If you had no kids and no DP... - Mothering Forums

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Old 11-28-2011, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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what would you do with your life--that you feel you can't do right now because of your commitments to your family? 

 

This is a weird question, I know.  I'm just wondering what dreams people have that the choose not to pursue because they have a family.

 

One of mine, at least, is that I would be more apt to get involved with movements with which I agree, in spite of the fact that it might be risky or even dangerous (take the Occupy Wall Street movement for instance--though I'm not entirely sure I would hop on the bandwagon with that one).

 

Another is that I would like to join NGOs or non-profits in providing international aid, even if it required picking up and flying to the middle of nowhere in the middle of a drought or political upheaval.

 

 

What about you all?

 

 

 

___________________________________

 

As a side note, my other thought is:  would I actually  do this stuff if I didn't have a family?  or would I still think "oh I would do that if... XYZ" but not ever do it.


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Old 11-28-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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I would probably sit home & play games like Diner Dash on the iPad and read. A lot. But one dream I have that will probably never come to fruition because of my family is to become a social worker & work in a place like Providence House, a shelter for homeless mothers & children in my area. I would LOVE to do something like this, but it's sort of dangerous, and I wouldn't want to put myself at risk in a situation like that when I have a family who needs me.
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Old 11-28-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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I would work and travel.  I might seek volunteer activities abroad.  I suspect that would get old after a while, though, and I would settle down to a meaningful job in a community.

 

I can do this when the kids are older though. 

 

I have read couple of previous posts of yours, mrsfrenchy, and if I recollect correctly you seem to be struggling a bit with feeling stifled by your life or regretting what could have been.  I understand (truly!) but these feeling do not last forever.  Your kids will age.  

 

In the last 3 years I have started to travel more, and I do have a part time job that is meaningful to me.  You will get what you want, if you try, it just might not be today. Everything has a season. hug2.gif

 

 

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Old 11-28-2011, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

In the last 3 years I have started to travel more, and I do have a part time job that is meaningful to me.  You will get what you want, if you try, it just might not be today. Everything has a season. hug2.gif

 

 


Thanks, Kathy.

 

 Part of this post is just my curiosity and part of it is still just me searching for answers.  ...I'll get there eventually, I suppose.
 

 


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Old 11-28-2011, 05:18 PM
 
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If I had not ever had dh or dd in my life my life path would have been pretty different I think. I may have just ended up working any job instead of being particularly choosy and just doing whatever I felt like...very much a live in the moment type life. I think I would have hung out with the same friends for years and gotten involved with some of the things they were involved in.

 

If dh and dd just disappeared from my life tomorrow the person I am today might be more interested in going back to school or starting my own business. I see myself wanting to do something more satisfying and meaningful rather than just bringing in a paycheck or having a good time.

 

In a few years my dd will be old enough for me to pursue something else. I can't imagine dh as an obstacle to anything I want to do. 


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Old 11-28-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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I would most likely be a drunk drug addict if you want the honest answer. That's the road I was on.


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Old 11-28-2011, 05:44 PM
 
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Well, one thing I know for sure is that I'd have a lot more shoes. A lot more of most material things, actually. But I would also probably working in a job that I didn't like very much wondering why my life was less than fulfilling.


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Old 11-28-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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Well, it really depends... 

 

If my DH had never come into my life, the path I was on was buying a house, having a career I hated and starting a family as a single mother (most likely via donor insemination).  But that was almost 10 years ago. 

 

10 years later, my life, my goals, my desires are quite different now, as is the world.  The career path I was on blew up when the RE market crashed, the last company I worked for is no longer in existence, and all the others suffered massive layoffs/cutbacks. 

 

In the space that I'm in now, if I didn't have my DH and my DS, I would be working in a commercial kitchen, working towards owning my own restaurant someday.  Or else I would have gone back to school to finally finish my degree.  Although the two are not mutually exclusive. 

