My Transition From Career Mom to mom Blogger + Everything In Between
This post was sponsored by MetLife as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
Today I’m going to share something a little more personal than usual. As this blog grows, I’m learning how important it is to put myself out there, even when it’s not in my comfort zone. Over the past year, I’ve had more and more people reach out to me to ask how I’ve grown the blog and turned my love for DIY into a side hustle. I’m always thrilled to answer these individual questions and try to keep it very real with those who have similar aspirations. But, for fear of ever making my life as mom and blogger look seamless, and not the work in progress that it is, I’m ready to share more about my story right here in the open.
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The truth is, I’ve had many roles since becoming a mom – full-time working mom, stay at home mom (SAHM) and everything in between. You’ve likely heard the phrase “Mommy Wars” – the controversy amongst moms about what we feel we “should” do vs. what we “want” to do in the working world, and of course, vs. what we “have” to do. Today I’m sharing something that’s been brewing in my mind for years, my own “Inner Mommy Wars.”
Since becoming a mother, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to experience motherhood in so many ways. I’ve been a full-time career woman, a part-time freelancer, a full-time SAHM, and a part-time work from home (micro) entrepreneur. I’m so thankful that in recent years I’ve had the luxury of being able to choose the role I wanted for my life. However, I haven’t always “had it my way.”
My inner mommy wars began 9 years ago when my first child was born. My career was progressing nicely, having just been promoted to a marketing director at a company I loved, before my maternity leave. However, when my short maternity leave was over, I was sobbing at the prospect of returning to work. It wasn’t just the hormones talking. More than anything, I wanted to be at home with my child. But, like for so many others, it just wasn’t an option.
I put my game face on and returned to my career, working four more years and having two more children. Coming back after maternity leave never got easier.
This was a lonely phase of my life. At work, I was successful according to my colleagues, and outside of work my friends and family often asked, “How do you do it all?!” I was making things happen, logistically.
But in my personal life, I didn’t want my children to be logistics. I had approximately 2-3 waking hours with my children on the weekdays.
Most of my friends were stay at home moms. As a result, so many of my friends couldn’t relate to me, or I to them. While they had a mommy social life during the day that built friendships and community, I had one foot between that life and another foot in my life as a career woman. A natural introvert, I pushed my social life aside on to make room for much-needed quality time with my family on weekends.
When our third child was born, we were finally in a position that would allow me to step back for awhile to be at home with the children. I knew with certainty that this was what I wanted.
What surprised me was how hard the transition to being at home was. It’s not that I didn’t want to be at home – I totally, 100% did. What surprised me was how insecure the move made me. On one hand, so many of my friends were now returning to work, had built their mommy networks, and/or were in a phase of homeschooling. That particular window of SAHM social life was closed.
In addition, I was now 13 years into a solid career, and I was insecure that my professional acquaintances and peers would judge the move as weak, while they continued to power on to career heights. I felt that I also needed a side gig to both help me stay in the game and provide “value” to my family. So I began freelancing. Some clients were challenging, and took way too much of my time for too little money. I fired them too slowly. Then there was the dream client. I was fulfilled, had a great work life balance, loved the work and the company I worked for, and was helping to support my family – it was everything I’d wanted since becoming a mom. Only now our family was different, our finances were different, and my baby was growing quickly. For a second time, I made the right decision (for me) to focus on our family.
It was when I made that final-final decision to be at home for a season that I began focusing more on the blog and started a 365 photo-a-day project to help me embrace my new role and be present in it. Even in the mundane moments like morning carpool. 😉
At first it was a creative outlet, and later it became a small side income for the family.
Throughout it all, our family adapted to my many career moves. There certainly have been times of feast or famine, as far as my income is concerned, but our priority has always been making sure our family was taken care of – physically, spiritually, and financially.
Now that I’m both a SAHM and entrepreneur, I find so many moms that reach out to me asking how they can make similar life changes for themselves. I’m so grateful to be on the other side of it and able to answer questions so my readers, too, can reach their personal goals. Something that has been weighing on me a lot lately is how many people jump into similar life and career moves quickly without thinking through the long-term implications.
My advice is always to take it slow – and when possible, start your side hustle well before the time you plan to quit your job, if your income is critical to your family.
So many people try to take rash shortcuts or cut out important expenses in the name of taking care of their children and reaching their goals. It’s not an easy topic to think about, let alone write about, but through all my transitions we have maintained health and savings plans and term life insurance policies. We want to be prepared.
Even though at times I’ve brought in no or very little income we knew that if, God forbid, something happened, there would still be significant expenses that would occur if I was not around to care for the children, such as childcare and possible moving expenses.
The fact is, not everyone who reaches out to me heeds my advice. Only about half of women have life insurance*, and a primary barrier that keeps people from getting it is a medical exam.**
Guess what? Not a good excuse anymore! MetLife now offers simple term life insurance that provides up to $500,000 in coverage, without an in-person medical exam or requests for fluids, like blood and urine, ever, just a handful of health questions.
For more information on the full terms, conditions and limitations about the MetLife Rapid Term product, I encourage you to look at MetLife’s MetLife Rapid Term website.
So sure, this is a DIY blog and I’m no life coach. But having experienced so many roles as a mom – I’ve realized that a mom’s worth is invaluable to her family…six figures or no figures. Moms: no matter what your monetary income is for your family, your role is worth more than you realize. Follow your dreams and take some career risks, but do it the smart way.
I hope my story helps other women out there to not only pursue their goals, but also to feel not so alone. We are all just doing the best we can, and when we support each other and stick together, we can do amazing things.
* LIMRA Life Insurance Ownership in Focus, U.S. Person-Level Trends: 2016
** 2017 LIMRA Insurance Barometer Study