I am a mom first. Loving three little humans is my most important work project. I also write some code here and there, contribute to marketing projects, and get involved with startups. But, before all that, I am a wife and a mom.
More than 10 years ago I walked away from a huge job – the kind of job they make movies about. I was a key player in a startup venture launched by a multibillion dollar organization. I walked away from that so I could focus on growing my family. At the time, I just did not see a path to both.
Over these 10 years, I forged my path to doing both. I still make sacrifices professionally, and I had to say goodbye to the industry that was my first love. That decision was a great one with immeasurable gains.
My family and I live on Hatteras Island. If you have never had the privilege to visit, you should. I live in paradise. I wake up to the sound of the ocean and seagulls outside my window. We have a consistent breeze and mostly sunny days. We surf, we sail, we fish, and we have so much fun. I am surrounded by a small, loving community invested in my family and children. Many people I love know my name. This is a blessing and privilege I do not take for granted.
Even still, the weight of a mostly solitary, very sedentary occupation affects me. The Covid-19 crisis has been both inspiring and very difficult. School is closed, and so is our daycare. Neither has reopened to us. The co-mingling of my work and family is intense. I have my three children in my office without ceasing.
What I learned through these experiences boils down to Two Really Big Choices:
Take advantage of the freedom to choose where you live and work
- Live somewhere that inspires you. Work to live. Never live to work, and check yourself often..
- Build active hobbies very different from your work
- Get outside EVERY DAY. Rain or shine, cold or hot, windy or calm.
Take advantage of flexible work hours.
- Make clean breaks in your schedule. Separate work time from family time even if that means big lifestyle changes. For me it means a workday that starts at 3:30 am.
- Be consistent. Follow the same schedule everyday so your family knows what to expect.
- Power down. Don’t split your attention during family time
Finally, give yourself a break. Kids are resilient, and caring is more than half the battle. Never feel like “the only one”. Connecting with others who understand is a priority.
You are not the only one because I am right there with you.