 

I do hope to travel someday, possibly do some volunteer work internationally, but that's more something I plan to do when I'm older, after the kids are either old enough to participate or out of the house. 


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Old 11-28-2011, 05:55 PM
 
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I'd honestly like to move around a lot more. We have moved around a lot, even with the kiddies, but I'd likely move to a warmer climate and try to live off the fat of the land. And help - help people who need it with whatever they need it with. This is one thing that I regret greatly not doing when I was childless and without responsibility to anyone but myself.


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Old 11-28-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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I see where you're coming from.  Before I met dh, I had an application for Doctors Without Borders.  I was all set to put my stuff in storage and take off for a year or three to help.  But then, I fell in loooove, got married, had kids...and now, it's really not feasible for me to drop out of my family's life for a year or more.  Heck, my kids are young!  It will probably be at least another 15 years before I feel like I can do that.

 

However, here's how I'm looking at it.  In fifteen years, I'll be 50.  If I'm in shape (getting there!), professionally skilled (check), and can speak another language or two (hey, I've got 15 years!) .... then I'm hopeful that I can still do it then.

 

It's taken me a few years, but I'm learning that no matter where I am, it's where I'm supposed to be right at that time in my life.  It has always, always taken me a few years to realize that when I'm in the thick of something.


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Old 11-28-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Mrs. Frenchy- can I ask how old you are and how old your daughters are?  When I was married and my kids were super young I really struggled with giving up the life I had dreamed of. I had planned on getting my doctorate degree in psychology and working helping women and children.  It took me literally years to let go of my old dreams and I was very angry about what had happened to my life.  I felt I had so much promise and could do so much....

Now I am a single mom- I even get welfare but I am happier then at any other point in my life. 
I can't pin point a single thing but I know it had to do with letting go of the old me and the old dreams and accepting things for what they are now.

Sure I am sad I did not get my degree but I know due to some issues I have I may never get it and the good Lord has opened up opportunities for me to work with women and children among my friends. They all come to me and I am able to help people which is what I wanted to do. Yes it's on a much smaller scale then the book writing psychologist I set out to be.... but it helps to look at the good in my life now.

 

I hope this makes sense. You are on my mind a lot since I feel like I have been where you have are right now.

I guess what I am trying to say is look for opportunities to be of service in you own little circle and life and remember life is not over yet. In 20 years those kids will be gone and you can rework a goal list then.


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Old 11-28-2011, 08:58 PM
 
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This is my dream. For as long as I could remember I wanted to get married, have kids and stay home. Sure some other stuff sounded good, like being an archeologist or a marine biologist but they never were my dream. I always thought I'd go back to school and do something with my life, but now that I'm not full time parenting because my kid is over 21 I realized I still love being a homemaker. 

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Old 11-28-2011, 09:43 PM
 
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I asked myself this question about 10 or 12 years ago, and made some long-term plans based on the answers. The Dumplings (my youngest kids) were little - now they are 15 & 16. I realized that I would never have a retirement plan, and really wasn't thrilled with my career as it was (working in bookstores is lots of fun, but not a lifetime).

 

So I went to school with the general plan of building my retirement, rather than directly a career. I got a degree in Public Health and then a job as a Family Advocate for families with kids in the mental health system. Although this has turned out to be my dream job, it was really just meant to be a stepping stone to my real goal, of working for better services for people with developmental disabilities/mental illness in developing countries. My Dumplings will soon be independent, and I have also begun to make some loose connections in NGOs dealing with this issue. My dreams will probably be reality in the next 7-10 years. I will presumably have a small Social Security income in 7 years, certainly not enough to live on. I don't see myself as the retirement type anyway. I am excited by the plan to travel and perhaps do some good in the process.

 

All that history to say that that rather than a wistful woulda, coulda, shoulda outlook, this question can be a great motivator.

