Career & Motherhood: What’ll I Be When I Grow Up?

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My eldest daughter often talks about what she might be when she grows up. It changes regularly. Her potential career varies greatly, ranging from running her own beauty salon or being an artist through to being a chef or a doctor (she saw a news report about Alzheimers and was particularly concerned about it so wanted to find a cure). However, my overall response is that she can be whatever she wants to be. This is what my mum said to me and I believe it to be true for my daughter.

She is bright (you’re probably not meant to say that about your kids, but she is), she’s hugely enthusiastic about pretty much everything and I’m sure she’ll be afforded many opportunities as well as creating her own. I was an extremely enthusiastic child, arguably fairly bright, and was definitely given the encouragement and means to pursue whatever I wanted.

Choosing a career

The problem is, I don’t think I ever truly figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was interested in the media and English, so a humanities degree incorporating media studies and linguistics, and a subsequent 14-year career in PR seem like good choices. However, I don’t think it was what I ever really envisaged myself doing. I don’t believe it was my true vocation.

I loved crime dramas/fiction when I was much younger and fancied myself as a bit of a Nancy Drew or female Columbo; more recently a Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson or DC Dinah Kowalski. I think detective work would have suited my tenacious, inquisitive, investgative nature well (I was at one one point extremely interested in the idea of forensic linguistics). However, for some reason I didn’t really think it was a realistic choice. I also questioned the viability of a career as a scriptwriter when I became interested in that. 

My mum died whilst I was in my final year at university. She knew me better than I know/knew myself and I genuinely think she’d have suggested (definitely not in a pushy way) something and I would have had an epiphany moment. She would certainly have nurtured and encouraged anything I was toying with – scriptwriting and detective work for example.

Now my issue is that motherhood has fundamentally changed me. I work (and enjoy working), but I don’t want to work full-time and, dare I say it, I now lack the ambition and perhaps the confidence for a complete change of direction. Again, I think my mum would have helped me here. I sometimes feel like I’ve missed the boat. Although  I’m not actually sure what type of boat that was and where it was going.

However – and this is a BIG however – if I hadn’t chosen the path I did, I would have missed out on a lot of fun, travel, friends and experiences and I  wouldn’t have met my wonderful husband and had our three amazing children.

I’m still working on that winning Dragon’s Den idea though…



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About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on TalkMum and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

2 Comments

  1. Completely forgot to comment on this, sorry! Such a good post though, it really resonated. I fell into PR after an English degree. I vaguely wanted to be a journalist but didn’t really know how to go about it, and once I moved to London there was no way I could have survived on an editorial assistant wage. I’m only now doing more of the writing, which is good – but feel the same about working and ambition. I think the happiness thing is more important though, especially now there’s other people to think about x

    • PR definitely seems to be a job that people fall into and unfortunately money does dictate choices all too often. I think it’s a very lucky person that finds their true vocation and gets paid very well for doing it! On a personal note, it’s very reassuring to hear I’m not alone on the ambition front. I think if the right opportunity came along, which fit in with the family, I’d get my drive back. That might be a tall order!

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