Kate Sherwood is on an adventure. After focusing on being the mother of the most amazing daughter, she is now in her third and final year of law school. Having been a military child, Kate is excited to go anywhere her future career takes her. She blogs at http://bjj-law-living.
The best thing that ever happened to me was not getting into medical school. I do not pretend the Lord stopped me. I know it was the result of some of my choices. But, if I had gone to medical school and had a family, I would have been destroyed by not being able to make the two worlds of surgery and motherhood mesh, each at 100% capacity. I am not saying other women cannot accomplish this marvelously. I just know, in hindsight, I would have been undone.
So, I worked full time before I got married. My new husband already had two children. I started my own medical transcription business so that I could work from home, which was perfect, I thought. It was not perfect when our baby was born. I worked at the computer with our baby nearby. When my husband came home from work, he took her away so I could keep working. I could hear him playing with her and having fun. He would take her in the backpack on his cool-down walks after his runs. When she got hungry, he would bring her back to me to nurse. Then, he would take her away again. He got to be Dad, but I did not get to be Mom. I was just the wet nurse. I took work on our vacations too, playing dictation tapes with power from the cigarette lighter in the car and running the laptop off of its battery, and I continued to work at our destination. Observing the Sabbath was truly a blessing. Meanwhile, other problems in my marriage escalated. Even this difficult work experience, though, was turned to something good when I needed it later.
After the divorce, I needed work benefits which I did not have in owning a small business, and my daughter and I went through several childcare arrangements and jobs over the next few years. I was trying to find something that I could live with as a mother. Nothing was right.
Eventually, I found and obtained a position as a medical transcriptionist that both allowed me to work from home and still have good health and dental benefits and vacation and sick time. It was no problem for my daughter to stay home from school if she was sick, as well as during the summers. The downside was that she often had to entertain herself, making her own paper projects and drawings. Too many times, I said, “I am sorry. I can’t talk to you right now. I am working.” But I was physically home all the time, and mentally and emotionally present more than I would have been with other jobs. I held that position for almost 10 years, the 10 years while my daughter was young. That is my first example of the Lord’s hand in helping me balance temporal needs and motherhood. Years prior, I had obtained the knowledge and the experience that would allow me to get this job when I needed it most.
Surprising to me, jury duty helped me find the next trailhead on my personal trek, that part of my journey, now, when motherhood is less demanding and there is more time for me to develop other talents. As I sat on that jury for two weeks, I was continually impressed by the attorneys. Over and over, I thought, “I could do that. I would like doing that.” Almost as soon as the trial was over, I began preparing for the law school admission test.
Now, my daughter will graduate from high school and I will graduate from law school in approximately one year. These past two years have been some of the happiest times of my life, and she has been glad to have me out of the house sometimes. My love of medicine is still a part of me, and I hope to incorporate that into my legal career. It is an incredible feeling to be starting a new phase of my life, my next adventure.
This is what I tell women like me, those who primarily worked in their homes for a season: when the nurturing season slows down, it is exciting and life-affirming to fulfill old and new goals or professional dreams. You can handle the academic work or the development of dormant talents. I plan to help create better work-life options for women who balance home and work, for all the women and men who work to find the best fit for each member of their families. What do I tell my daughter? There are no external answers. You have to find your path, but it will be easier with heavenly guidance. I am so grateful for the guidance I have had as I stumbled down an unclear and unmarked path—my path.