 

 


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Old 11-28-2011, 09:44 PM
 
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I would have travelled & volunteered more. I met dh when I was 17 & started towards our life together real quick. I don't regret any of it & LOVE my life right now but I do hope some day I'll get to see a lot more of the world.


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Old 11-28-2011, 10:59 PM
 
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if i hadnt met x i would have probably left my advertising executive field and become a journalist (i was putting in applications when i met x). yes i would have travelled but i would still have been unfulfilled because i couldnt figure out how to follow my dream of helping the poor. 

 

instead i married x and moved half way across the world to a whole new culture. i loved the option of going to school which was not available to me back home. figuring out what to do. wanted to be SAHM so pursued computer programming. discovered yeesh. dont like it. but hey. really? i am good at math? maybe i can become a math teacher.  and then dd was born x went yikes2.gif i dont want to do this. i stopped going to school and just tried to survive and be there for dd. 

 

 

then dd started K. and it looked like life would allow me to go back to school. went back trying to figure out now what. no longer wanted to be a SAHM mom, and after a couple of false starts and a class by accident - boom it was all laid out in front of me. while i was looking for an answer i was volunteering to make sure i would enjoy what i think i'd like to do. 

 

it was wonderful to be single because i have so many options open to me. and i can take anyone except where i can go to school for the next 9 years till dd turns 18. 

 

i have always loved interpretation. that is waht i wanted to do as a teenager but my parents wouldnt allow it. now i get to do it. and the bestest thing. dd is on this journey with me as i go back to school. while volunteering i discovered i was way too aggressive to do public history. i was better off being an anthropologist working with NGO to be a social activist for land rights. 

 

so yes. that teenagers dream is finally coming true in the 40s. and only because her dh left her - and opened up a brand new world which i had no clue about when i first started school. 

 


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Old 11-29-2011, 01:18 AM
 
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I'd be in the same profession, but a different spot. I'd probably be in a much more research focused university, pumping out several research studies a year, and would have made full professor by now.  I wouldn't have discovered that I really like teaching, the art of teaching, and that I'm darned good at it most days.

 

Instead, I made the decision when I had kids that I was going to slow down, take some time off from research and be available for my kids. As a result, I'm posting at 12:00 am because I'm taking a break from giving feedback on student papers.

 

I've more or less come to terms with the fact that I can't have it all at once. Somewhere I read research that suggests female academics tend to be more productive after 40, while male academics are more productive before 45. I hope that's true!

 

I'm also realizing that I can do what I want to do, but I need to do it serially. I'm not going to be a great researcher while my kids are small. Now that my kids are older, I can step back in. But really, they still need me a lot. In 5-8 years, they won't need me nearly as much. If I can get a small research program going again, I can devote more time to research. My brain still works, even if the profession moves on. I can pick things back up when I'm ready.

 

I traveled a lot before the kids were born, and I'd like to do it again. But right now, I don't mind the break.

 

OK back to commenting. At least I've got the most frequent comments saved in a file so I don't have to retype them.

 


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Old 11-29-2011, 02:15 AM
 
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Hmm.

 

If I'd never met DH (or, y'know, anyone else)... honestly, I don't know what I would have done. I never really thought about it. I met DH when I was doing a Screen & Media and English BA, and I probably would have kept doing that (possibly even a little better, due to spending less time in the computer labs emailing DH!). I might have then gotten the same job I did, as a behavioral therapist, or I might have been more motivated to seek a "proper" fulltime job. But I'm not a very careery person. I might have done some postgrad study, but it wouldn't necessarily have done me much good.

 

If DH and the kids died in a car crash, though? Me as I am now? That's a different story, even if we leave out the grieving process and the decent chunk of life insurance I'd get. :p I can think of a ton of things I'd like to do.

