What would you change to benefit your career?
At the peak of my career, I was running a women’s television network in NYC and juggling all the demands of that while living in the suburbs, commuting to the city, married to a guy who renovated homes, and together we had two school-age girls. The phrases “downtime” and “stress-free” were not in my vocabulary. I enjoyed the role and the challenges, but it was an overwhelming life, and I worried about my kids. So what to do?
I had a life-changing experience. The Wall Street Journal invited me to their annual Top Women In Business luncheon. Each woman recognized had done amazing things for their companies, but something jumped out at me as they spoke. None were living the traditional life that I was. They never married, married but did not have children, or their husbands did not work and instead stayed home with their kids. Bam, it hit me. I had a revelation when I heard that the most successful women with children were not in my situation; they had chosen another path. The luncheon speakers opened my eyes and represented a better option if I wanted to continue to grow in my career. I needed to make a change. Fingers crossed that my husband was on board.
My husband is a fun-loving and quick-witted sports guy. He supports equal opportunities for women, but I knew being asked to give up his job and stay home with our girls wasn’t on his radar. I felt anxious about the conversation, but I knew it was the right decision for our family. We’d had a series of misfortunate adventures with our nannies. Over ten years, we only had two great nannies, equaling only four years of relief. Our girls deserved better, and so did we.
I shared what I heard at the luncheon with my husband, Marty. He has always made our girls his top priority. He understood and agreed that we needed someone who loved our girls deeply to be responsible rather than nannies on a revolving door. The most challenging part was remaining an active part of our community. Our neighborhood has lots of Alpha Wall Street guys, and they were confused and unsure how to interact with my guy’s guy husband, who was now running our household. But on the other side of that were the moms who were eager to have a funny guy in the mix for soccer practices and after-school pick-ups. Yes, we had the inevitable miscommunications and chaotic days, but in the end, our girls are healthy, well-adjusted, confident career women. Marty made their health and well-being his top priority. As a result, they see themselves as equals in every arena, and they have a relationship with their dad that is the envy of their friends.
I encourage you to think outside “the norm” for solutions to your situation and not compare yourself to anyone else. Doing what works for you and your family is all that matters.
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