I had my first child just two years after marriage. I was not sure what I was thinking, but I wanted a baby.
Our family business was just getting off the ground and there was a lot of pressure and stress to survive in the corporate world. I worked up until the day I had my precious baby girl Brooke.
I then went on to have my second child—a boy– just 22 months later. I can remember just trying to survive as I had no sleep and at the same time having to work at my highest level. I was 28 years old, a wife and mother of two immersed in the corporate world. We had just started the university a few years earlier and I was needed. At that time, we were in survival mode which made it easier to grasp since I basically had to work or starve to death. I was growing as a leader and helping the family to improve our business along with learning to balance all this while being a working mom.
As a mother, I was having those feelings that all mothers feel when they are faced with two choices. Either I stay at home and barely survive or I can go to work and be a working mom to help the family have a few more luxuries. I had so many friends who were moms that chose to stay at home, which made me feel worse when I decided to work.
These feelings created a war inside of me. I cannot deny there were days when I could barely get out of the daycare before I just lost it. Sometimes, the kids would cry and not let go of my leg. A teacher would have to pry them off of me so I could make a quick getaway. As soon as I got to my car, I would burst into tears.
Like many of you, I wanted to provide for my family, so it took two incomes. I can remember getting the kids to school and rushing to work. Then, I would rush to pick them up before I was charged the extra fee after 5:30. It took almost all my paycheck to just pay for the daycare. When they finally got in school, I then would have to only pay for the after-school care.
Eventually, I would calm down after about an hour at work. There were other moms at the university as well who felt the same as I did. We cried and supported each other.
As a wife, well, I had it pretty good. Since I was in a family business, my husband also worked in the college, so I saw him every day. You might say that could be good and bad. Well, you learn to stay in your lane and keep your focus on moving your business forward. It works well with my family. We learn to deal with issues, air them out and get back on the vision. My husband felt my pain and was a huge support throughout these past 18 years. Having that family support makes all the difference in your survival.
I lived for the day when they were older and in high school. They would be busy with their lives in sports and extracurricular activities and would not mind me working. Slowly, that guilty feeling of not being home started to go away at that point.
As I look back, I wished I could have gotten better control of my emotions and how I felt leaving the children because there was so much good that came from the experience. My children were very outgoing and engaging with others. They were not so fearful and made friends very quickly as they got older. I know that came from the interaction with other children and teachers in those younger years. Today, we talk about those days and laugh. They understand why I needed to work and so we move on.
So, whether you are a stay-at-home mom or working mom, please realize there is no right or wrong here. It is something you have to deal with personally.
Whatever you do, just remember to follow your heart. Take care of your responsibilities when you are at work and do the same with your family. Being a mom and wife are the most rewarding and fulfilling times of my life. When I learned to enjoy where I was at the moment — whether with the kids and/or husband or at work– I finally felt at peace and all guilt subsided.
- Learn to be in the now. You can be a wonderful leader at work and a great mom at home.
- Get rid of the guilt. It only brings on more stress for you to deal with.
- Give your kids the attention they need. When at home, be at home.
- It is OK to dream
- Be the best mom, wife and leader. Wherever your life leads you, blow it out of the water.