 

Study midwifery, or something baby-related. Try to get a "proper" job as a writer for a pregnancy/parenting magazine (like the one I currently write for), or some other... writey... jobby.... thing. TRAVEL! I wouldn't mind taking a menial job to earn money to backpack around Europe, although with my sense of direction that might end badly. Volunteer (I lean towards something involving pregnant women). Try out for plays and Broadway shows, and take classes in singing, acting and dancing. Do more extreme sports... well, not sports. Experiences. I did skydiving recently - a long-cherished dream - and it was fun, but actually not as exciting as I'd hoped. I want to paraglide and hang-glide and stuff, but I can't justify spending DH's hard-earned money on it! I'd also like to take some interest papers at Uni, in random subjects like psychology and anthropology and fashion design.

 

That said, I went through a real phase of feeling trapped and unhappy a year or two back. I felt like I was just starting to discover myself, but was being thwarted by the existence of my high-needs baby, and even (through no fault of his own) my husband. I don't feel like that any more. Back then I was depressed, tied 24/7 to a difficult baby, freaked out by the prospect of another traumatic birth, and doomily convinced that I'd just have to bite the bullet and suffer through the next twenty-five years or so before my kids left the nest and I could try to scrape my worn-out, pregnancy-raddled self back into some semblance of a human being.

 

Somewhere along the line I changed my attitude - not in a dramatic movie-of-the-week way, and it was probably largely to do with getting a bit more sleep. But I decided to focus on all the stuff I could do, even with a baby. I started a singing group at my house, because I couldn't go out to choir practices. A few years later, we just finished practicing for a performance at our church carol service (which, don't get me wrong, is the least glamorous venue in which one could choose to perform... it's not like "next stop, Carnegie Hall", but we have fun and sound, um, OK). I started freelance writing, because I could NAK, and a few years on I regularly publish articles for one magazine, and occasionally for others. I started a blog, and a few years on... well, it's read by, like, ten people, but at least I'm writing.

 

It's all baby steps, from my current life to the life I imagine myself leading. After two years in this house I finally put up hooks to store the aprons neatly, and felt like Martha Stewart for the rest of the week. :p I don't own a self-sufficient homestead yet, or perhaps ever, but there are a heck of a lot of pots on my deck, growing yummy things.

 

And doing those things, which I couldn't have done two years ago, makes me realise that the limitations I still have aren't so permanent. Ehh, so we don't have the money to travel, and DD wouldn't want to be dragged round the Louvre even if we did. Well, it'll be cooler in ten years' time when she's homeschooling and learning about the history we see; or in twenty years' time, if DH and I escape for a wedding anniversary... or in fifty years' time, when I've accumulated a lifetime of knowledge about ancient Rome and the Tower of London and French cuisine. If I never get to play Cosette (which I don't have the voice for anyway, frankly), well, if I work hard for twenty years I might be able to play Mrs Lovett.

 

I know it's hard to see when you're in the thick of it, but THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Really. I hope you find peace - it's a hard thing to struggle with.

 


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Old 11-29-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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Well, I don't know if I can honestly say that I chose to forego certain dreams in order to have a family.  Life is a much more organic process for me.  I think we are met with certain challenges, whether expected or not, and part of the growth process (at least for me) is learning how to best deal with those challenges while seeking to contribute something good to the world, no matter what the task or challenge.  By chance, I met DH.  We never planned on having DD and were married for 16 years before she came along.  She was unexpected but welcome.  Raising DD is a season of our life.  It is, however, a big responsibility and we only get one shot at it and in a very limited number of years.

 

Sometimes I think about where I would be had I not had a partner or child.  I tend to think that I would have lived a much more bohemian lifestyle.  I probably wouldn't have gone to law school and would have been totally satisfied living in a room somewhere with limited resources other than money for rent, supplies and a lot of time to do creative work.  I worked in puppetry for a number of years before I was married, and that is probably something I would have spent a lot more time and energy on if I had been alone.  Funny thing is, though, that this relatively short break from the intensity of all that has actually led to new ideas.  DD has taught me a lot about childhood and about myself.  Without her I can guarantee that I would have been a much different person.  Not worse, just different.  She and DH have definitely enriched my life and have contributed greatly to who I am now.  I hate to say this, but sometimes total freedom is not truly appreciated until one has experienced a loss of total freedom, so to speak.  When DD grows up and is out on her own, I think my approach to life will definitely be more positive. 


