Amy Sorensen | A is for Amy’s Choice – Full-Time Mothering

After reading my post about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series, Amy Sorensen and I exchanged several e-mails in which Amy shared that her dream right now is to do precisely what she's chosen to do: be a full-time mother. She shares her story below:

Almost a month ago Whitney asked me to guest blog and in the midst of the holidays I put it off and then after the big holiday push my grandfather died and I flew to Boise to celebrate his passing with my parents, aunts and uncles and cousins I haven'€™t seen in forever. It truly was a beautiful celebration, my grandfather was 95 years old and ready to die. We laughed over stories about his garden and the menacing squirrels and it was nice to be with family.

Amy's twin Chris, photo courtesy of Amy Sorensen

It has taken me several weeks to figure out what to say here and how to say it. Whitney asked if I would tell a little about myself and my dream journey. I grew up in Las Vegas, NV, finished my degree in communication studies from UNLV and met my husband, an officer in the Air Force, by the time I was twenty-five. We both wanted a family so shortly after we were married I found out I was pregnant. I was excited and scared and nervous. I was a journalist and publicist for a small publishing company in Vegas and I was worried about what I knew I would do next. I knew that I would leave the professional world behind and become a mom. I knew it would be hard, and it is. I am a dirty and tired mommy most days; I'€™m a taxi driver and a librarian and a teacher. I was a military wife and now I am a student wife with my husband working on his masters. I play and have played so many roles.

When I started reading Whitney's blog I thought what is my big dream? Was my big dream to be a journalist and did I let that slip by? I am a dreamer by nature, I like to think of all the things I could do, all the avenues I could take. I could do so many things. And as I have thought about this precious gift of life I have been given I realized that I am already living my big dream. For me the big dream is to have children who are mostly well adjusted, happy and successful. I want a relationship with my husband that will last and that we will enjoy being together even after 50 years of marriage. For me the best way to achieve these goals is to be at home. I can do whatever I want. I choose this dream; this is the most important thing for me right now.

I could be that writer and I do photography as a paid hobby, Thanks Whitney for encouraging me to have multiple dreams and to follow them. I started a blog and I have started a small business taking family pictures and shooting special events. But even in working with my photography I am still the mom, and the most important thing to me is to be the mom.

Amy's children, photo courtesy of Amy Sorensen

With the military we have moved from Las Vegas to Southern Georgia to Central Massachusetts and back west to Utah to attend school. And I am the constant in my children'€™s life and I enjoy being that. I figure someday I'll get the opportunity to go to New York and work at a magazine and someday I'll get to go on photo shoots to remote locations and spend hours just taking pictures. But right now I am living my first dream to be the mother of my children.

Please do take a moment to re-read the Pew Research Center post which I've flagged below. Why do you think we don't do a better job of acknowledging and affirming our own decisions as well as those of others?

Do you see in Amy's decision a hero's journey as outlined by Psyche? Especially Psyche's first task — the sorting of the seeds?

Have you noticed how Amy is already harnessing her passion for photography in service of her feminine impulse to connect and collaborate?

Related posts:
Pew Research Center's “Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-Time Work”
Mothering Matters
Psyche's 1st Task – Sort the Seeds
It Takes Courage to Tell Our Stories
Lily Liang: iPhone iNeed?

Psyche’s 3rd Task: Fill the Flask

For her third task, Psyche must fill a flask with water from an inhospitable stream, etched into a jagged cliff and guarded by dragons. “To help her in this seemingly impossible task, the eagle of Zeus, CEO of Olympus, has the ability to see what it wants and plunge from the sky and grab it with its talons,” writes Jean Shinoda Bolen.

Psyche’s ability to fill the flask is symbolic of her learning how to set a goal and to achieve that goal, avoiding the inevitable distractions.

Tomorrow I begin working full-time on one of my dreams. There are so many things that need to be done to get this business up-and-running (legal documentation, bank accounts, insurance, payroll, etc), the start-up tasks could easily occupy all my time. But, the fact is, these tasks are secondary. The primary task is to invest wisely and well the monies entrusted to us.

