Balancing A Career With Motherhood
I always used to hear people say, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It sounded nice in theory, but after spending a few years in the corporate culture of a large company, I have to admit that much of what I did every day did feel like “work.” But, I did have a safe job with a comfortable salary, health benefits and a retirement plan. Yet, something seemed to be missing. I started to wonder, ”What am I meant to do in life? What’s my passion?” I thought back to what I used to do for fun in my free time when I was younger.
When I was 12 years old, I decided to create my first website. I spent hours becoming better at web design. I practised typing, html coding, editing pictures, and writing. I loved creating things that inspired and motivated people. I also loved technology and the internet. It’s something I could spend days doing and although it was a lot of dedication and work, it didn’t feel like “work.” It just felt fun.
After I got married and we moved away from the city, my commute to the office went from 5 minutes to almost an hour and a half each way. I thought about it a little more, and I finally decided to start a website and online blog again. In my free time after work, I blogged about positivity, traveling, makeup, philosophy, and anything that interested me. This not only served as my creative outlet, but it reinvigorated my passion for life. During my long commutes, I would think of blog ideas instead of getting mad at all the traffic. I suddenly felt like I was working towards something that I was passionate about again. Writing and creating gave me an incredible feeling of peace. Then, a month later, I found out I was pregnant!
When my husband and I found out I was pregnant with Afton, we knew that I would likely stay home with her for the first few years of her life. One thing you learn quickly when you become a mom is that everyone has their own opinion on what you should do. Everyone thinks their way is the right way. I had many moms tell me the best thing to do was stay in my corporate job that offers health benefits for my family and, most importantly, my baby. It would make me a good mom to do this for her. I had many other moms tell me that the greatest gift I can give my child is to stay at home with her and spend precious time with her in these first, crucial years of her development. It would make me a good mom to do this for her. All the while, listening to my own voice became harder as I was trying to learn how to be a “good mom”.
Then, I asked myself “What if I pursue what I have been really passionate about all along? My online blogging and web design.” It would be a risk and it would be hard, but it would be fulfilling. And, my happiness was no one else’s responsibility but my own.
In the year leading up to Afton’s birth, I worked long and hard on my online blog in my free time at home. I wanted to be able to pursue blogging full-time, as crazy as that sounded. I had heard of others being able to do it, so I knew it was possible. Over a few months time, I invested in a better camera, editing software, and computer accessories. I slowly improved the quality of my videos I was making for YouTube and focused on writing great articles that could help young women in their 20’s like me.
When I left my corporate job after Afton’s birth, I started blogging during Afton’s naptimes and after she went to bed or before she woke up in the morning. I posted videos online about all the things I was interested in in my daily life, and I practiced editing videos & building my YouTube channel. It has been an enormous amount of “work”, but it doesn’t feel like work because I love it. That’s the thing about passion: when you follow yours, it will feel right. Yet, it doesn’t come without tremendous dedication, drive and self-belief.
Its not easy, but it’s worth it. It’s a lot like being a mom in that sense.
I’m so happy to be able to say that I’m truly fulfilled not only by being a mom, but also by the direction my career has taken. While it’s not as easy balancing both, it is do-able. I have come to find that I am capable of more than I thought I was. Most of the time, you are stronger than you think you are. I am able to spend time with Afton all throughout her day, and on breaks I am able to work at (and now earn money!) at the career I have chosen and that I love more than ever.
Now, I acknowledge that many careers cannot be done from home. Through my story, I am attempting to illustrate that sometimes when you feel like you have tried every door, you may find that a window unlocks. Opportunities arise from keeping an open mind about how God will work in your life. I never anticipated that I would find a career online that I love in addition to staying home with Afton, I only decided to listen to my own intuition and passion, and pursue that passion with dedicated action, and with faith.
If you’re a mom, I can tell you that most every decision you make is out of love. When you become a mom, you take on tremendous responsibility for another life. You also inherit an endless love. Being a “good” Mom is less about following a certain formula, and more about following your intuition and heart. Being a mom means making decisions that are right for your family, God, and for yourself. It means having the courage to stand up for the particular calling that was placed on your heart, even if it feels like an uphill battle. If you’re faced today with a decision that can be made based upon faith or fear, choose faith.