I hear many moms explain that they “stopped working” for their kids, but I cannot claim that noble reason. I stopped working because I couldn’t balance. It was clear that I couldn’t get rid of the kids so the job had to go. For me it was about self-preservation.
This decision also brought me to an incredulous realization. The moment I truly knew I was committed to my husband wasn’t on my wedding day. This is my second marriage, and those of us who belong to the divorce club tend to be more skeptical and cautious in our love lives. I didn’t realize I was “all-in” after the birth of our children either. No, the moment I realized I was truly committed to my husband was the day I quit my job. Giving up my financial independence was equivalent to a bad bungie jump.
My career in marketing was one that I truly loved. I started working in the wireless industry when it was in its infancy for a very intense start-up. My colleagues and I worked very long hours, hopped on planes to deliver customer proposals and burned ourselves out on a weekly basis. Youth was the number one trait needed to survive in that kind of high fast-paced environment.
Then I got side-swiped with a divorce and started my journey as a single mom. After several years and two companies later, I found myself working for a telecom giant, managing one of their product division’s international marketing teams. I was at the right place at the right time. I was one of the lucky ones.
Next, a second chance and a love story. One workaholic met another workaholic and fell in love. OK that’s a stretch, I had to get him drunk at a hockey game but the end result was the same. He will still tell you that the last person in the world that he thought he would meet and marry was a single mom. Now to all of you single moms out there, it’s not because there’s anything wrong with being an amazing single mom. Sometimes men have this idyllic vision of how life goes. My husband will tell you today, that he is so happy that he didn’t try to go by some limited view of life. It’s a good thing he didn’t know what hit him!
Within four years I found myself raising three sons, traveling internationally almost every week, sometimes every other week. I was an exhausted working mom, putting everyone’s needs ahead of her own. On one particular tiring morning, I realized I had to save myself so I jumped. I quit. I went all-in on my marriage. A call to my husband was made and I explained to him that I had decided to resign that very day. To say he was shocked was an understatement, and I believe the tone in my voice must have encouraged him to give me his cautious support.
We then focused on organizing our finances and cutting back on all luxuries. We cut our phone line and went to internet phones. We took the kids out of daycare. We turned down the heat and adjusted the air conditioner. I am still amazed that we were able to manage on his salary alone, considering the expenses we had at the time.
It wasn’t raindrops and roses for me. The first two years I was absolutely lost, feeling as if I had lost my identity. Former colleagues started betting on how long it would take for me to return to work. As I got more and more involved with stay-at-home parenting, I started to realize how much all three of my sons needed me. Kindergarten playdates, challenges at school, and volunteer work started to fall into place. I was a slow learner, but the experience has taught me to respect the hard work of all kinds of moms. At the same time I realize how very fortunate I am to have had that choice. Much love to those of you who work so hard to make ends meet. I’ve been there.
Last year my youngest child went off to public school. It wasn’t my favorite year. I spent lots of time waiting for the kids to come home, I got another dog, did laundry-load after laundry-load and realized that I was getting a bit depressed. It was time to make a change.
Eight years have passed and all three children are in school full-time. I decided to start writing this blog and have recently started consulting again (part-time). I am slowly redefining what I want out of my life and am busy creating my new normal. I’d like to say that it is more about balance, a goal that is difficult to achieve.
This is my mid-life crisis. I’m kind of enjoying the moment. I’m practicing what I call conscious living, making every single day count.