Parenting is one of the most important and rewarding jobs you can have! Raising a child is hard enough, on its own, but throw in wanting to be successful in your career as well!
I grew up in a single-parent household! Not because my dad was not present, but he passed just before I started kindergarten. My mom raised my sister and I, alone. If she dated, I never knew. I never saw her miss a beat, I never saw her put anyone or anything before us. Not a job, a man, a hobby…anything! My mom was, and still is, a hairstylist! I can vividly remember waking up on Saturday mornings and hearing her blasting gospel music, and talking even louder to her clients. She did hair in our home, and often times, I’d go stand right beside her and just watch! It came to a point where I’d even start doing hair myself, and when my mom had surgery on her hands (she had carpal tunnel), I’d even take some of her clients on.
One thing that my mom enforced was a great education, for my sister and I! We went to public schools, but always attended the best schools, schools of choice! There were no free summers, in our household! Not one! We did camps, college prep programs, and whatever else she could find for us! I can remember my mom coming to my schools, and talking to my counselors about getting into special programs. Often times they’d tell her “You’re about a year too soon”, or “Wait until high school”, and she’d apply anyway! I was often times, involved in academics programs way before my time!
I’ve always been academically inclined, I’ve always had great work ethic, and I’ve always sought out new opportunities in my career! Not because of money, but because it has been instilled in me to always achieve! I graduated with my Master’s Degree at 23, became a CPA at 25, and I have been going after “it” since then! I’m a hustler and I can always find things to fall back on, should accounting not work for me! I can do hair, I can SALE (spent plenty of years in retail), I know a little about A LOT!
In 2015, I became a mom, seven years into my professional career! I remember, being out on maternity leave, and anxious to go back about 6 weeks in (I returned after 12). Not because, I didn’t enjoy being with my child! I LOVED being a new mom! I had cabin fever, though! I wanted to be back to work, and I wanted to feel a sense of normalcy again.
I mention in an earlier post, about being fired from my job, when my daughter was 5 months. For the next four months, I would spend a lot of time with her, and work on my personal business, J&F Advisors, PLLC. At the time, things at J&F were steady, but not super busy. I still needed to find a 9-5, eventually! Being with my daughter, those 4 months, allowed me to do a lot of bonding with her! It also showed me, that she needed to spend time with other children, and people who are trained to develop children. There was only so much I could teach her, in my care, and I knew that she’d be better off with someone who knew the small nuances I didn’t.
Returning to work for a second time, tax season rolled around, and the business did NOT subside after 4 months. So, I was working a full-time corporate job, and J&F was really picking up a lot of business. I’d go to work, come home, read to my daughter, play a little bit, and then rely on Elmo to do the rest, until bedtime! It was a routine, I HATED! My daughter’s father was around, but that was, and is about it. He’s just around! I had help from my mom and sister, and she’d spend time with her paternal family sometimes!
I was playing tug of war, to balance motherhood and my career, mainly because I wasn’t in a position to quit my full-time job, yet! I’d put my daughter to sleep many nights, right at my computer desk, or I’d use vacation days so I could make sure I was spending time with her. It also helped that the company I worked for allowed us to work from home, and I’ll be honest and say, I may have abused that opportunity! Partially because, I knew it wasn’t permanent!
When I left my job, in March 2018, I remember telling my business partner, “I’m so happy, I can take my daughter to the library now!”. I can’t say too many Mondays have passed, where we didn’t make it to the library, unless we were out-of-town. I also have the ability to work remotely, in any state I choose, because my business is virtual. So we travel! In the last 5 months, I’ve finally felt like I can truly enjoy my career AND my child!
Just like I stood behind my mom, watching her do hair, my daughter watches me on my computer, and talking to clients! One time I watched her on her Leap Frog and she told me “Shhh I’m working mommy”, LOL! She holds fake phone conversations about work, and she thinks receipts are money! My daughter is VERY bright – read at two, adding at 3, and in my opinion, academically ready for kindergarten. She’s only one month into the age of three, and often times I’m not even aware of what she knows!
I learned early on, that while I’m a helicopter mom, I don’t really have the knowledge or patience to teach! I am able to reinforce, and to be mindful of how I speak to her! However, her school is outstanding at what they do and a part of the way I am able to be successful at motherhood, is because I focus on my strengths, the same way I do with my career!
I am inclusive and mindful of how I conduct myself, as a mother, because just as I watched my mom, my daughter is watching me! The pursuit of success in my career is equally important! I also understand now, how watching my mom in our basement doing hair, not only equipped me to be an entrepreneur, but it gave me so many intangible tools that have equipped me for life and motherhood! I know that I can achieve in both avenues, because I’ve seen it done, and done well!
I hope that those reading this are encouraged, and charged to find your balance in business and parenting! Draw back on experiences that have shaped who you are, and rely on those to push you forward!
~The Corporate Mom