I chose my family over my career
For the last few years, I’ve worked for a pretty great company. After I got pregnant they allowed me to work from home two days a week to help supplement the cost of day care and to allow me the opportunity to watch my son reach all of his first milestones. This accommodation helped me tremendously after my son was first born. I worked hard and I was rewarded for that.
A few weeks after I returned from maternity leave, I received a promotion. Before accepting, I requested little to no travel in addition to the work from home privilege. I was assured this new role would easily meet this need.
You may remember a post I wrote shortly after that promotion (“How to make a single mom quit her job“) that alluded to some not-so-great happenings at my office. This was the beginning of the end of any form of work/life balance for me at this company. This once amazing environment that rewarded me for my hustle and quality of work, was now back pedaling.
Being a mom, a single mom, was hindering my ability to slave away at a desk for this company and travel 6 times as much as they originally agreed to. They stopped caring about my circumstances and started looking for reasons to write me up and push me down.
I was exhausted and stressed and decided I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I don’t live to work, I work to live. The second work stops letting me do that, and makes me choose between my family and it, it will lose. Every single time.
Now let’s take a step back for a minute. I’ve always worked extremely hard to accomplish my goals and build a career for myself. My professional accomplishments defined my self-worth and I never left a job without something better lined up.
But I made a decision this time around. I made the decision that my son mattered more than my career, and if it came down to it, I’d leave the place that was sucking my soul regardless of whether I had another job lined up or not.
Side note: I’m very fortunate to have a supportive mother who would have let me and my son move into her home while I looked for another job. I could rent out my house to bring in a little income so my son and I would be ok. Without her, I don’t know that I’d have been able to make such a choice.
I set a date and began my job search.
I couldn’t take just any old job, I needed one that understood my responsibilities and desires to choose my family before my career. And I planned on being fully transparent about that up front.
– Less than 3 work trips per year
– Ability to work from home
– Flex hours
*Bonus* Paid maternity leave
Maybe you’ve read the recent pushes for a family-first mentality in the workplace. The NY Times recently published a piece about a woman-led law firm that lets partners be parents. Or that Facebook recently announced an extended paid parental leave policy for all full time employees no matter where in the world they live.
The only way this is going to become commonplace if more and more people start demanding it. So after applying to hundreds of jobs, interviewing with a handful and declining a few, I found one that understood my mommy needs.
I put my son before my career. I chose my family over my job.
Now, I get to attend Mommy & Me gymnastics classes that are only held during the day in the middle of the week. Now, I can go to doctor’s appointments and be home with my son if he’s sick. Now I can easily run errands while he’s at daycare.
I can do these things because my new employer wants me to. I can do these things because my new employer understands parenting doesn’t stop between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. As long as my work is completed on time and at the quality it should be delivered with, then who cares if I work from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or 6 a.m. – 12 p.m. / 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The hours on the clock don’t matter as much as the work itself, and why this isn’t a widely accepted way of thinking is truly beyond me.
Tell me how you maintain a positive work / life balance in the comments below.