"Mommy's here my love," I called out to my baby boy as I scooped him up in my arms after just finishing a day of back-to-back meetings. "Shhh, don't cry. Mommy's here."
As a child, "mommy's here" had always meant to me that I could go to school, come home and my mom was always here, there, anywhere I needed her to be. I had the blessing of having a "stay-at-home-mom" who was there for every award, every oral language competition, every recital, everything! Of course, I had no idea how blessed I was to have my mom available 24/7 until I became a mom. It's just recently, as a "working mom," that I am trying to channel the gifts of mothering that seemed to come so naturally to mine. It's not easy. There are days when I feel completely spent (emotionally, mentally, physically... ouch, what was that I just stepped on?!). There are days that I feel overwhelmed (how am I going to finish this report, get the baby to take a nap and get the girls to finish their homework?). And, there are days when I feel completely in awe of the beautiful blessings that come from motherhood!
As I graduated college (a first for my family), I had the desire to be the exact opposite of my mom. I wanted to be a "working woman" who focused on career before children. My ambition led me to search for success first, make a name for myself and oh, marriage and children could come later. How grateful I am that my life took a very different path. Yes, I did follow my career checklist and scored a great job in my chosen field of broadcast television, worked my way up to Senior Management in my early 20's and felt like I was "living the dream." Although, one of the best things about life are the unexpected twists and turns that can take you to completely different places than you ever imagined. I soon found myself married, pregnant and buying our first home. I returned to work just two months after giving birth because that was what I said I would do (not knowing that it would take my body several months to heal after an emergency C-section). And, I remember thinking, "What am I doing here?" and "Why don't I want to be here?" Having a baby, despite my ignorance of "nothing's going to change" had indeed, changed everything! So, against the advice of some of my colleagues, I took a leap of faith and resigned. Honestly, it was one of the scariest, empowering, career-changing decisions that I had ever made. It was also the one decision that gave me the courage to re-invent myself several times since and throughout my "working mom" journey.
About a year and a half ago, I found myself faced with a similar feeling. I was now the mom of two beautiful daughters who are the polar opposites of each other, but equally the loves of my life! I also had landed a "dream job" fundraising for the local children's hospital. I had a very flexible working schedule, was able to pick up my kids after school each day and even include them in various community events. I'll never forget the day my oldest said to me, "Mama, you're like a doctor, because you help sick kids and their families get better." My heart smiled. My own daughter believed in the work that I was doing and I felt proud that I could pass on such invaluable lessons of "giving back" to her at such a young age. So, then why was I feeling a pull to leave this great job and start something new? This stirring to start my own public relations company kept growing stronger and stronger until I had to follow my heart, take a leap of faith once again and resign. The added blessing of this resignation was that I also found out that I was pregnant and that our family would soon welcome a baby boy! So, I left the job that I had loved for more than eight years and started my own business. Trust me, it was scary, but so rewarding to be able to pioneer what the next chapter of my career would be. I made a top five list of organizations that I wanted to help "share the good news" of the work they were doing and as of this year, I work with all of them. Talk about the power of writing down what you want!
I am now a mother of three, CEO of my own business, Parent Teacher Club President, Chapter President of the National Association of Professional Women and still happily married (trust me, that's a subject for another time!). It may seem to outsiders looking in that I have it all. However, I believe it's more about embracing the art of not having it all, at least not all at the same time. I've made decisions to choose my career carefully around what's best for my children, my family and me. I am a "working mom" and I wouldn't have it any other way. But, I am also blessed to have learned a valuable life-lesson: that careers can come and go, but family is forever. Yes, I know it sounds cliché, but it's so true. I have found the right job for me and for my family, at least for now. And, when I say to my children, "Mommy's here" I mean it. After all, it is the greatest gift my mother gave to me and the one that am I proud to re-gift it to my own.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women's conference, "The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power" which will take place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.