Trading a Career for MommyhoodI used to think I had the life. I was a Fashion Director for a national magazine, had private drivers, hair and spa treatments that were paid for, a closet full of designer shoes, front row seats to New York's Fashion Week, celebrity filled parties and a pay check to match.
But, although from the outside my life seemed exciting and glamorous, it was filled with anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, and a constant need to prove myself to a group of people I cared little about. I knew deep down that this was not the path I was put on this earth to travel and I continually lived in angst trying to figure it all out.
About two years ago, while pregnant with my daughter and a 10 month old at home, our company announced that, due to the economy, our magazine would cease publication that week. While my counterparts around me cried tears of fear and grief, I felt as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.
You see, that very morning, I gave up trying to figure it all out. While walking to work, I prayed to God to clearly show me if this career was what I should be doing. Less than twenty minutes later, I was out of a job by no choice of my own and left to take a new road.
For the next two months I struggled turning down jobs I knew were great opportunities but knowing my heart wasn't in it. When I searched my soul I knew I simply wanted to be at home loving my son with everything I had but, because I had spent so many years trying to please everyone but myself, I didn't feel I deserved to do what I wanted to do.
One day while on the phone with my brother he said something that changed my life. He said, "Brooke, you have the rest of your life to work but, you'll never get this time back with your kids." At that moment I knew, I could continue working in a field that brought me material, surface satisfaction or, I could do something my heart longed to do and choose to take the path unknown.
I chose to take the path unknown and, two years later, I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have ever made.
It has been a struggle to feel security and love in a job that doesn't deliver a pay check, there is no potential for bonuses and awards, and rarely gets a pat on the back. But, it has challenged me to look inside myself for inner peace and security instead of depending on outside sources that will never be able to deliver it.
My life no longer includes Prada shoes, perfectly manicured hands, extravagant dinners and being certain of what the next day will hold.
Instead, my life is full of adventure, exploration and discovery.
Finding true joy in the little things,
Realizing that fears I had buried deep inside are not so scary once brought to the surface,
Discovering that life is truly filled with rainbows but you have to brave the storms to find them,
And, being OK with just being us and just being me. Because there's truly no other way to be.
Do I miss my old, fabulous life? Every once in a while but, then, I'm brought back to reality with giggles. And not just my kids' giggles but, my own because, although I still have challenging days that make me second guess myself, I know I'm traveling the path I was meant to take all along. And I'm excited to see where it takes me next.
5 tips that have helped me make the transition from career woman to Domestic Multitasker:
1. Put your oxygen mask on first.
It is one of the most important operational flight rules and with good reason. If Mommy isn't taken care of, baby won't be taken care of.
Don't neglect yourself. I have a standing pedicure appointment with myself every two weeks and my husband knows he's on daddy duty. It's an hour away from my family but I come back a happier mommy. I also wake up an hour and a half before my kids so I can be guaranteed a nice, hot shower, an uninterrupted full cup of steaming coffee and time to do something I love most-read.
You might not be a morning person but carve out time for yourself every day even if its just five minutes. (I give you permission to let your kids watch Gabba gang one more time if it allows you a to catch up on your favorite magazine!)
2. Speak up.
Many friends have said that they envy my husband because he is a very hands-on dad and will take the kids out on weekends so I can have time alone. But, that didn't just happen because he read my mind, I spoke up for myself and told him my needs. (This also requires a husband that will listen!)
I feel strongly that parenting is a partnership. Our husbands have a requirement to do their part but, we are guilty if we harbor unresolved feelings and don't speak up for what we need! And part of this is also asking what their needs are and making sure we are doing our part too.
In addition, ask friends for help. My husband and I live many miles from our families so we have to rely on good friends to help us out and it always makes us feel good to return the favor!
3. Be careful who you surround yourself with.
My friend Suzanne gave me some great advice that was passed along to her. If you are the only one of your friends whose child is not sleeping through the night then you need to get new friends!
Life is too short to be a competition. Mommies need friends who will build them up and be a support system, not make each other feel inadequate.
4. Stay connected.
Once you do find good friends, stay connected. If we only picked up the phone to call a friend when the kids weren't screaming, dinner was made or we weren't feeling frazzled, we'd never call anyone!
Wouldn't it be nice if your girlfriend called and said, "Hey, I only have two seconds, I really want two minutes to talk but I just didn't want to let any more time go without saying I'm thinking about you and miss you. OK, gotta run but sending you a big hug and, if I could afford it, lunch and a spa day just for the two of us!"
Makes you smile right? Stay connected not just for your friends but for yourself too. They need it just as much as you do.
5. We choose our own way.
Just like you, I don't want to experience pain and misfortune but, without them, we would also never know the real triumphs and joys (a.k.a rainbows) of life.
Through trials, both big and small, I have learned that I have no control over the events that take place in my life but, we all have full control over how we will respond to and learn from them. And, more times than not, that means being a little more creative in our thinking.