Parenthood Balancing Act

19 Jun

I was going to call this post “Parenthood Anxieties”, but figured I use that word TOO often in many of these posts! It often just dredges up more anxiety to acknowledge that it is ever present, so I decided to try another point of view.

I know there are many different balancing acts that need to be juggled as we enter into parenthood. Learning how to be a parent doesn’t always come easy and throw in two parents who work full-time will only add to the challenge. So what happens to all of the personal passions that each parent has? Perhaps they will fall by the wayside once that little one is placed into your arms… But what if those passions are something I don’t want to lose completely?

I’m very passionate about Outreach and I love volunteering whenever I can. I love talking to middle school, high school and community college students about engineering and what it’s like to be an engineer. I loved mentoring high school students in an after school program encouraging the Architecture, Construction and Engineering professions. I find myself constantly Googling organizations and schools that are highly involved in promoting STEM education to see what kind of volunteer or job opportunities might become available.  I’m worried though, that once the little one arrives, all of this will fall by the wayside.

I’ve thought about a career change including potentially going back to school to get my secondary teaching credential, but the timing just didn’t seem right being 5 months pregnant and all. It’s also a HUGE change from what I’m currently doing. With our family growing, I’m not sure I’m brave enough to take the risk (and the significant pay cut!). So for now, that idea is on the back burner. I figured I’d let The Hubs go ahead and finish the things he needs to do to get his Professional Engineering License first and hopefully that will put us in a better position to make a decision on what I should maybe pursue next.

I”ve also thought about working for one of the many STEM education non-profits being formed with the push for increasing STEM education awareness nationally. Problem with that (in edition to the probable pay cut) is that most of the time, there are only people with education related backgrounds working there. Seems sorta counter intuitive to me to not have ANY employees with engineering related background. I don’t have any experience with curriculum development or the like, which many of these places require.

I could try to find a teaching job at a community college or as a lecturer somewhere since I do have a Master’s Degree, but do I have what it takes? I’ve never written a lesson plan, assignment or test in my life, so the challenge seems daunting. I feel like I would need to go to school or something to LEARN how to actually do this (although I think many in the teaching profession would beg to differ since apparently those programs don’t do much for them.)

I could also find another engineering job with a larger company that has a more establish Outreach program and where it is encouraged to participate in these sort of activities. Currently, my company rarely knows about the Outreach I participate in as they are mostly activities I have found through SWE or on my own. Most of the time I take vacation time whenever I want to speak in classroom or go to an event. I guess I could be proactive and start up something here, but again that sort of thing is not really encouraged. We’re here to work on just work stuff. Maybe I’m just in need of a culture change.

Theses have been things I’ve thought about for awhile now, but now with a baby on the way, the process and decision seems that much harder to make and the status quo seems that much easier!

If you have a family, how have you been able to balance both your family life and pursuing your personal passions?

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2 Responses to “Parenthood Balancing Act”

  1. kimberly michelle (@kim_michelle) June 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    It’s really hard, but sometimes having a kid makes your realize what your true priorities in life are and what you really want. Keep thinking about them and exploring options and seeing what you want to do! Perhaps your spending patterns will change post-baby and you’ll realize that jumping into a new line of work isn’t as scary as it seemed before?? And maybe you realize you want to spend your time differently, or not! But if you truly find a passion in a teaching capacity, I urge you to pursue that talent however you can! We need as many amazing STEM teachers as possible in the field (in WHATEVER capacity that is), and it’s something I’m sure you won’t regret in the future!

    • Jen June 19, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

      Thanks so much for the comment Kim! I’m hoping that once the little one is here it will make things much more clear. I’m doing tons of research now on all sorts of STEM related non-profits and programs. I read blogs, follow STEM champions on Twitter, try to get info non-stop!There are so many exciting things going on in that realm, it’s just a matter of figuring out where I might best fit in!

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