Me, Motherhood & Design

I decided to go into 3D design because I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. I believed that improving everyday objects & finding solutions to ‘ordinary’ or ignored problems would be a great way to use my strengths in physics, biology & the creative arts. It turned out that not everyone ‘out there’ shared this vision for bettering the world. Many were more focused on their own pockets or prestige, but there was a place for my ideals as a theory lecturer in the design department at the local university of technology. Looking back on those 4 years as a lecturer & 2 as a tutor, I see that I was able to live out my dream by inspiring and empowering other to do what i had been (& continued to be) unable to achieve myself in the design work place.

This was never made more clear than after I left accademia. Three of my earliest students (& my former research assistants or tutors) got their masters degrees in topics I’d have loved, while I was stuck deigning stationary for a manufacturer whose priorities could hardly have been further from my own. Rather than return to academia, I decided to try writting on y own, & work for our church part time. That was a wonderful year of growth, but I was not notably successful at either.
My lack of success & direction was not helped when my efforts were reduced by violent morning sickness. Unlike to two ladies I was working along side, I was not eager to embark on motherhood. My own childhood & those I observed around me at boarding school (from age 6) had left me a little too aware of the responsibilities of parenthood & the pitfalls beyond their control. Eventually I decided that there was no way to avoid the reality that somone was growing inside me, so I tried barganing with God. ‘Ok, as long as its a boy & not too much work. I still want to be able to write & teach etc… Ok?’
My first girl was born with really bad collic and food allergies, and her first week was torment as we battled jaundice & feedign problems, followed by sleeping problems. By week 5 she slept a total of 2 hours a day, usually on the breast, & for no more than 20 minutes at a time. She fed for 1 hour in three & screamed for 1,5 in 3. All my weaknesses were magnified & I was never more convinced that I was unsuitable as a mother. Nothig held any joy, even eating was ruled by the baby. And over everything was the dreaded awareness that this screaming thing would grow up to be a girl… As a tom boy from a farm, & as someone who has consoled & comforted many suffering women, this did not inspire or excite me. I wanted to make the world better, not be stuck cleaning slimy poo off the future victim of society.
Like with my lecturing days, I was sorely missing the point! (How stupid can one person persist in being?)
I love both my girls, and wouldn’t swop them for any boy or career in (or out of this) world! If anything, my job as mother gives me far more potential to improve the world, than eitherf my previous attempts at a career, even in the church. These girls are already finding their own ways to improve the world around them, and to creat a better future. My youngest has just started school, and I am keenly aware of the blessings she brought to our bible study with the elderly, and watching them develope friendships & interact with their peers is truelynamazing. I may never get to change the world, but I have been blessed with opportunities to change the people who can by nurturing who they really are.
As for bordom… Doing this job even moderately well leaves little time for bordom, & often brings so many surprises in a single day that riding a unicycle through a game park may seem boring in comparison.
As for creativity, physics and biology… Every day offers opportunities to engage in all three. These are in fact emencely useful in my current life, possibly even more so than when I was working in design.
My heart and interests are still with design and writing, I doubt either of my girls will follow me in that. My eldest has wanted to be a doctor or nurse since she was three (like my sister), and this unsettled me because in many ways I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. This is embarressing enough at school when your sister is so sure of herself, but mortifying as an adult with a daughter so sure of herself. My comfort and resolution came this week when my three year old piped up he dream career with even more confidance & assurance than her sister. “When I grow up, I want to be a Mommy!” Perhaps that is my calling too. I am going to try to end this internal war & persue all else, even deign & writing, from the view of a mother. This is after all consistent with my original desire to improve the world.

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