14 Jan courtney stepleton.
knoxville, tennessee. | sister. wife. daughter. speech-language pathologist.
While this lovely lady married into our family recently, she has been a part of our tribe for many, many years. John Paul is the youngest of eight siblings and like most babies of any family—it’s safe to say—he is adored. John’s gentle spirit is unparalleled and it is no wonder he attracted sweet Courtney.
Courtney Patterson Stepleton is a speech pathologist. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of communication disorders and swallowing disorders. I am grateful she took time out to share her thoughts on life in general.
How did you choose your career?
I happened upon speech-language pathology in my freshman year at Ohio University. I was encouraged to take “intro to hearing speech and language sciences” by my roommate. I was struggling in my first year of general education courses to become a physical therapist. I am so very glad I made the switch, as it has proved to be an extremely rewarding career so far!
How do you overcome fear?
I find that avoiding the over-analyzing of a situation is the only way I can overcome fear. I spend everyday working as a home healthcare worker going into other people’s homes, sometimes not knowing what or whom I will find. That can be scary but I just have to enter the situation with a big smile and an open mind. Other times I listen to my gut and the fear I feel—avoiding situations that make me feel uncomfortable can be a good thing too!
Is there such a thing as a work-life balance?
No, I don’t think so. I fear that when I have children I will have a very difficult time with the balancing thing. It seems like we all know it is impossible to do it all, it is still expected of us to try, even if we do not expect it of ourselves.
If I could tell my younger self one thing what would it be?
Everything will work out EXACTLY as you hoped it would!
What is my best advice on how to live a graceful life?
Reserve judgment and always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt.
j. jane side note:
Courtney’s fears are valid. The idea of “doing it all” is daunting and quite possibly a little overrated. Countless books, blogs, and articles have been written on women and the quest for work-life balance. As a non-parent, I am in awe of the woman “doing it all.” Is she silently losing her mind or is it really easier than it looks? Either way, her dedication to family and desire to influence and achieve is to be admired.
Equally, I respect the woman who chooses to work solely as a homemaker. (And don’t let that title fool you, any intelligent person recognizes that household management is beyond challenging.) Her commitment to family and desire to spend every waking moment shaping future adults is astounding.
While the conversation seemingly tends to surround the woman finding the fictitious fairy named Balance, I think it is critical to note that there is not one way to achieve such a thing. There are many ways to find balance, it is different for all of us yet cannot be done alone. Both men and women deserve to have balanced, peaceful lives. (Wow. I do sound like a non-parent.) Taking turns with work loads, asking for help, and not taking ourselves so seriously may be some good ways to manage everyday business. And Sister Courtney, fear not the balancing act— you have a tribe of people standing ready to help. You just have to ask. Your future children will be lucky if their little feet ever touch the ground with so many adoring grandparents, aunts, and uncles. No pressure of course.