A Day of Firsts: When I Realized My Career is Coming in Secondby Jill Simonian
The day I'd been dreading since I became a mom has finally come and gone.
It took me two years to get there (as that's the age of my oldest), but I'm now here. I'm okay, minus some shots to my ego and a few silly tears I shed just to release the feeling. I'm told that most mostly-stay-at-home moms (and totally-stay-at-home-moms) go through this.
But now, for the first time, it's REAL: my career is coming in second. And an adorable, animated little girl by the name of Sofia first brought it to my attention.
Last week, my toddler and I were invited to attend the lavender carpet premiere of Disney Junior's "Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess" (premiering on Disney Channel Sunday November 18 at 7pm/6c). I was ecstatic. Like many, I'm obsessed with Disney. Always have been. When I was five years old, I seriously thought I was Snow White and would argue with anyone who told me that I wasn't.
Not only would this new-concept princess movie be my daughter's very first film (ever!!!), but premieres were MY THING. Premieres were the center of my job (at least they used to be). Premieres represented the excitement and drive I had as a young 20-something trying to spark and build a dream career.
As for the movie? Well, in addition to discovering some fab tips for taking a toddler to the movies, the movie surpassed my every expectation: the animation popped with simple beauty and character, the music was endearing and catchy, it was a perfect length for 2-5 year olds (one-hour running time) and told a wonderfully modern tale of how a little girl (Sofia) had to learn to adjust to a blended royal family and just be herself. "Sofia the First" was all about the importance of feeling comfortable in your own skin, having confidence and doing things your way (simple, but something that even us moms can use once in a while). Not to mention, Cinderella even made a cameo (I'm always delighted to see a princess from my generation... haha).
And as I sat in the dark theater, happily cuddled with arms around my mesmerized toddler on my lap... I started to cry (which was totally absurd for many reasons, mostly because I really was having a good time and loving the movie). But the tears kept coming and I kept wiping them away. "Sofia the First" was my little girl's first movie, but sometime during the hour that I was sitting there I realized that that day was a first for ME as well: It was the first time I'd been in a situation where I would've normally been working, but instead was not.
It also hit me - right then and there - that I really don't have many prospects to enable me to work in that space again (as of this writing, anyways). Just as Cinderella appeared in the film as a 'princess of the past,' somehow my once-growing career seemed so... well... dated and in the past. Just like Cinderella.
Newsflash to me: My career is coming in second... officially. I knew it'd happen. I even wanted it to happen. But when did it happen? I'm guessing I realized it that day being among former colleagues who are still working. I missed not doing my job that day, despite my deep joy of accompanying my little angel to watch her very first movie.
Talk about conflicted. I was envious and relieved all at the same time. Don't misunderstand: the big-picture part of me is elated, happy and genuinely fulfilled hoping/knowing that my children will be my most precious accomplishment in life. Before having a family, I always felt strongly about the value in staying at home with my would-be kids when they were small (pending my economic situation, of course) and then to hopefully pick things back up when they began school. So, according to my own priorities, things are going exactly as I've intended. And I am happy.
So why did watching a perfectly-charming, pint-sized princess make me feel a pang about shelving the career-part of myself? (But never mind my drama... WATCH "Sofia the First" on Disney Channel! It really IS perfect.)
Do you struggle with putting certain aspects of your career on-hold for your kids?