Don’t Make Me Choose

The year my mom graduated from University, she had me and, from that moment, she became “Mom.” To herself, her family, and the world, her entire identity was maternal. So she has always reiterated, “Become a professional! I don’t care what kind! I just want to you work and be independent!” My dad is that kind of professional. As a successful leader, he works incredibly hard…but he misses my mock trial competitions, my sister’s flute recitals, and my mom’s birthdays. So growing up, I thought I had to choose one or the other: family or profession. For years I struggled to choose what meant more to me and even held a grudge against my parents for sending mixed messages. Couldn’t they have agreed just this once? But headed for college, and when asked about my future aspirations, there is no internal doubt that I will work to integrate both: I will “become a professional” AND kiss my daughter good night and make her kimchi fried rice.

I aspire to be a great mother like my mom AND a great leader like my dad. But I know the perfect 50-50 balance will only come through years of trial and error. However, I refuse to ever give up. In fact, I have started practicing that juggling act right now. Balancing academic obligations and family relationships is not easy, but I have learned to meet my biology teacher before school so I can drop my sister off at middle school with a smile!

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