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Old 11-29-2011, 12:58 PM
 
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15 years ago -- I would have gone to grad school, completed a phD in some type of molecular biology and worked towards being a great scientist.  

 

 

Today's plans are different -- I would like to start a farming business -- u-pick blueberries, sustainable, organic gardening classes, plant nursery...I still see it as part of my life even with kids and dh in tow.  It will simply happen slower now.  

 

 

 


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Old 11-29-2011, 04:38 PM
 
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Dh and I started dating as I was going into my first year of nursing school. My plan then was to graduate, work for 1-2 years locally to gain experience and then do travel nursing. After a while I wanted to go on to grad school. The LAST thing I wanted was to stay in my hometown and I certainly wasn't looking to get married soon. I did want kids and when I had then I knew I was going to work very part time and mostly be home while they were young. 

 

 

 

11 years later, I have 4 kids, have been married for 10 years, I do work very part time as a RN, and I never left my hometown. I don't mind not leaving now! I did start grad school but ended up having to withdraw due to family issues shortly after I started. Someday I would like to do it again when I can more fully devote myself to it. I would like to work more again someday as well. For now, this works. 


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Old 11-29-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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I got my degree in teaching and was passionate about children's literacy. I would have gone on to get my PhD and probably taught college (that would have been my dream job, at that time). Now, some 15 years later, I am a truly different person. I don't feel that any of my talents, skills and experience have been wasted in being a mother. My family reaps the benefits of my education. I dream of traveling, of writing, or teaching, but I don't feel that any of those are forgotten dreams, they'll just happen at a different point in my life.  

 

I have five kids. When the first two or three were young, I felt extremely frustrated and unfulfilled. I felt bound down by my life, kept back from some wonderful reality that I couldn't attain. It was a bad case of thinking the grass is greener on the other side. After some counseling with a helpful therapist and some reframing of my life (not to mention, a great dh that supported me), I realized that I am a mother and a wife, and I can either love it or be miserable.  Either way, my kids will grow up, and when they do, I can look back fondly on our life together or I can be full of regret.  

 

Also, I have to say, I'm inspired by the older women I see who are doing fantastic things with their lives.  We no longer have to be aged little grannies at age 55!  There are 60, 70 and 80 yr old women contributing to society and their families in meaningful ways. I plan to be one of those winky.gif


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Old 11-29-2011, 09:19 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

 

I have read couple of previous posts of yours, mrsfrenchy, and if I recollect correctly you seem to be struggling a bit with feeling stifled by your life or regretting what could have been.  I understand (truly!) but these feeling do not last forever.  Your kids will age.  

 

In the last 3 years I have started to travel more, and I do have a part time job that is meaningful to me.  You will get what you want, if you try, it just might not be today. Everything has a season. hug2.gif


 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

Sometimes I think about where I would be had I not had a partner or child.  I tend to think that I would have lived a much more bohemian lifestyle.  I probably wouldn't have gone to law school and would have been totally satisfied living in a room somewhere with limited resources other than money for rent, supplies and a lot of time to do creative work.  I worked in puppetry for a number of years before I was married, and that is probably something I would have spent a lot more time and energy on if I had been alone.  Funny thing is, though, that this relatively short break from the intensity of all that has actually led to new ideas.  DD has taught me a lot about childhood and about myself.  Without her I can guarantee that I would have been a much different person.  Not worse, just different.  She and DH have definitely enriched my life and have contributed greatly to who I am now.  I hate to say this, but sometimes total freedom is not truly appreciated until one has experienced a loss of total freedom, so to speak.  When DD grows up and is out on her own, I think my approach to life will definitely be more positive. 

