Many years ago I read a novel whose plot I forget and whose author has been struck from my memory but something from that nameless book stuck with me. There were identical twin sisters who, having taken very different paths in life with one going the glamorous jet-setting career route and the other becoming a wife and a mother, decided to 'try each other's life on' for a while. The career sister masquerading as the mother attempted to quantify to her sister's children the value of being a wife and mother and what all that entailed. She was a chef, a chauffer, a laundress, a maid, a proofreader, an editor. She was a tailor, a seamstress, a handyman and a delivery person. By listing the jobs done by one person in support of multiple people, she illustrated to the kids and herself the value of the role of a mother.
Reflecting on my own life I could add a few more jobs to that list: triage nurse, teacher, coach, entertainer. And yet this only makes up a small subset of the roles that I and many other women play. I'm a wife, a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a niece and an aunt. I'm a coach and a player, a boss and an employee. I'm a lover and a friend, a writer and a reader. It is a struggle, every day, to find the balance in these wildly differing roles; not just for me but for women everywhere. It is exhausting to think about it to the point where some mornings I wish I could just pull the covers back over my head, eventually emerging from my cocoon 5 years old again with no role to play in the greater game of life beyond just living and enjoying every minute. And yet the relationships borne of the roles which had the greatest influence on me as a person are the ones that have been shifted to the background. Not less important for they are the rock upon which I stand but a foundation, a touchstone to bring the wildly shifting colors of daily life back into some sort of pattern.
But for all of that being said, there is no role that I would give up voluntarily. For as much as I love being the mommy, there are times when I like for my mom to 'mommy' me. I enjoy the strategy of coaching but also relish the days where I don't have to run the show, can just worry about my piece of the game. I have a tremendous amount of autonomy at work yet there are situations when I crave a mentor. The grass may not always be greener but it sure can look cleaner.
Be sure to head over to Sprite's Keeper by Friday to read more spins on roles!