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Do You Hear the Whisper, Too?

April 1, 2015
By Shasta Clark - Contributing Writer , OVParent

This month, I got a couple freelance writing jobs, where I was asked to interview and write biographies about some people who have extraordinary careers. While interviewing a lady who is both a pianist and a NASA scientist, she asked what I do.

This question has put a lump in my throat ever since I quit my career nine years ago to stay home with my children. Over the years, I've become more comfortable with saying, "I'm a mom," and not mentioning that I used to be a TV news reporter, a business reporter and a writer for CNN. I reason that I can't hang on to my past accomplishments; I need to own my choices. "Mom" needs to be enough.

Yet for some reason, when I was speaking to a lady who witnessed three rocket launches as an electrical engineer for NASA and defied all odds to become a musician, I felt like "I'm a mom" fell short.

So I told her.

When she heard CNN, she reacted like most people do. "Oh!" she said. Suddenly, I transformed into someone interesting to her. She started asking a lot of questions, like, "Why did you quit?" When I told her I quit because I was in love and to be a mom, her next comment cut like a knife.

"I hope you made the right choice," she said.

I fell flat.

Because if I'm truly honest, I hope I did, too. I know I made the right choice marrying the man I married, and I love my children. But I wonder if every woman who has willingly, knowingly and purposefully made the choice to quit her career to be a mom hears the whisper of what her life would have been like if she had decided to keep working.

I'm not sure if other stay-at-home moms hear that whisper, because it's something no one talks about.

If we talked about it, it might sound like we regretted having our babies, and we don't. It might sound like we're terrible moms, and we aren't. It might sound like we're ungrateful to have the opportunity to stay home with our kids, and we're not.

So we hush the whisper and keep it a secret.

I am going to be brave and say that I hear the whisper. I wonder what I could have done in my career. I wonder if I could have been a news reporter for network news or if I could have broken a national story that would have won awards.

I've read articles written by women who say being a mom is enough. They shout, "It's enough. Enough, I say!" from the rooftops. I wonder if all their shouting is to drown out the deafening sound of the whisper.

Every mom's journey is different. For all I know, I may be the only one who hears the whisper. But if you hear it, too, I want you to know that you're not alone - and you're not a bad mom for hearing it.

Shasta Clark is a St. Clairsville native who lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with her husband, two sons and daughter. Her email address is shastakaselak@gmail.com.

 
 

 

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