Predominant in my childhood community was the question – Career Woman or Stay-at-Home-Mom? Both are worthy endeavors with their own rewards. Elect one, it seemed, and sacrifice the other. How could I choose?
Today, I have both. I am a Stay-at-Home-Mom with a challenging, professional, fulfilling virtual career.
Just prior to earning my BA at McGill, my father, intending to demonstrate that a woman can truly excel at both motherhood and a career simultaneously, arranged for me to shadow a successful colleague of his. She was both a partner in a prestigious law firm as well as a mother of three.
I saw first hand how hectic her life was. She was stretched thin, exhausted, and – while absolutely achieving – often feeling overwhelmed and guilty. I was taken aback realizing how little time she was actually able to spend with her children. Her choices were wonderful for her, and I have nothing but respect for them. I walked away from the experience, however, feeling that it was impossible for me to commit 100% in both areas. Something’s gotta give.
I knew then that while my (future) children were small, I would be dissatisfied working full time, knowing that I was unable to give 100% to either (deserving) sides of my life. Then I got married and had two kids. And bills. And a mortgage. And soccer camp (complete with cleats and uniform.) And preschool. Wow, motherhood was expensive! Enter the solution: working virtually.
Working from home is an opportunity that I am blessed with. I block off 6 hours each day for work, both in the mornings and at night. While my older son is in preschool and my baby is playing and napping at home, I can plow through 3-4 hours of work. In addition, as opposed to being in an office (where I would be compensated to be available during working hours), if I do not have client work that day, I am not charging my clients. When I send an email and am awaiting a response with instructions to move forward, I simply pause my timer and take care of the dishes and fold the laundry (oh, the never-ending laundry!) I am awarded this luxury and my clients benefit from it too.
My afternoons are dedicated to my children. I am 100% with them – no checking my phone every 30 seconds and reading 2 pages of Peter Rabbit while answering emails. I don’t have to multitask. When they are tucked in for the night, I am a back at my computer. I am then 100% at work.
In contrast to generations before me, I have not had to give up time with my children in order to have a career. My 9-month-old is still home with me and his morning naps are ultimate work time. I feel so grateful that I have not had to sacrifice employment or motherhood, and I really can not only do it all, but also feel good about it!
Submitted by Debbie