The Curse of Eve.

comments 9
the godless side / the post-God side

I’m a 27 year-old female with a 15 month-old toddler by my side and a 13 week-old baby growing in my body.

I graduated high school in 2006 with a 4.0 GPA first of my class of nearly 1,000 students.  I received several academic awards, got a 32 ACT score, and tested 5/5 on AP Calculus, AP Psychology, and AP Biology.  (Bear with me.)

But God called me to be a missionary, so I abandoned any course of action towards a secular math or science degree and pursued religion.

I spent the next 9 years becoming a missionary.  I graduated college in 2010 with a religious degree also at the top of my class, but instead of continuing in academia, I sold everything “for God” and moved overseas for missions work.

Then I became an atheist.

And then I became a mom.

Both of these last two events changed everything.  Due to the former, I feel like I am now evaluating my life as a pre-adolescent would, but I am now 15 years too late.  “What do I want to be when I grow up?”  Completely unrealistic.  That ship has sailed long ago.  Atheism has opened my life to new possibilities while completely overwhelming and depressing me at the elusiveness of them.

The latter event, on the contrary, closed new possibilities.  I don’t know if all children are like this, but our little girl, from the moment she was born, has been a complete parasite of my time and attention.  That word may sound harsh, and I suppose at times it feels that way, but I truly do adore her.  The problem isn’t that I focus on her but rather how much I do.  For the first 12 months of her life, she required, honestly, 24 hours of my attention every single day.  Dozens of only slightly-sipped cups of tea and coffee mugs littered our home, a testament of the mere seconds I would get to myself to enjoy them.  That time has only lessened slightly and only at night in the past 3 months because she now no longer requires to be touching me while sleeping.  Still in the same bed, I can actually use both of my hands (as I am right now), so I can’t blame her for being unable to write this blog.  Although it is 4 am.  I should be sleeping.

My days consist entirely of investing into this child.  I cook and clean only in the very few moments she’ll let me.  Otherwise I’m holding her, feeding her, playing with her, taking her outside, reading to her, entertaining her in any way I can.  There is zero… ZERO time for self-development.

My husband takes over the childcare and I can finally invest much needed time into our new start-up business.  I can add “entrepreneur” to the short list of things that I am right now.  And although it is challenging in all the right ways (never had a mind for business before, so it’s worth it to me to learn and grow in this area), it uses none of that science part of me I spoke to earlier.

“Eve,” and by Eve I mean nature, gave me the biologically mechanisms along with the psychological urges to grow, feed, and take care of the children I long to and have produced.

But “Eve” also gave me the intellect and drive to do something, be something, more than what my physiological gender demands of me.

Making mac and cheese, moping up squished noodles off the floor, rubbing home-made diaper rash cream on a freshly-cleaned poopy bum, and hoping to whatever I hope to that I can have an extra 5 minutes to wash the dishes in the sink to clear my mental insanity from a messy house….

I. Just. Feel. Like. I’m. Made. For. More. Than. This.  Please don’t be offended by that statement.  I’m just being vulnerable.

But then, when I think about the alternatives of what it would take to pursue a career or education or… anything extra than what I’m barely pulling together to get through now?  I get completely heartbroken at the thought of leaving my littles for more than a couple hours a day.

But, let’s assume that I didn’t have this additional emotional struggle.  Let’s assume I could cope with being away from them.  And let’s assume we could somehow pull together the time and finances to make it happen.  (All of which seem insurmountable at the moment.) Even if none of those things applied, both my children and I would suffer, even if in unseen ways, because of the evolutionary advantage that has set mothers and babies to be together during their first two years of life.  We can figure out ways to cheat the system, but we are competing against millions of years of evolutionary formation of our and our children’s biology and psychology.  Moms and babes.  Our bodies are seriously “made” for each other.

So much irony.  The very science my brain wants to pursue is the same science that created that need to pursue it along with the need to stay home with the children that it gave me the desire to want to produce.

A woman faces a great battle ahead of her if she desires to pursue both a career and a family.  It can be done, supposedly, and I admire women who do it.  But I feel a great inner struggle in figuring out any way for that to be the case for me.

A woman wants to reap the benefits later in life of having invested in a career as well as the benefits of having invested in building a family.  But… here’s the kicker:  For her to enjoy either later in life, both need to have been pursued early in life.  Let’s be honest, I can’t really pursue a degree in brain surgery anymore, and I’m only 27!  It wouldn’t even be realistic to think about going back to school for another 3 years (due to motherhood), and by the time I re-learned my dusty rusty high school skills, finished pre-reqs, medical school, residency??? Not to mention medical bills?? I’d be in my 50’s before I started!  On the other hand, if I did it the other way around and waited until I finished schooling to have children, I’d risk repeating my mother’s plight in having severely complicated births due to her age, let alone the fact that I’d then have to face the big question of whether I’d want to actually practice the career I worked so hard for or be home with the kids during their first couple years of life.

