I shouldn’t have to choose – but I do.

Shortly after our daughter was born, I wrote a post about how frustrating it was that everyone was already asking us about having another child. At the time, it was most frustrating because all we really wanted to do was revel in the beauty and joy of our new daughter and enjoy this new experience of being a “family.”

Now, as our daughter nears three years old, my husband and I are beginning the conversation about a second child and I am overrun by anxiety. Not because I don’t desperately want to have another baby. I do. Not because I don’t want our daughter to have a sibling, I do. And not because I’m not acutely aware of the financial implications of adding to our family will have. I am very aware that even for a dual income teacher-military household, our choice will have some strain associated with it.

Those choices are all worth it for me.

No, the anxiety I am feeling is knowing, full well, all the moments I’m going to be missing out on for our daughter, and our new baby, when I return to work. This week we are on vacation visiting my family in Michigan and I am watching my daughter explore, discover, grow, flourish, and shine.

All before my very eyes.

She has gotten taller, and I’ve been around to witness this.

She has started using a larger vocabulary and even putting together complex sentences, and I’ve been around to hear every bit of it.

She has started using some quirky facial expressions and recognizing when she is being humorous, and I’ve been able to enjoy all of it!

She has learned to fish, and I’ve watched that.

She “reads” books on her own and does a whole lot more playing independently, and I’ve been able to sit quietly in the corner and watch this.

When I return to work, I know there are other not-so-major milestones that I’m going to miss, that I won’t even know that I miss, for her and for any future sibling we may have. And I love my job, as I always say, I truly, deeply love my job. I guess there’s a growing part of me just wishing that taking time off for parenting in these early years was easier for us professional moms – that we could take the time we want and need to be with our littles in these early formative years and not feel 1) guilty 2) financially burdened 3) afraid that our professional careers are over.

As much as my kiddo is up past her bedtime this summer making wishes on the star-filled skies, I am wishing on those same stars that the path for career mommies could be just a little different.

 

 

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