I know many women often struggle with career decisions after they have a child. I thought occasionally sharing some of my own career journey and insights on the blog may be helpful to others navigating possible professional changes.
I have been a stay-at-home mom, a full-time working mom (most of it as a single parent), a part-timer, and now a small business owner. Each was uniquely right for me at that time and each brought rewards and trade-offs. Being adaptable and open to revisiting my path has been important to me.
In my heart, I knew I wanted to stay home after the birth of my first daughter and my un-family-friendly corporate employer wasn’t exactly making it hard for me to leave. I made that decision and rarely questioned it.
After three years, I had to return to work outside the home due to my divorce. I was navigating my new identity as a single-mom, protecting and supporting Audrey, and the last thing I wanted to do was put myself out there with a multi-year employment gap and old ideas. I dusted off my resume, researched new industry trends and landed exactly where I belonged with a boss who believed in me and helped ease the hard transition. I should note that I have been very lucky to work for several inspiring and supportive women and I would not be here without them. It is our responsibility to help other women grow. Madeleine Albright said, “there is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women,” and I sort of agree.
I later remarried and after the birth of our twins, stayed home with them for six months. I decided to go back part-time for two reasons: I liked my client and I felt lucky to have the luxury of a part-time option. It seemed like the best of both worlds. The day I went back the agency I worked for was sold and it all went down hill from there. I had been thinking about starting The Family Room for a long time and I vividly remember my husband James telling me to take this push and follow my dream.
I had achieved success in my previous career, but it no longer was enough or fit my life. I wanted to learn new things and get out of my comfort zone, do more meaningful work and help others, and have more control over my schedule to be available for the girls. The Family Room is a place I wished existed when I was pregnant with the twins, and supporting families, especially mothers, is something I am passionate about. I took the giant leap of faith, without formal business training, and created what I couldn’t find.
Some of my career moves were made with very deliberate and careful thought, others were simply out of necessity, but it all led me to exactly where I am now.
As with everything else in motherhood, don’t compare your path with anyone else’s, including mine. We all have unique circumstances, ambitions, dreams, talents and expectations. Our children grow and their needs change. As mothers, we get really good at adapting and staying flexible. That doesn’t exclude our professional lives either. Remember that.