“Disenchantment” or “Beauty School Wasn’t What I Thought It Would Be”

“Disenchantment” or “Beauty School Wasn’t What I Thought It Would Be”

If anyone had told me eight years ago that moving from New York to Georgia would result in a complete forfeit of my career goals, I would have laughed in their faces, the kind of laugh that Danny Zuko laughs at the Frosty Palace when Sandy asks him if he is jealous of her super-jock boyfriend. Danny replies in utter confidence, “Oh, come on Sandy! Don’t make me laugh. Ha…ha…ha…ha…”

That was me, ha…ha…ha…ha-ing… until I woke up one day a few years later, and realized that I had traded in my career as a successful graphic designer/family mediator (complete with certificates and advanced degrees) for a string of part-time graphic design jobs, a beautiful baby girl, and then at last, a failed marriage. I won’t bore you with the gory details, because that is not what this venue is about, and I apologize for stating the obvious here, but as Frenchy discerns after she unintentionally dies her hair pink, “Beauty school sure wasn’t what I thought it would be.”

In less than three year’s time, I had traded in my professional skills for housecleaning, diaper changing and grocery shopping. I went from working in advertising agencies and the New York family court system, to mopping my kitchen floor and scrubbing toilets. I no longer had a dry-clean-only wardrobe. Instead, I wore comfortable clothes that were at any given moment, ready to be the lucky recipient of my bouncing baby girl’s snot, spit-up, drool and occasionally, poop. I admit it — I wore the dreaded Mom Clothes.

Fast-forward five years. My sweet little cherub is in school and thriving. In fact, I just taught her how to tie her shoes, and she is already reading her own books! Friends and teachers have marveled at her advanced vocabulary and understanding of abstract concepts. She also thinks most of the rules other kids have to follow don’t apply to her. Has being the mom of an always precocious and intelligent child been rewarding? In more ways than I could ever imagine. Does it continue to be the biggest challenge of my life? In more ways than I could ever imagine.

So, that’s where I am now and the reason for this blog and it’s title. My high-maintenance life hardly consists of working out with my personal trainer two hours a day, shopping at Phipps Plaza (read “expensive designer stores” for all you non-Atlantans), followed by sushi and Cosmopolitans on the terrace with my favorite gal pals. (I don’t even use the words “gals pals” to describe my friends. EVER.) And, although I do get the occasional pedicure or massage, and sporadically spend way too much money getting my hair highlighted, lowlighted and balanced with just the right shade of midtones, (I am a graphic designer, what can I say?), MY high-maintenance life is all about the struggles I endure on a daily basis as a result of my own psyche and unfulfilled dreams.

Wow. That sounds so doom and gloom, doesn’t it? Well, truth be told, some days are full of that kind of darkness. (Some days are wonderful and I feel like my life is turning around, and I think that maybe by some small chance, it’s not too late for me to have a successful career. But, those days are few and far between.) What happens on the days when I feel strapped financially, chained to a mentally non-stimulating job of being the maid, servant and teacher of my sometimes cranky, always strong-willed child, is what most stay-at-home moms don’t talk about. In fact, I don’t talk about this with just anyone, either. But, I’m going to write about all of it.

I know that I am not the ONLY mother in the world who gave up my career to be a mom. And I know from speaking to some of my friends that I’m not alone in my disenchantment. A few of them have even thanked me for being so honest for voicing my “being a mom is NOT the single, most wonderful thing that’s ever happened to me” opinion. I love my daughter with all my heart and wouldn’t trade her for the world, AND I am sad with all my heart that I have no career to speak of. (Did I mention I have a 90 lb. dog that burps and farts out loud, and chews stuffed animals if he isn’t walked regularly?)

Welcome to my high-maintenance life.

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  • Shannon

    I am so proud of you.  I found myself laughing throughout your post.  It probably helps that I know and love your strong willed 5 year old and your farting dog! You are a gifted writer, a wonderful mother, an adored daughter, and most importantly to me: a fantastic breast friend!!!

    • Thank you Shannon!! You are wonderful friend!! Thank you for all the encouragement and problem-solving, along the way!

  • Bree Collar

    Wow Karla! What a great way to speak your voice for many out there who may feel disillusioned or in the worse sense trapped at times! Yes, as stay-at-home moms we do have an enormously strenuous job that has eternal memories that for one reason or the other are phenomenal some days and draggin us way down others! Great vibe and voice in the blog! Way to go!!

  • Guadalupe Socci

    Excellent article.   i love the way you think because i think the same way.  I gave up many things in my life but I raised my children.  That is they way you are supposed to do it.  My children are now adults and doing excellent, always giving them my unconditional love and support.  Richard and Emma, my wonderful kids.
    I congratulate you because I can tell you are a wonderful mom and also you have a wonderful family who supports what you do.    Lupita Socci Casares

    • Thank you so much Lupita! You must be a wonderful mom, too, and I’m sure your children appreciate all you have done for them and continue to do. Thanks for reading!

  • Jill McClure

    What a precious blog Karla!  I love it.  You are so very witty!  Can't wait to read more!

    • Thank you Jill! I’m so blessed to have friends like you and Shannon with more than one child so I can hug them and enjoy them (like I did with Anna and Mariella the other day) and then give them back! LOL Thanks for reading!!

  • Just great Karla! I can quite relate to much of this! 🙂

  • You are so funny and I look forward to following your blog.  You know, you and I aren't too far apart and it will be interesting to compare notes.  I gave up my career for other reasons and now am faced with finding another path.  Nobody is puking on me anymore though! 

    • Thank you, Cathi! Yes, let’s definitely compare notes!! For the most part, nobody pukes on me anymore either, thank God! LOL

  • Wanda Pulido

    I cannot tell you how big the smile was on my face reading this ! i am so happy you did it ! I cannot wait to read more ! You are an amazing writer, thanks for bringing me into your world !

  • Barbara

    This is great Karla! Look forward to following you! 🙂 Proud of you!

  • Mary Lou Schwaner

    Wow, gal… that's a great piece! You ARE a talented writer! I can remember all of those feelings (minus the farting dog) when I first began to stay home with babies, after being a teacher and teacher-trainer for Gwinnett County and several others. But hang in there! God has blessed my life with opportunities that I never would have dreamed of and stretched me in ways that I am still amazed at. He is blessing yours every day, too! It takes a while sometimes to see it all unfold. I'm here for you, as you journey through it all! Love ya', Mary Lou

    • Thank you Mary Lou! It is so comforting to know other moms can relate (minus the farting dog! haha!!!) Thank you for your prayers and friendship! I have great admiration for all you do professionally, in ADDITION to what you do (times four) with your kids!!

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