get a job
In school, I always loved taking those personal interest inventory tests. You know, the ones that tell you what you should be when you grow up. I actually took a "Career Explorations" course in college. Probably not the smartest use of my student loan money, but whatever. Secretly, I hoped the tests would give me not only a vocational direction, but some passion as well.
I took the Myers-Briggs test. Back then, I was an ENFP*. According to the MBTI website, ENFP's are: "Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency."
One of the career aptitude tests I took told me that I should either be a counselor, a clergy worker, or a mortician. I thought that was pretty creepy until I realized that morticians have to be very sensitive and caring, and they really help people in one of their most difficult times. Then it made more sense.
Needless to say, I didn't become a mortician. But I probably would have been good at it. Except I don't really like dead bodies. So, there's that.
Anyways, my point is that I was never one of those people who knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, and exactly how I would get there. I have friends who knew, for example, that they wanted to become a teacher. And they went to college, got a degree, and now they teach.
I changed majors nearly every semester. I changed schools just slightly less often. In order to finally graduate (nine years after starting, thank you very much) I chose psychology as my major and sociology as my minor. At that point, it was the path of least resistance.
After we moved back to my hometown, I worked for my Mom in her salon. With the lofty title of Salon Director, I did a little bit of everything -- even doing some of the non-regulated services! I loved this job. I loved the people. I loved the industry. I loved the challenges. This job was the closest I came to finding my occupational passion. Unfortunately, circumstances (and the economy) changed, and I ended up leaving my position at the salon.
Shortly after leaving the salon, John and I found out we were expecting.
I spent the next eight months being a "stay at home pregnant lady." I did (admittedly half-heartedly) look for work during the first few months, but I never even got an interview. And if I had, I would have been very honest about the fact that I would be staying home after the baby came.
Even though we had talked about me being a stay-at-home Mom, and I knew that I wanted to do it, the idea was still very abstract to me. I had no idea what it really meant. Honestly, I was terrified that it was going to be like babysitting the same kid non-stop until it started school. I've babysat my share of youngsters, and I've always been glad when the parents pulled into the driveway at the end of the night. Maybe "glad" isn't a strong enough word. Maybe let's say "hugely relieved in a get-me-the-hell-outta-here kind of way."
And now I was going to do this every day. And there would never be a parents pulling into the driveway moment. I was terrified.
Through the remainder of my pregnancy and the first 7 months of Jack's life, the terror has given way to sheer joy in realizing that this is what I'm meant to do. It's nothing like babysitting. It's challenging in ways I never imagined, and rewarding in ways I never dreamed.
If you had asked me as a senior in high school, "what do you want to me when you grow up," never in a million years would I have said, "stay at home and raise my kids." But as it turns out, that's the answer.
I'm a Mom, and I absolutely love it.
* I'm going to retake a MT-like inventory and see if this has changed... I also looked up ENFP-suited careers, and "homemaker" is one of the occupations listed. Coincidence? I think not!