Would it be easier and less frightening to focus on secondary tasks?

Absolutely. I could probably even persuade myself they are primary tasks, and become distracted as Psyche no doubt did; fortunately the eagle was there to help.

Photo courtesy of David Watson aka astrothug

Do we get easily distracted when working toward goals?

Worse yet, do we even bother to set and achieve goals, to dare to dream?

Sadly, a lot of women don't. Because for many, if not most women, from the time we were young girls, we may have been placated, even pampered, but our dreams were subtly, if not overtly, discouraged.

Could this really be true — you ask.

Just take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

When you compliment women and girls, what do you emphasize?

What about men and boys?

Would it be accurate to say that with women, we focus on their appearance, or how kind they are (e.g. giving something to someone else) and with men, we focus on accomplishments?

If you're still in doubt, over the next few hours, why not compliment women/girls on what they are accomplishing, and men/boys on how they look and what they do for others?

Feels kind of weird, doesn't it? Which is why filling the flask isn't as easy as we might have supposed.

So, the next time you get that awkward little feeling as you're daring to dream, maybe, just maybe, it's not because the dream is bad or wrong, maybe it's because we haven't really dared for a while, if ever.

Happily, we're not alone as we dare — the eagle's there.

Psyche’s 1st Task: Sort the Seeds

There is a potential heroine in everywoman. Jean Shinoda Bolen

But do we really believe this?

We can quickly rattle off books/films that tell of men's heroic feats.

But of women? Not so fast. And what does the hero's journey of a woman (which is another way of saying — what do we need to do to really grow up, and happily) look like anyway?

According to several Jungian psychologists, including Bolen, our journey looks a lot like the mythological Psyche's journey in which she takes on four overwhelmingly difficult tasks, not for adventure, but for a relationship. If, and when, she successfully completes these four tasks, she will be reunited with her husband Eros.

The first task? Sort the seeds.

Psyche must sort a huge jumble of corn, barley and poppy seeds into separate piles before the next morning. The task seems impossible – and is impossible – given her timeframe, until an army of ants comes to her aid, and helps her sort the seeds.

Photo courtesy of J. Panessa

In order to become the hero of our own story, we must sort the seeds of our possibilities in the face of conflicting feelings and competing loyalties. Where there are competing loyalties, there will be those who would dissuade us, potentially fueling the very fear we are trying to face down. However, the industrious collective of ants – our intuition – will help us gain courage and establish priorities, if we will let them.

As an example of one loyalty, have you ever asked yourself — If I spend time pursuing my dream, instead of fully devoting myself to my husband, children, parents, neighborhood, etc., what will people think of me?

Good question.

Because thinking they will do, feedback they will provide, and quite possibly under the guise of a light-hearted joke. Maybe one that calls into question your femininity. If you were feminine, you would be focusing your attention on your husband's career, not on running a marathon, starting a business, learning to dance. If you were feminine you wouldn't neglect your children (they've had to eat top ramen all week, poor things) to pursue a dream.

When we are questioned, how do we respond?

Do we shut down our dream and go home? Or in the questioning, are naysayers actually helping us, rather than hindering, as they impel us to sift and sort even more?

If someone discourages the pursuit of our dream, what could be their agenda? Does it have anything to do with you? Or is it about them?

Consider another loyalty by asking yourself this question:

If I don't pursue my dream, will I eventually be resentful because I made it possible for my husband, children, etc to pursue their dreams, and now I feel that life has passed me by?

When you are in the midst of competing loyalties, there's only one thing to do.

Call in reinforcements: your army of ants — your intuition.

Because if in fact you want to be the hero of your story which requires that you attend to relationships AND pursue your dream, then you may need some help in figuring out how.

So sleep on it.

Set it aside for an hour, a day, a week, a month.

While the ants have a go at your pile of possibilities.

Together you'll sort it out.

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