Back to Work, But Still 'Mom'
"I love what I do, and I don’t have to sacrifice a single item on my wish list to do it."
Moms are amazing. I promise I’m not just saying that to pat myself on the back. It’s just high time we acknowledge the crazy amount of stuff mothers do every day.
Moms are master multitaskers.
Moms have amazing EQ – emotional intelligence.
Moms are great at remaining calm in stressful situations.
Moms are humble enough to do a whole lot for little recognition. (Though compliments and “thank yous” are always appreciated.)
Six years ago, when my son was 8 and my daughter 5, I found myself at home with virtually nothing to do. I had transitioned from a career in corporate America to become a full-time mother, but my kids were now in school and there was only so much time I could spend at the gym or preparing dinner. So I thought, “Why not get back to work and make a little supplemental income for my family?”
And if the list of superlatives above is any indication, I felt like my years as a full-time mom would actually prepare me quite well for the workforce.
But returning to a sales job in my old world of corporate America was simply not an option. It would mean getting home after 7:00pm, needing someone else to watch my children (not to mention paying the exorbitant cost for that person to do so), and dealing with the stress of traveling to and from Chicago each weekday.
So I had a good handle on what I wasn’t looking for in my new career, but I also knew exactly what I was seeking from my next role: the ability to make a positive difference through my work, plenty of social interaction, fair compensation that reflected my worth, and most importantly, the flexibility to “turn off” my work and become Mom whenever needed.
All I can say about what happened next is this: Luck was on my side.
There was a buzz around my neighborhood – we were getting our very own monthly magazine. In the first issue, I came across a call-out for help gathering content for the publication. For me, this meant an opportunity to dust off my networking skills and to get to know my neighbors better – a win-win! I met with the publisher and it was decided: She would pay me to contribute five stories a month about our neighborhood. I wasn’t rolling in the dough, but I was bringing in a little money without sacrificing time with my family.
One year later, the publisher approached me with an even greater opportunity. For personal reasons, she could no longer produce the magazine our neighborhood had grown to love. “Would I consider taking over?,” she asked. It would be more to handle, but she assured me work-life balance would still be a priority. Plus, as the connector tasked with selecting local businesses to sponsor the publication, I could become more of a difference-maker in my community – another one of my “wants.”
Armed with my sales background and experience in content creation, along with all the attributes honed from motherhood listed above, I took the leap.
Today, half a decade later, I happily work from my home office, schedule meetings with neighbors and local business owners while my kids are at school, and earn an income that far exceeds the initial expectation I had of what a flexibility-focused mother could achieve.
I love what I do, and I don’t have to sacrifice a single item on my wish list to do it.
So what I’m saying (well, writing) to you – to any fellow mom out there who needs to hear this – is that your value as a worker should increase because of the skills you possess as a mother. Given your ability to multitask, manage stress, and sympathize with those around you, the right company should be eager to bring you on. You should never have to settle for anything less than the flexibility your family needs and the income you deserve!
– Lisa Jegen, Stroll Area Director