Thursday, March 02, 2006

Balancing work with family...

In the NY Times today, there is a quote from a mother who is staying home now after working, to take care of her young children. She sums it up well when she says,

"Most of us thought we would work and have kids, at least that was what we were brought up thinking we would do — no problem," Ms. Watson-Short said. "But really we were kind of duped. None of us realized how hard it is."

This article touches on the struggle I have been dealing with for quite awhile. How do you balance both wanting to work and wanting to raise your children and do both well? I got my MBA before having children, and have been working since I was in high school, so work is an important part of who I am. But, once I had those two incredible children, I realized that my illusion of childcare was not realistic if I was to be an important part of their formative years. I didn't want someone else to care for them when they were sick, or give them the hugs they needed one, or read them their favorite stories.

At the time my children were young, I opted to teach part-time at the college-level, giving up my corporate career. I had been the youngest account manager to call on Pepsi. It was a hard fall for me, but the rewards of being with my children pushed me to find another path. I just knew that there had to be another way than the established and/or accepted path that had been set out by "corporate america".

Several years later, here I am--going back to school to get my PhD. I am one of the older students in my class and the only woman in my class with children, but it works for me. I do my homework as my children do theirs. It is a detour in our family's life from what we all had expected, but it will be worth it in the end. I have shown my children that if the path before them is not the one they want, they can blaze their own trail.


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