I work a lot.
I could definitely work more.
I probably should work more.
I've found myself thinking a few times that I need to expand my career into a new branch in an effort to expand my relevance and build up for an even higher-level position. This is an odd thing for me to think about because even though I work very hard and have had great success so far I have never considered myself uber career-oriented. In other words, I'm not the person who says I need to be the VP of X before I'm 35 - I've never really been that person. Instead, I've always been the person who says I want to do the absolute best with the most impact where I'm at. Period. But nevertheless I've found myself thinking about this new opportunity that, by-the-way would likely be volunteer and in addition to my current more-than-full-time job.
Here's the thing. At my company, position, and level, I don't have many peers that are in the same life-stage I'm in. I'm easily the youngest person at the same pay-grade or at least it's very close. Everyone else is older than me, most with kids raised and gone or in the final years of high-school. OR there's the men who have young kids with SAHMs at home. Let's face it - empty nests and parenting teenagers is a much different parenting experience than parenting preschoolers and young schoolers, especially when those young kids are young and there's SIX of them. (I literally have to remind myself frequently that I have an infant!!! Of course I'm tired!).
My point is, the things that my peers are doing (in their careers) tend to be those things I'd associate with empty nesting. I hear them saying (in my mind) "Now that the kids are grown..." and "Now that the kids are older..." "...I can finally do (insert career growing thing here)". It's a sort of peer-pressure kind of thing. Frankly, they weren't likely in the same position when they were my age or when their kids were the ages of my kids and I can't think of a single one that has 6 kids (or 24 really).
I found myself thinking "someday the kids will be out of the house and then I'll be able to do these things", as if I actually want my kids to grow up and move out of the house. It's kind of like the "someday I'll get to sleep through the night" thing while you have an infant. But really, I don't want that. Sure, I'd like life to be easier and physically less exhausting. I'd like to have a shorter to-do list and get back to my hobbies. I'd like to have a clean house. I'd like to get back into exercising. But I DO have an infant. And an almost 3-year-old girl whose just getting the whole "terrible twos" thing. And an almost 4 year old who's still in pull-ups because I gave up on potty training and who has more than enough spunk for THE ENTIRE WORLD. And a 5-year-old boy almost ready to start kindergarten on medication for behavioral challenges who has huge potential to heal but needs a big enough role now. And a 6 year old girl who's great but needs support in many ways. And my super-duper 6 year old son who thrills my heart but needs his mommy to get through the life we lead. And 2 dogs that shed all over my house leaving tumbleweeds made of fur. And a hubby who works a different schedule than the normal 9-5 leaving me alone with all of those kiddos every.waking.moment when I'm not phsyically at the office. That all makes it pretty difficult to do all that stuff my peers are doing "for their career" or even just to take a shower more than 2x a week.
Yep - I'm a mom. I like it that way.