I am drawn like a moth-to-the-flame to successful, driven people. They fascinate me. Uber-disciplined CEOs, scientists, corporate career women, renowned software developers, athletes…this is my inner circle of closest friends. They all wake up, setting the world on fire with their ideas and work ethic, and then manage to have families, stay in shape and maintain friendships.

I am…how shall we say… a combination of hippie, highly opinionated French woman, and rough outdoorsman. Picture flower-child meets Annie Oakley meets Marion Cotillard, and they have a love child who is a whiskey connoisseur. I can be found reading poetry and listening to French music in the mornings, hauling a load of hay and shoveling a corral of horse manure in the afternoons, and dancing at a hip hop class in the evenings. I write. I ride horses. I cook gourmet food, a lot. In short, I do whatever strikes my fancy with great joie de vivre. I despise schedules and striving.

Mostly, though, I’m a mom. A teacher by trade, it seemed natural to choose to stay at home and raise our 5 daughters, putting any career aspirations aside. Twenty years into the decision, I’ve never regretted my choice. Though life can seem an endless circle of laundry, lunchboxes, school meetings, and homework, I take so much joy and pride in the children I’m raising and the wonderful humans they are becoming.

Every once in a while, though, I wonder if I’ve reached my potential. Whether it’s a remark made by one of my kids that indicates their view that I’m “just a mom,” or people teasing that I’m spoiled and have a cushy life, it makes me think that maybe I’ve blown this “life” thing. I try to keep learning, expand my mind, and challenge myself, but I don’t have a career. In the way of personal triumph, I don’t have much to show for all of the fun I’ve been having over the last two decades.

So I begin to research graduate programs and order a GRE prep book. I convince myself that I’m going to finally get that master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and MAKE something of myself. I’m going to show my daughters that they can have a career AND a family.

This quickly denigrates into questions about who is going to finish raising these girls in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed? Listen to their stories? Pick them up at the bus stop? Give them guidance? Drive them to theatre? Set up tutoring? If I am an intern as a therapist, most of my nights will be in a clinic. The last few years that my teenage girls are with us will be lost to me, forever. I quickly close the book and get back to mothering.

I know that I have a charmed life. I don’t know many women who get to be “just moms” like me. My husband often says that my “job” is being the best “me” I can be – to enjoy and enrich my life, and in the process, all of theirs. My fascination with reading, writing poetry, cooking, dancing, finding new adventures, enhancing relationships…this is my career. It’s a fun life, to be sure. But it is not one without a lot of doubt and wondering if I’ve walked the right path.