Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vocational Epiphany

This morning as I was nursing Stefan on the couch while watching Fraser frolic around the living room (and responding to his frequent and heart melting “HI MOMMY!” with an equally exuberant “HI FRASER!”), I was reflecting on my passions and where it is I should be vocationally (I mean, other than being a mama, because that’s CLEARLY where I’m meant to be right now).

Here follows my thought process.

ENGLISH. Written word, grammar, and punctuation faux pas drive me batty (for example, apostrophes are required for possessives but NOT for plurals; there vs their vs they're; then vs than etc etc etc the list goes on). Overuse of texting shorthand (innocent may it be) also makes me want to poke my eyeballs with a fork. I am not, however, opposed to colourful, trendy ‘slang’ (e.g., totes, cray, adorbs), the occasional made up word, or the overuse of brackets (can you tell?)… double standard I know. I began to think of how I love to write, I appreciate well written/witty prose, and I’m somewhat of a grammar nazi. Hmmmm…. Perhaps I should have become an English teacher. But wait, I don’t think I’d like teaching a million kids at a time, and I’d like to teach ONLY English (not all those other subjects they make you learn in school). But I don’t like poetry. Or Shakespeare. I’d like to just teach appropriate grammar and punctuation use. And proper articulation. Preferably to little kids. Then it dawned on me. Hang on a tick… I’M A SPEECH AND LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST! In a PRESCHOOL! THAT'S WHAT I DO. Seriously, this is no joke. That was literally my thought process. EPIPHANY! As sad as it is, folks, this is the first time that I realized that I’m actually truly and completely IN THE RIGHT FIELD! Well blow me over.

As I excitedly exclaimed this to Lowell, he looked at me like ‘well DUH!’

Before you jump to the (possibly accurate) conclusion that I’m a complete dimwit, let me explain why it took so long for me to come to this conclusion. I feel like I sort of stumbled into speech. In high school while I was frantically attempting to figure out what to do with the rest of my life, my mom casually mentioned that her cousin was a Speech Pathologist (the one male speech path in the universe). I hadn’t heard of this speech pathology thing, so I set up some job shadowing with two brilliant clinicians. I liked what I saw, and began grooming the ol resume and working towards the ultimate (and still somewhat unclear) goal of becoming a Speech and Language Pathologist. Only BY THE GRACE OF GOD did I skiff my way through the masters program. It. Was. Hard. When people now enthusiastically inform me that they’ve been accepted into a speech program, I offer them my hearty congratulations then secretly throw up in my mouth a little. If I was told that I had to go back and do the program again, well, I wouldn’t.

There’s more.

My first job as a speech path was in a preschool with (mostly) awesome colleagues, but the one non-SLP colleague that I worked the most closely with was very very NOT awesome, and her non-awesomeness totally shook my already faltering confidence. I then moved to New Zealand and worked in a whole new setting (older adults/neurological conditions/hospital setting/mostly swallowing) which was a different ball of wax with a STEEP learning curve. Since returning to Canada, I’ve worked here, there, and everywhere, but mostly with preschool kiddies. While I have enjoyed the variety of employment opportunities and vast learning experiences, became tight with colleagues in various settings, and loved making a difference in the lives of my clients… I still wasn’t SURE that speech was where I should be. Now that I have kids of my own, however, I realize a big part of the reason for my restlessness was that I was ready to be a mommy. The whole ‘finding an appropriate career’ thing was sort of just buying time until I birthed my own babies. Now that I’ve been blessed to add ‘mom’ to my resume (TWICE!!), I find myself increasingly content with my career choice. As long as it doesn’t exceed two days per week…. because I am, after all, first and foremost a mama.

 I consider myself affirmed. And I treated myself to Starbucks in celebration (not that I need an excuse for Starbucks).

So thank you, Del (random cousin of my mom’s who I’ve met twice in my life), for steering me in the right direction. If I see you again in the next 20 years, coffees are on me.

As affirmed as I may be in my career, these three are still my number one priority.


mrsbrownkiwi said...

Julie - I soooo wish you were my go to person for speech for my boys...sadly there's been a bit of a distance in the way....but I know without a doubt that you are extremely good at what your career Motherhood on the other hand. BAM. You were MADE for that. I just know it. I so love and appreciate you.

Lowell & Julie said...

Oh wow, Fiona. Now I feel even MORE affirmed... wasn't expecting that (and may have shed a small tear)! Thanks! :) I'd LOVE to work with your boys... too bad for that dang distance. I soooooo love you and miss you!!

Stephanie said...

I love this Julie - I have crazy train's of thought (was that grammatically correct?) (It bugs me too) like this all the time and I usually come to the conclusion that I am called to be a Mommy for now and later - we'll see, but God knows. But we have a lot of time to (over)think while nursing and up late at night, planning and re-planning our lives ;).

Lowell & Julie said...

So true, Steph!! :)

marcandorkylie said...

well duh!

marcandorkylie said...

more seriously: that's awesome julie! we knew you were in the perfect career, b/c you're fun to be around, excellent at teaching kids and infectiously energetic. the fact that you can make a living working two days a week merely confirms that all your hard work went into the right place.
here's to loving your job!

Lowell & Julie said...

Thanks Marc- you've always been probably the single most supportive person of my career choice. Such a good big brother you are! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Julie, it's Julia here (Carlynne's friend...) I come by to check your little blog family every so often, and just wanted to say this post totally warmed my heart. Being in the mama phase and the 'nearly-going-back-to-work' phase, I really hope I can say the same thing after August when I'm back in clinic (BUT only 2 days per week, for the same reasons as you!) It is just so neat to know someone who is loving their life - babies, home, and work - and that we really CAN make it what we want. Plus, your kiddos are totally cute ;) Best wishes!!!

Lowell & Julie said...

I love your comment, Julia- thanks! And good luck to you as you go back to work and settle into a desirable balance of everything! :)