I liked what she said about people telling her "you’ll never be able to do that again." I heard that (and hear it said to others) all the time. But there are few things that I can’t do anymore that I did before I had children. The main one is that there are other people who depend on me and I can’t just run off whenever I want. But really, in my day-to-day life, I am still in control of what I do- in fact, more in control than when I was in school or working.
She also addresses the idea that mothers don’t progress intellectually. She writes:
As a mother, you will read books, learn to build things, and learn more about nutrition and health, budgeting, taxes, cooking, and running a home. You will learn to teach. Some women even learn to quilt, sew, crochet, do artwork, and do
many other things. I have also learned some even more important lessons—one of which has been to relax and enjoy quiet times with my son.
I’d have emphasized the intellectual learning a bit more here because a lot of things might not sound all that interesting. While I personally like crocheting, budgeting, and teaching my children, it’s the intellectual learning that keeps me going- learning about the world, studying new languages, reading classics. For me, the things listed above don’t make up for intellectual growth even though they do help.
It seems to me that often that mothers who aren’t working aren’t considered to really be learning anything substantial- I could read all the books required for a major in Central Asian studies and live here for two years and learn to speak Kyrgyz or Uzbek, but I wouldn’t (won’t) get the degree. Of course, this applies to anyone who isn’t officially in school, but it seems to be a bigger problem for mothers. We can only really learn practical things, not intellectual things, unless we’re in school. We’re not doing anything that can really give us the experience other people think is important.
Still, I like being a mother. And even if I never get another degree, I’ll keep learning.