The Birthing (figuratively and literally)
When I started this Young Workin’ Mommies, I did so with the intention of shedding light to the ups and downs of young working mothers. It was really my outlet. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant; one month after I graduated with my MBA from the REAL HU, Hampton University (its an HBCU thing lol). At 23 I was basically starting my career as a mother; (NO literally, my first day at KPMG, I was already 2 months pregnant and thankful the morning sickness had surpassed only a week prior). While my colleagues’ major concern was which happy hour they were going too, I was more so worried about how I was going to afford my student loan payments and daycare in a few months with my child’s father living in a completely different state.
My entire career I have been a mother, so I really don’t know much else. I was scared, I was excited, but I was determined! I went into this headstrong hoping that my story would be a testament to what women are capable of doing. I wanted to help other mothers who felt they had to put their dreams aside forever to be a mom. (At least that’s what I was told). I wanted to show them how untrue that was. I wanted to show the nay-sayers that you can have a family AND have a successful career, IF you are willing to forgo certain things (i.e. happy hours lol) and work hard. I made a commitment to be as transparent as possible without divulging TOO much personal information (a request made by hubby lol).
My journey has been just that, a journey. Four and half years ago when I started this blog from my phone sitting on the bus, I was an un-wed, 22-year old accountant and mother-to-be. Fast-forward, I am a 27-year old wife, homeowner, ENTREPRENEUR, and mother to one with one on the way! Never could I have imagined my life would be where it is today. When I crossed the stage Mother’s Day, May 2011, I had this vision of moving back to Chicago, living in a South Loop condo, scouring the streets for pomegranate martinis with a fashionable handbag and a cute heel. Well, I traded that all in for a Southside apartment, comfy shoes, and a diaper bag –both were cute nonetheless (lol). I know that sounds so sad lol but really becoming a mother was one of the BEST decisions of my life; one of the toughest, but by far one of the BEST.
The hardest decision of my life however, was quitting my career to follow my passion! It has been four months since I have taken a leap of faith and left my $70K a year career to focus on building my brand and my event planning company. Yep you read right. At 3months pregnant, 2 months prior to closing on our first home with a 4year old in private school, I made the decision to take on a new journey - entrepreneurship. Crazy right?! It wasn’t a “fly-by-the seat” type of decision though. It was one that had been in the works for months, years even; one that my husband and I both had to be on board with. This decision affected the entire family, not just me! Truth-be-told there were numerous reasons that ultimately drove me to this decision.
1) Availability: This past year my daughter started Pre-K. With school came school activities, school parties, and school fundraisers, all of which Mommie and Daddy had to miss due to work. At first it was just something that came with the territory, but when the teacher began sending around photos of the class Halloween parade and class plays, I began to feel remorseful. The icing on the cake was when Dreux began to realize Mommie was not present at these events. In her exact words “Mommy, all the other mommies were at the Valentine’s Day party. Everyone but you!” Broke my heart. Now realistically, I can’t just quit my job because Dreux wants Mommie to help pass out Valentine candy at the classroom party, but trust me it hurt to know that she felt my absence. And it hurt even more to know that I was missing out on these new and exciting experiences for her. I wanted to be there! I needed to be there!
2) Commute: A lot of people commute to and from work everyday. I was one of those people. They make it work, I’m sure and probably have been doing it for years without complaining. Well that’s not my life. I spent an average of 20 hours a week in my car, in traffic. That alone is stressful.
Lets put this is terms you can understand….(Mathematical breakdown):
So lets just say I get about 6-7hours of sleep a night on average; 2hours to get myself and Dreux prepped and dressed in the morning. Then drive 2hours to work; spend 8hours AT work and another 2hours to get home. Now lets allocate 1-2hours to prep and eat dinner in the evening (which can vary depending on whether or not Mommie remembered to take the chicken out the freezer the night before OR if it’s a pizza or Thai take-out type of night).
So, 24hours in a day minus (7+2+2+8+2+2)= 1. I’m left with about 1hour in the day to respond to client e-mails, spend time with my daughter, and salvage any adult time left with my husband. I found myself conducting conference calls on my way home from work while in traffic, responding to client e-mails during lunch (if I wasn’t napping in the parking lot), and spending time with Dreux and Derek on weekends (when I didn’t have events). My schedule was not only stressing me out but stressing my family out as well. I was sleep deprived and hungry, and my patience was thin; which meant sometimes Mommie wasn’t the nicest person to be around. Somewhere in that mix, I had a bright idea to take classes in Marketing. That only meant Derek would wait until 10pm to sit and have dinner with me once I got home (bless his soul) and Dreux would have to go to bed without Mommie two nights out the week. Long story short, it wasn’t worth it in the long run.
3) Management: I’ve always gotten along with management, teachers, professors, elders etc. Never really had an issue. I respect you, you respect me. I know my place, you know your’s…everyone is happy. However, in my last role, I swear I worked for one of the most narcissistic managers EVER in life. It started out well, but quickly turned. I prayed on it, mediated on it, and even tried the whole “fake-it-to-you-make-it” approach, but the gig was up! For two years under her management I walked in everyday as if I were going for an Oscar. My performance was something serious; stellar performance if I say so myself. But at the end of the day it was draining. I was losing myself, and each day I became more and more unhappy. How long can I put up with this charade? How much longer will I allow someone to control my emotions and my actions? I reached the point of dreading coming to work. That’s when I knew, enough was enough!
4) Happiness: Coming home after work was the highlight of my day. Dreux would have tons of stories to tell. Derek would fill me in on the latest news at work. As soon as my key entered the door, I could hear Dreux’s little voice shout “Mommie’s home”! The commute and the stress of work I had just encountered, suddenly didn’t matter. But the fact of the matter was I was very unhappy. My fulltime job was not fulfilling. I wasn’t really doing anything I could honestly say I was proud of. Yea there were a few projects here and there that made me feel “accomplished”, but overall, I felt stagnant; not really being challenged intellectually. I was more than that job. I was busting my tail for a check, week after week only to make this multibillion dollar company more and more money. Why? Why not put the same energy and time into growing myself; into growing my own business? So that’s exactly what I did!
It was for SURE the most liberating, adrenaline rushing, nerve wrecking, horrifying thing ever! Am I really about to do this? I asked myself this so many times leading up to that day. Putting in that two-weeks notice felt AMAZING. Not ONCE have I regretted it. Building a business from ground up is difficult. But so was working a job where I was mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. My mentor told me right before I left that I had a decision to make. Both would be a challenge and I had to determine which challenge I was up for. Why continue to complain about my situation if I’m not willing to make a change? What they say is true, entrepreneurs work 80hours to avoid working 40! Sounds absurd, but when you believe in something so strongly, and have a million ideas running a mile a minute in your head, you understand. I’m so excited for this next phase in life! (Just continue to pray for me ya’ll) I'm now a Young Workin' Mompreneur!