The curse of Eve ladies and gentlemen.

woman

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The Author

I'm a closet atheist christian missionary. Paradigm shifts happen frequently for those who allow themselves to think critically about currently held beliefs and openly about new ones. I’ve developed the skill, or perhaps addiction, for change but the community around me is slow to catch up -- and would damn me if they knew where I stood.

9 Comments

  1. I am so with you on this. Having an infant is such an overwhelming thing, it sucks all of your emotional energy into needing to be with that baby. With my first daughter, I had to go back to work right away so we could survive financially, and having to leave her at day care was horrible. I thought about her all day, had to pump during the day, the separation was awful. When my second headed off to kindergarten, every hormone was shouting “have another baby!” and my brain had to do some pretty loud shouting back that we could not afford more, I didn’t have the energy for more, I was too old, and there are already seven billion people on the planet anyway. Now as a mom of grumpy teenagers I see mothers with small children and wish I could be back there. (Except for the diapers. And the babysitters. And the carseats. And the sleepless nights. So maybe what I am needing is grandchildren, and neither of my girls seems inclined to think that they will ever have kids. Sign.)

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  2. Maybe an online degree? There must be at least a few accredited schools that aren’t a for-profit rip-off.

    I read that people will change careers five times over the course of their working life. 27 is definitely not washed up.

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  3. I really relate to this, from a slightly younger perspective. I’m afraid of exactly what you described. I really want to have kids someday, but I also want a career. We hear about the wage gap between men and women, but we don’t always hear about the fact that women, if we want kids, are caught between a rock and a hard place. We like to say that it’s possible to do both–and I’m not saying it isn’t. I know people who have–but it’s a hell of a lot easier to do one or the other, and I think that contributes to the wage gap too.

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  4. Stephanie says

    I believe there are times in everyone’s life when they question choices they have made. Whether as a Christian or an atheist, people have regrets about roads not taken and what if they had done this instead of that. However, while some of the choices you had as a college student are no longer options, you are NOT without choices. Maybe it is too late for you to be a brain surgeon, but there are a lot of challenging careers/opportunities in the science and medical field that don’t require years and years of school. Lots of people go back to school when their kids do, and even if your brain is rusty, I’m sure you will find it still works just fine. “What do I want to be when I grow up?” is a question people of ALL ages ask. If that ship has sailed, then get on the next one. My husband is 47 and he just enrolled in a Master’s program that will enable him to do something totally different with his life. He is loving it.
    I have been reading your blog from almost the start, and I can see why you feel like “God and/or the Church” are responsible for you becoming a missionary; but now it seems like you are suggesting that “evolution and science” are to blame for the fact that you want to nurture and raise children. I feel for you and the guilt that the church put on you to behave a certain way and choose a certain path, but if you aren’t careful, atheism and/or evolution will do the same thing.
    You are an intelligent and accomplished person, and I enjoy reading your posts. The fact remains that whether you believe in God or not, life is hard. At times it is overwhelming and unfair. You have been through a lot of stuff, and you need to keep sorting it out. Obviously you don’t know me, but if you are open to suggestions, don’t count God out.

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  5. Gorf says

    PA School! You will love it. It is very competitive, but with your grades, I bet you could get in. Since you’re a mom of young one(s), just start by going to one of the many nearby universities for the pre-requisites. You could even take just 2-3 classes if you wanted to ensure more time with your kids (though I hear the open-enrollment university in town is super easy, so full-time may be do-able). You’ll also want to eventually get a job at a plasma center, or something medical-related. And then, if you don’t want to move to another state, we have two PA schools within 50 miles (one is brand new, in the middle of accreditation, and the other is on the opposite end of the spectrum–#2 in the country)! If I were the breadwinner, I would totally shoot to be a PA. (Only a two-year program, $90,000 salary, 38% projected job growth from 2012-2022–one of the fastest growing professions.) One of the best parts is that you’re not locked into a specialty the way you are when you become a physician. (Plus, doctors don’t always get into the program they want, and are sometimes stuck with a specialty they didn’t want b/c the specialties have to “choose” you too.)

    Haha, sorry I’m trying to problem-solve. My husband says I’m like a typical “man” in that way.

    You are still super young. Be glad you had your “mid-life crisis” so early!

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  6. Pingback: Cure to the Curse of Eve. | teal tomato

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