This past month I received news that no one wants to hear. My job was being eliminated at work. I worked for a locally based company that went through a highly publicized corporate layoff; a layoff that impacted thousands of employees who had families to support. To add salt to the wound, this layoff occurred a week before my daughter’s first birthday.
I knew the layoffs were coming and that my job might be on the line, but once it happened it felt like a dream. I worked for a company that I loved and with a team that I loved even more. I poured a lot of my heart into my job for this company. I traveled, endured a long commute, sacrificed time away from my family, worked nights, worked weekends, and stretched myself to grow and develop in ways I never thought I could. In the end, that company determined that all of my hard work and dedication was no longer needed. Suddenly I was a proud working mom that was no longer working and no longer part of company that I was once so proud to work for.
As I packed up my desk and hugged my coworkers goodbye, many of them said to me, “Now you’ll get to spend more time at home with your daughter.” I smiled and thanked them for the kind words, but in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but think to myself, “…but I like being at work during the day.” I liked my daughter’s daycare routine and truly believed it was good for her. I also liked my routine. Working gave me structure, adult interaction and a reason to be excited to come home at night to see my family.
In a later moment of reflection, I wondered to myself, “Is this a sign that I should stay at home with my little girl?” Part of me wanted to believe that. Part of me wanted to believe that I had the want to stay at home that so many women do. But as much as I tried to convince myself I just kept hearing a voice in my head say over and over, “No, that’s not me!”
I’m a better mother when I work. I’m more inspired to raise a strong daughter when I work. My work gives me courage, pride, and our family financial flexibility and stability. Even just a few days of being at home after being laid off made me antsy. I knew I needed to go back to work.
When you’re a mom, working or at home with your kids, it’s easy to fall into a routine and go through the motions each day. Sometimes something has to shake you out of that routine so that you can grow beyond your status quo. That is why I believe this layoff happened.
Leading up to the layoff, I often found that I was going through the motions at work or at home. I needed to shake up my career and, most importantly, grow as a mom. This layoff brought me back to reality in a way. It reminded me of what is truly important and to realize that I needed something more. I needed something more from my career and something more from motherhood. That meant not just going through the motions everyday…it meant being passionate and present at work and home always.
Before I was a mom I let my career define a lot of who I was. Now, as passionate as I am about my career, I know it’s only a job. It does not define who I am. It’s just a part of who I am. It helps fulfill me as a person and makes me a better mom. What really defines me is raising my daughter, being the best mom and wife that I can be, and making a difference in the lives of the people I care about. My work should be an extension of me. I should not be an extension of my work.
I encourage all moms, working or at home, to take a step back today and make sure you aren’t allowing your status quo to blur your perspective of what is truly important. It can be so easy to get caught up in the routine of it all. The days all of the sudden fly by and you can’t remember what you did last weekend, last night, or even 10 minutes ago. Be grateful for your beautiful families and what you have been given. If you aren’t fulfilled, don’t be afraid to make changes for the betterment of yourself and your family. Life is too short.
After wrapping up several interviews I am happy to share an update that I accepted a job offer that is more in line with the direction I want to take my career, in a location that is much closer to home, and requires very little travel. I am so grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing this new chapter in my life as a working mom with all of you!