In my early 20s, my career goals looked extremely vertical. I could tell you I was reaching for a manager role, and my next step would be director, and eventually I wanted to be VP of Communications or own my own firm. You may have started out your career the same way, and whether you’ve stayed on that track or ventured onto a new one, I’m certain you’re reading this article because you can relate to the fact your career goals and desires may have taken a different turn once you started a family.
I know I read Lean In while I was pregnant and thought, “okay, GOT THIS!” Keep going, keep dreaming, your kids will be another wonderful addition to the life you’re dreaming about, and nothing will slow you down.
Confession: I was naive, pretty selfish, and was in for a rude awakening. I also don’t think I really got it until baby number two came along.
I think as a young professional sometimes it can be difficult to dream outside of a traditional career path. I know for myself, once I became a mom and real life came my way (doctor’s appointments, family emergencies, tragedy, moving across the country, missing my kids, the list goes on!), I started questioning what was most important to me in my career. Was it title, salary or work-life balance? This article about Megyn Kelly’s recent decision to decline a $20 million job opportunity for a different one that offers more life balance shows that many women – and men – are choosing careers and jobs that may not be the best paying, but give them what they need, when they want it.
For me, I had two different jobs after I had kids. One was a management role, and the other client-facing. Both of those employers were truly respectful to work-life balance, and offered me a lot of options. I am forever thankful to those managers and organizations (and I’m not saying that because my blog is public). It was ultimately myself that decided full-time employment out of the home, right now, wasn’t the best situation for me or my family. More about my story next week.
Which is why I wanted to put together this article – one that showcases a variety of career stories from so many incredible women who experienced twists and turns in their careers and family lives (or may be navigating those now).
Is your employer truly family friendly, or did you end up exploring a new career path because it wasn’t working any longer?
I’ve talked to several bloggers I personally admire, who, for the most part pursued a different career path after becoming moms. Some thrived in their workplace and found ways to strike a balance, and others pursued blogging, part-time arrangements, their own business or being a stay-at-home mom (or all the above in some cases).
Enjoy these amazingly inspiring stories from women who have held multiple professional titles and navigated changes in their professional and personal paths. I hope you find one that you can relate to – and that helps you realize where ever you are today is exactly where you should be!
PR Professional Turned Entrepreneur
Emmy-nominated reporter turned Blogger & SAHM
Janie at She Just Glows
After 8 years of waking up at 2:30am for my job as a morning TV news reporter, one day, it all changed. I gave birth to our first son, and in that moment, I started my life as a stay-at-home mom. We’ve since added 2 more boys to the family, so I now have 3 sons 5 years old and under.
I can tell you this: I’ve never looked back.
First, let’s start with the practical: in my TV job, I didn’t make enough money to warrant full-time childcare. And to be perfectly honest, I also didn’t love my job enough. On top of that, my husband travels a lot, and we don’t have family nearby. Who would watch the kids if I was called in to the TV station for overnight breaking news, or even just to make my 3:30am call time? In my gut, I knew it wouldn’t work.
To prepare ourselves, during my last 2 years working, my husband and I took my salary and put it directly in our savings account, not so much to save up for when I wouldn’t be working, but to learn to live on just his income. We’ve never touched that money since.
While it takes planning and resolve, my decision to be a stay-at-home mom was an easy one. But, it’s NOT the easy job I thought it would be. Let’s be real: there are many days that I’d rather be doing something else. Sometimes, I do daydream about that former life when I was, well… somebody. I didn’t think about it at the time, but in some way, I was important. At home, it’s different. I’m peed on and yelled at and whined at on a regular basis. I’m currently sitting, unshowered, at my computer to write this while my kids watch TV and I hand them granola bars to keep them at bay. The needs are constant, and even getting 10 minutes of “alone” time is a stretch.
But, in reality, I know in my heart that I AM important. Very important. Just in a different way. I’m not wearing heels and false eyelashes today, but I’m shaping characters and raising tiny human beings. The work is thankless and hard, but it’s important and fulfilling. I can revisit my career later, when the kids are older, but I can never get these early years with my children back.
This is the work of my life. And it makes me proud.
My work-at-home journey began when I was pregnant. Although I worked full-time as a nurse, it wasn’t a career path that fed my soul. So all throughout my pregnancy I saved my money, planned my exit strategy, and searched endless hours online looking for alternative ways to make money from home.
Eventually, I left my nursing job and jumped headfirst into being a full-time stay-at-home-mom. And while my number one priority was always my daughter, as my savings started to dwindle, I became more serious about finding a job that I could do from home. At first, I started doing some freelance work and shortly after that I launched my blog. And as my daughter grew, so did my blogging business.
Today, I work full-time as a blogger, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to adjust my schedule to fit my daughter’s school schedule, and if I need time off for family stuff, I’m able to take it. If you would have told me ten years ago that I’d be an entrepreneur, I would have never believed you. But now that I’m here, I can’t imagine not having the flexibility that entrepreneurship offers.
I hope this post leaves you feeling inspired, encouraged and motivated to pursue the path that’s going to give your family the balance you need to feel fulfilled personally and professionally. I know what unites us all is the passion to be loving mothers who want to be there for our kids.
Make sure to head back next week for some more stories from women who have navigated career changes when having children, including my own.
What are you dreaming of doing today? Do you want to start your own business, a blog, stay at home, or earn your next promotion? What’s standing in your way?