Pensive ... not sad ... thought provoking reflection

It all started with my University of Evansville magazine arriving. I have been wanting to see what the campus looks like now because I haven't ever been back since I drove out of the dorm parking lot in December of 1991.  I know there are new dorms and new buildings and old buildings have been remodeled.  So, hoping to see some of the 'improvements' I opened the magazine.

Inside are things called "Class Notes".  I've published a few in my time, the new job, the birth of each child, my marriage (which came before the birth of my children (hee hee)).  Those kinds of things. I'm always looking for the names of people I knew in college to see what they might be up to, or to remind me of some of the good times I had during my college years. I dearly loved my college life. It was the best time (pre marriage) that I've ever had.

So ... while reading through those, I started to feel a little bit like I wasn't doing anything with my life. I have a $48,000 education (which was a lot of money back then) and I stay at home with my kids.  I'm not sad or discontented, but I felt a little like maybe I was wasting my God given talents by not pursuing a higher level of challenging work. My entire life people have told me how 'smart' I was, and when I saw people really advancing their education and doing impressive, difficult things, I began to think maybe I had squandered my intelligence and  education by quitting my job and staying home with my kids.

Mind you, I don't really want to be at work right now, I'm happy with where I am and Creative Memories allows me to use my mind and skills to earn some money and help folks preserve their special moments, but I just couldn't help but feel a little bit like maybe I should be doing more.

I posted this on my Facebook status and the responses are below:

Jane Fazi:
Sometimes I read about what people are doing in my University's magazine and I am just a little saddened by where I am in my life. What did I do with the education my parents paid for and I worked so hard to earn? I asked my Dad one time after I quit work if he was disappointed in me ... without a hesitation he said ... he didn't want anyone else raising his grandchildren. Thanks, Dad.

I received some very interesting comments back from people and I wanted to share them:
  • Lois Bogusch Amen!
    Friday at 8:52pm · 
  • Margaret Elkins No one can ever take away the education you gained through your hard work.
    Friday at 8:53pm · 
  • Mary Elizabeth Sheehan There is a Muslim proverb that says something like, "Educate a man, and you have an educated man. Educate a woman, and you educate a family."
    Friday at 10:23pm ·  ·  4 people
  • Kisha White-Farrar A college education is not just for the particulars of subjects that you study, but more to help your mind expand so that no matter what you do, where you go, or what circumstances you find yourself in you can see more facets of the situation and act and respond in a mature, intelligent way. Education broadens and expands our understanding of the world and how we fit into it. Knowledge is never wasted :)
    Friday at 10:26pm ·  ·  2 people
  • Patti Adamcik Kavanaugh I always told my girls that they should go to college. One day, Juli, said yes, but look at you. You have a degree and you stay home with us and babysit. And I responded, yes, but it by choice and not because that is my only option. I think raising children is the hardest and yet, the best, job around. I would not change my choices for anything.
    Friday at 10:45pm ·  ·  2 people
  • Susan Alsop-De Los Santos Jeesh, Jane! You're doing the hardest job in the entire world. Cut yourself some slack. And remember, one little blurb in a school publication tells nothing of the entire story. Who knows how many 'successful' classmates are miserable and wish they could stay at home with their kids.
    Friday at 10:46pm · 
  • Jacqueline Bender Working part time since having children has been wonderful for me but there is always going to be a little regret about getting off the career path.
    Friday at 10:57pm · 
  • Jacqueline Bender So I understand, Jane. As women, it is a tough balance whatever the choice we make (if you have the luxury to make it - and maybe our husbands will be staying home and we'll be working, depending on what happens at Lockheed!)
    Friday at 11:00pm · 
  • Jane Kronewitter Fazi Patti. That is exactly what I was thinking. My kids saying that kind of thing to me and not understanding it was a choice, not a forced situation. I am happy with my choice, but sometimes, the "what if" demon sits on my shoulder and starts to whisper.

    Remember to capture the memories in photos, and share them. Ask me how.
    Saturday at 7:34am via  · 
  • Jane Kronewitter Fazi Kisha. That is beautiful. It is also what I needed to hear. I don't want to sound as tho I don't like my life, I do. It's that little fear that I wasted something God given by not using my mind to the fullest extent. But truly, when I stop and think about it, raising four beautiful, morally upright, loving people is definitely using my gifts.

    Motherhood ain't for dummies!

    Thanks everyone. I wasn't feeling sad, just a little pensive. It's interesting to hear your opinions on this topic. It's not something people seem to talk about and everyone comes from somewhere different. Many of the things you've said strike a chord within me.

    I love to hear viewpoints. Please always share them.
    And I will start today by saying a prayer of thanksgiving for my education, my health, my husband and my kids. Then a special thanks for my friends.
    Love you all.

    Remember to capture the memories in photos, and share them. Ask me how.
    Saturday at 7:43am via  · 
  • Jane Kronewitter Fazi M.E. I like that proverb.

    Remember to capture the memories in photos, and share them. Ask me how.
    Saturday at 7:44am via  · 
  • Patti Adamcik Kavanaugh After I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, I would talk about whether it was the right decision and my friend from work would call and say "they're hiring, just thought I would tell you" and I would call my sister and question my choice. After a few months of this, one day my sister said "Oh, Patti, just go back to work." I immediately said "I don't want to go back, I love being home with my kids." And that was it. My "real" decision to stay at home. It wasn't ever easy financially, and often, emotionally, but it was the best decision we ever made for our family. Still, when I would talk to my "work" friends and they would talk about going out to lunch, or out for drinks after work, I was just a bit envious.....
    Saturday at 7:44am ·  ·  1 person
  • Jane Kronewitter Fazi I think I might have a new topic for my blog. This feedback has been so good.