 

I could not agree more. 

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Old 11-29-2011, 10:01 PM
 
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I would probably travel.  A lot.  Being able to pick up and leave makes me feel a little wistful.

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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If I hadn't met dh, I think I would still have my kids or at least a kid, since my life always seem pointed having kids with or without a partner. However, i think I would have gotten my doctorate and be either teaching abroad, or at least doing work with children (like brain studies or something). There is so much that interests me then that no longer fits me, but then again, a lot of me has stayed the same.

 

I also believe I would have stayed in a very odd relationship that was going no where because it was better than nothing and my "partner" wouldn't have broken up with me, cause it was comfortable. So, maybe I wouldn't have completed my degree do to complacency.

 

 


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Old 11-30-2011, 08:49 AM
 
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I'd have stayed in the military and been to all sorts of different places.  I put off quite a few deployments and TDY's to Bosnia due to pregnancy and babies.  Also I would still be a linguist probably on my 3rd language by now.  I would have also finished my degree... and then moved home to hang out with my mom and sister.

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:54 PM
 
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If I didn't have children and a partner, I'd probably be looking for a partner to have kids with.  Not that I've ever consciously said to myself, "My primary goal in life is to be a wife and mother..."  Frankly my mom discouraged that particular goal.  But when I got on my own eventually I was able to recognize that my one true, abiding and organically grown urge is to be married and have a family -and that's it. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulfaith View Post

It's taken me a few years, but I'm learning that no matter where I am, it's where I'm supposed to be right at that time in my life.  It has always, always taken me a few years to realize that when I'm in the thick of something.


Nicely put. 

 

I've been able to develop a habit to occasionally stop...and observe and accept my present life, including my kids, husband and myself.  It doesn't come naturally, so I just tell myself, "Hey, this moment is really special.  My child here is never going to be in this stage again, and as much as I hate certain aspects of it (sleep deprivation, disrupted marriage, loss of freedom, boredom, fear) I really, really love that she/he is...9 months old and still portable, 3 years old and such fun, 5 years old and making friends, 7 years old and reading fun books, 9 years old and getting philosophical but still very childlike, 12 years old and is developing a strong sense of self, 16 years old and being more responsible all the time! 

 

Yes, there's a whole lot I've missed out on by being married to this one dude for 19 years, and by having two children.  I'm legally responsible for my kids for six more freakin' years!!  I've been unemployed for 13 years, and I haven't been contributing to my retirement one bit. And it's going to hurt!  I admit, I get bored with my husband! I'm sure he gets bored with me. 

 

So I do myself a favor and focus on those timely things that are so precious and are never going to come around again.  It's nice to be able to simultaneously think, "Gawd I can't wait until these kids are gone so we can regain some freedom", and also, "I'm might miss parts of this someday."

 


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Old 11-30-2011, 03:19 PM
 
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Travel, EVERYWHERE. Especially to places I am not too comfortable taking young children. I did a fair amount of traveling before kids, and have certainly traveled some since. But, I can't take off for a month in India. When they are old enough (teenagers) I will travel more, and they will be old enough to go on some cool adventures with me (Machu Pichu!).


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Old 11-30-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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go to the bathroom with the door wide open

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:20 PM
 
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As someone else said, I'd be looking for a partner to have kids with smile.gif.  Or would do single mother by choice with sperm donation.  Of course I'd need money to do that, so I'd probably be a speech/ OT therapist or teacher of some kind as a career.  Or maybe be a full time/ special needs foster parent (in which case I probably would try to conceive).

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Old 11-30-2011, 06:33 PM
 
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I would be exploring Chicago's history, and documenting infrastructure changes and looking for remnants of what once was.  I really have a passion for it and am a transit junkie, so.. yeah.  I'd probably be one of those urban survivalists and sleep on the "L".  Yes.  I'm weird.


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