Growing up, I was raised to be a strong, independent hard working woman. I was told if I worked hard and respected those around me, I would likely be able to achieve whatever goals I made. Prior to having my first child I became a nurse and found much fulfillment in my role as a nurse. I worked primarily with cancer and end-of-life patients. The work was often difficult, but I felt the work had a purpose.
When I had my first child, I had no hesitation to cut back on work. We did not have family nearby to help, and my husband could not always guarantee to be around for daycare pickup on the days I would need to work 12 hour shifts. I was fortunate to be able to work in a role that allowed me to make my own schedule when I could work and when I had help. When our second child came, I completely quit to be home 100 percent of the time. Consistent childcare was difficult to obtain, and it made sense at the time. My husband had the higher income, and I was the one recovering from childbirth and nursing a baby. At the time I was happy and at peace with the decision.
Five years later and two out of my three kids in school, I find myself questioning the decision at times. I get restless and often have the feeling that I am not doing enough. I often want more purpose than housework, yardwork, carpool and soccer practice transport. Am I doing enough? Is being a stay at home mom enough? Am I going to regret having to start over if go back into nursing?
This week marked 10 years since we said goodbye to my beloved Mimi. It is surprising at times that it has been ten years because her loss is still felt. The day she died, her room was full of her five children, their spouses and multiple grandchildren weeping as we said our goodbyes. Did she have an amazing career and multiple promotions? No, she was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, wife and friend who made an impact with her love for all of us no matter what we did or said.
As I wrestle with my restlessness and question if I am doing enough, I can simply rely on the example and love my grandmother showed all of us. Her example leads me to believe our impact is not what we do but how we love. Whether I go back to work in some form or fashion, I will fulfill my purpose if I love my family and friends well.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.