Just hearing the term “work/life balance” makes me roll my eyes a bit. It’s overused, and I’m not sure it’s even possible to ever get it “balanced.” It’s hard enough to find happiness and stability as an individual. Then put a significant other into the mix. Then kids.
Ever since I can remember, I was encouraged to do my best. That included getting good grades, and it was expected that I go to college. I did just that and went to Indiana University after high school. I did what people do, and got a job. I fell in love with marketing, and I was good at it.
I worked for companies big and small, in a wide range of industries. But no matter where I was working, I was always striving to become a better marketer. Meet or exceed any goals that were given to me. Get a promotion. Climb that ladder.
Having a child changes things
Time flew by and I had my first child at 31. I knew I still wanted to work and I was at a company I loved. I started to have some internal conflicts and self-inflicted mom guilt and was so fortunate that my boss at the time let me work from home with my son two days a week. But if you are picturing a mom at her laptop while her child happily entertains himself, that was not the case. He wanted to be held 24/7. So, I held him in one hand while I typed with the other. I went into the office early and stayed late on those days. I worked after he went to bed. And I wasted no time during naps – I used every second efficiently and productively. I loved my job and while everything wasn’t perfect, I felt like I had a nice balance between work and family life. This was my first taste of the work-at-home mom life.
Fast forward a couple of years and my son was at a daycare where he enjoyed his time there. I moved onto a new company where I was back in an office five days a week. I didn’t really struggle with that because he was happy and well cared for. And since he was older, he stayed up later, and we had more family time in the evenings.
Then things changed again
About a year ago, everything seemed to change. I had my daughter and a flip switched in my head. I had lost my passion at work and I wasn’t sure why. Was my mom guilt just doubled with having two kids? Was it that my job just wasn’t a good fit? Was I feeling depressed? Should I take a break and stay home with the kids? I was struggling, but working hard at a good job had been engrained in me. I’d worked too hard to give it up, even if I had wanted to.
I began talking with family and friends. How I was feeling was not unique. But I needed something different, and I needed it now. So, I took a leap of faith and started working for myself, from home.
What I have I learned? You’ve read this far, I hate to disappoint, but I’m nowhere close to having it all figured out. I read a quote recently that said, “starting your own business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down.” I’m still defining my business, still looking for my ideal clients, and still finding my balance. I have no clue where I’ll be a year from now.
But here’s what I do know:
I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time and I’m proud of myself.
I’ve met some amazing people, and if you look for it – there are so many ways to connect and find others to support you.
Moms, parents and anyone feeling stuck – you owe it to yourself and your family to seek out what makes you happy.
I want my kids to know that risks are worth taking and they should pursue their dreams.
Working from home doesn’t mean I’m working any less hard and probably the opposite is true.
The tug of war in this thing called life is not unique. But everyone’s story is different. I’m finding my way, and I’m excited about the unknown adventure that lies ahead.