Putting Your Dreams on Hold: An Interview with Rose Kleinberg

Rose Kleinberg was not your typical child. When other little girls and boys dreamed of becoming mothers or firefighters, Rose found herself getting lost in different kinds of daydreams. A Groundhog’s Day baby who was born last in a lively five-child household, young Rose often fantasized about living with a fictional family where she could be a more visible and celebrated addition.

“I remember yearning to be the daughter on Bewitched,” she says. “I thought that if I could just crawl into the TV, it would be like a life-changing magnifying glass.”

Numerous experts advise us to follow our dreams. Unfortunately for some, and fortunately for others, the days of imagination could already be simply lost moments in childhood. Can you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? Rose did. In fact, her early dreams of becoming a television darling planted the seeds for her future career path.

Her desire and drive to be noticed quickly developed into a love of all things spotlight—one that would blossom as a career in her young adult life. Rose was a dream pursuer. From her first paid job, nine-years old and riding on the loud neighborhood ice cream truck selling cones to hungry tongues, to other stints singing telegrams, waitressing, teaching aerobics, and acting on television, stage, and screen. Her need for the limelight offered many avenues to cover, and Rose explored them all.

“I’m a gypsy at heart,” she says, “and for a long time I felt safer working in a job that I wasn’t tied to—one where I could disconnect and be free at whim.”

As her need for more income became increasingly important, Rose moved onto freelance and office work at a temp agency.

“I have had so many types of jobs,” she recalled.

The early part of Rose’s story is true for a lot of people in the United States—juggle lots of jobs and try to find a career that’s comfortable. But, it’s her life’s second phase that’s even more relatable.

What happens when your dreams are put on hold?

Before motherhood, Rose was a fast-paced New York career woman, but once her first daughter was born, her priorities shifted majorly. Like with many women, motherhood took precedence over all. Rose quickly found herself living the stay-at-home life, while her husband worked full-time. For some women this kind of daily focus is welcomed, but for others it can be a transitional phase that never quite makes you feel whole. In Rose’s case, the latter was true. Given the opportunity, she would have chosen to be a part-time worker and parent—a decision that would have allowed her to split her time and hold onto a part of who she was before becoming a parent.

“Women have it tougher than men when it comes to dividing themselves,” she says. “I look back with regret that I didn’t continue on my acting career path. I allowed guilt to determine my beliefs and define my choice to only be a stay-at-home mom. I felt wrong for the part of my heart that wanted to pursue my passions, yet for a decade, I have looked out the window wondering what life could have been had I taken the risk to attempt both.”

Since this kind of debacle is faced by many women who choose to become parents, Rose was brimming with advice to share with new moms.

“Never give one-hundred percent to motherhood,” she said, “unless your dream was to be only a Mom. It’s the best job, but what makes ‘being the center of your kids’ universe’ problematic, is when you feel like you’ve abandoned your soul and your dreams.”

Letting guilt take over can be unhealthy for one’s mental health, and that kind of pressure can possibly be detected by children. During Rose’s time away from the bright lights of New York City, she spent valuable moments volunteering for her children’s schools. From fundraising projects to producing local community projects and rave reviewed talent shows, Rose remained busier and happier, but not always richer in the pockets in the end. After a decade of full-time parenting and volunteering, she recently re-entered the job market, an uncertain move in today’s economy and one many stay-at-home parents may face at some point in their lives.

Rose recently had her first job interview in seventeen years for a full-time position with salary and benefits. Though the job wasn’t in acting, her true passion and childhood dream, she maintains that things don’t always have to happen the way you imagined.

“I just decided that I’d be happy to have a daily purpose, a paycheck, coworkers to stimulate my brain and sense of humor, and that even if it wasn’t the best fit, or didn’t pay as well as I’d like, at least it’s still easier to get a job when you already have one.”

Along with trying to build her name as a stand-up comedienne, Rose was recently offered a three newspaper part-time editorial position, which will allow her to work from home and continue to be there for her children.  Her story goes to show that listening to your dreams can make you feel fulfilled, and it’s always something you can work at or go back to at any time.

Let Rose entertain you in this funny clip of her work:

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For more articles by Sara Kosmyna.

What was your experience re-entering the working world?

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