    Remember to capture the memories in photos, and share them. Ask me how.
    Saturday at 7:46am via  ·  ·  1 person
  • Charlene Hymel Because many women do raise children and make a choice to do so, many gifted women do amazing things in their later years - 60s and 70s. It may be something with a career, returning to school, or many other things. Of course, raising children is an amazing thing in itself and the women who do so whether they do it as a stay at home mom or a working mom are providing the building blocks for the future. You moms are doing a great job!! Never underestimate your importance or your choice.
    Saturday at 8:55am · 
  • Julie Merrill Nicholas A couple years ago, my oldest actually thanked me for being home with them all these years. She was listening to her friends talk about how both of their parents work and they were in daycare until they started school. Now, they come home to an empty house after school until their parents get home at 5:30. I know some women absolutely have had to work, but I am so thankful I was the one who was able to hear about my kids' day at school and help them through their problems when they first got home and wanted to talk about it. I'm so glad I didn't have to let someone else see their first steps or hear their first words. I really think God designed families for the mom to be home and for that to be our job (if at all possible), and I'm so thankful I have had that opportunity until this point. I have had a couple people tell me I have wasted my college degree, and I had the same conversation with my paretns that you did. My parents never felt like I wasted my degree, they were glad I had it to fall back on, and since it was in Elementary Education I feel like I have used it with my kids all along the way. I'm glad I have it, and I would still want my daughters to get a college degree but yet hope they have the opportunity to be stay at home moms as well.
    Saturday at 10:24am · 
  • Patti Adamcik Kavanaugh Julie, my girls are 23, 25, and 29. I encouraged them to get their degrees in something that they could do part-time or from their home so that they could have the option of staying home with their children and still contribute to the household income. Unfortunately, we have pretty much become a 2-income society. I know that some women don't have the choice of being an a-home mom, but I wanted my girls to have the most options available to them.
    Saturday at 10:41am ·  ·  1 person
  • Bryan E. McDaniel ‎@Julie, I'd like to kick that arrogant, ignorant, egomanical Mr. RH right in the berries for saying that. All the while he has no family of his own and... whatever, I'd still like to drag him behind the truck.
    Saturday at 12:42pm · 
  • Julie Merrill Nicholas Thanks, Bryan! I really appreciate that! :) He was one of a couple people! I'll message you their names and addresses! haha!
    Saturday at 2:16pm · 
  • Christi Smith Meiss Jane, don't be sad. We all have to do what is best for our families. You are a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, friend, aunt, sister. I appealed you for all you do each day. You make be so tired when I read your post of what you did during your day. Cheers to you for choosing your family over the work force. Motherhood is so much harder than any job. Your family is creating memories while other kids spend all day at day care and only a few hours with their parents. So enjoy each moment as it goes by fast.
    Saturday at 3:36pm · 
  • Aleksandar Milenkov From amy: Jane even if you were working outside the home you might feel the same and be saddened because like me you wouldn't work late, you wouldn't change family events for work needs you wouldn't go to work social events because it interfered with family time and you wouldn't "get ahead." but I am secure in my choice to work while making sure we live so i won't sacrifice my priority my child and I could walk away if needed. The workforce and our culture does not support mothers or children as much as we pretend it does. I just wish that all mothers had the choices that we do, most don't.
    Saturday at 5:31pm · 
  • Jane Kronewitter Fazi I think Amy is making another point pertinent to me. If I had no children,
    I think I could be that 'get ahead' kind of girl, but with children, I would make choices to not work late, etc. (just what you said) and that would then make me discontented with my choices at work and at home. I am so impressed
    by moms who manage both a job and kids at the same time without seeming to shortchange either place. I simply am in awe of their time management
    skills. Not much time for those folks to sit and play on Facebook or watch
    TV or just do nothing ... they seem to be always on the go, I simply don't
    have that kind of energy. Yes indeed, I can safely say that God put me in
    the right place, and I credit Him with the blessings to allow me to continue
    on in this interesting and sometimes exhausting journey.
These woman had very interesting things to say. Some of them I had thought of and agree with myself, others expressed things differently than I have ever considered before, but all in all, I think I will always wonder "What if?" because that's the type of person I am.  I do know that I will never regret my decision to walk out of Sprint in January of 1998 and begin my new adventure.  If anyone has any doubts that my children had a fun and loving upbringing, they can come over and look at the photo albums and see the fun we've had.  Sometimes I go back through the albums to remind myself that there have been more good times than bad.  In the end, we remember what we choose to focus on, and I'm going to choose to remember the many trips to the zoo, museum, McD's playland, etc.

I would love to continue this conversation here by you posting comments. I have so many friends in so many different stages of life.  Early  motherhood, single no kids, divorced with kids, married and empty nested, married and teenagers ..... I'd love to hear what you think about how you are raising your children, what does it mean to you to be a parent and when you look back on raising them, what do you remember most?  Let me know.


Colette Hines said…
I know how difficult it can be to stay at home all of the time with the kids. When I had to drop out of college from my vet tech degree that I was working on, at first I felt like I wasn't going to be able to contribute anything to anyone because I wasn't working. Then Troy helped me realize that although I wasn't "in the work force" that I was contributing to society even more by being home with the kids to take the time to instill morals and a love for God in them. When I did go to work while they were still in public school, they were so miserable because I wasn't there to pick them up from school or hear all about their day. It felt like at times that we became very disconnected from one another. I'm grateful for the time I have got to spend with the kids (even when they frustrated me) and have enjoyed watching them grow in their faith and their love for all of God's creations. I've also been able to take the education that I did have and pass it on to the kids in a way the schools or sitters could never do, which I think in the long run is better for them because they can relate to my experiences and education on a more personal level. I don't always think that I am doing a great job as a parent, but I know that the benfits my kids will have from being home with me will far out way anything else.