, "tax accountant," or "teacher", or "bookkeeper" followed by, "and a mom" like I'm ashamed of that!  It's especially ironic, as I've never worked full-time outside the home since first giving birth to my oldest nearly 25 years ago.  Mom-ing always has been my full-time job, and working outside the home has provided us w/ some extra money and perks.

As a strong advocate for the value of Mom-ing, especially encouraging families to raise their own children when it is possible, I cringe when I realize that much of my own idea of success was subconciously connected to a paycheck.  I discovered that fault pretty quickly when the community college I taught for began its slow merger with another, and my program I taught in for 12 years was ended.

So now, a year after that ending, a year in which I've struggled to reframe my vision of success, I'm, well to be honest, limping along with the idea of unemployment.  Especially since my active Mom-ing days are over, too.  Ah!  The empty nest! 

What is success?  For me, success is defined in my life-long motto, "Family First."  It is also defined by a more recent motto I've adopted, "You are Enough."  My head believes those things, and I'm certain my heart will follow.

My daughters, Maura, Leah, and Sarah

Our "like-a-daughter", Katie, who has been part of our family since 2nd grade!  Her mom and dad, Charlene and Dennis generously share her with us ; D

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