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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Modern Mom

How is it that moms these days are busier than ever?  From working at the office or working from home, moms are busy shuttling kids to sports, tutoring, play dates and school.  How do they ever find time for themselves?

As the mother of 3 children, I knew firsthand what it was like to work a full-time job and be a wife to a husband who traveled constantly.  During the critical  younger years when they were still in diapers, I remember distinctly telling my husband that life is like a merry-go-round.  When he went away on a business trip, he'd better know how to hop right back on that carousel without missing a beat.  We did not stop to let him back on, he had to leap aboard the moving ride and keep in step; we did not wait to ease him back to our frenetic life at home.

And soon enough, that's what our pattern was.  He'd go away on a business trip and when he came home it was a quick "hi, get me that diaper," or "get me that bottle" and life would go on like he wasn't gone at all. 

For the first 16 years of being a mom I worked full time.  My husband and I had to synchronize our watches to ensure we got through each day with precision.  We had to take 3 children to different schools, make lunches,  participate in school functions, arrange after school activities, pick them up on time or else incur a hefty fine.  Then we'd return home,  make dinner, take baths, read, tuck them in bed and start it all over again.

Meanwhile - at work I had to keep pace working with a bunch of executives and sweat the small stuff at the office.  I climbed the rank and file of corporate life and achieved spreadsheet stardom.  I became a top-notch business manager and loved what I did, and most of all loved that I was paid quite nicely.  We could afford great vacations, nice clothes, fine dining - the works.

But at what cost?  Did I feel better about it all?  In 2007 the unexpected happened.  I was offered a voluntary severance package.  An unbelievable , once-in-a-lifetime, retirement package.  All I had to do was sign my career away.   I could leave 24 years of my corporate life and unlock my golden handcuffs.  But, the caveat was, my husband was just starting a new job with a startup. We had to weigh the risks. 

Ever since we were married we lived a balancing act.  We both worked to save my income and his paid all our living expenses.  If I retired, we'd only have one income to work with.  Could we manage?  I'd dreamed of this day for a while.  To be at home with the kids while pursuing my own creative passions.

I took a leap and went for it.  I haven't regretted it one bit.  After having several job offers since I retired, I realized how much I relish my new life.  I don't want to go back to that merry-go-round life again.  I'm having too much creative fun and taking my new life all in.  We don't have as much discretionary income, but we don't miss it.  I don't miss wearing business suits and high heels.  They've given way to yoga pants and running shoes. 

And nowadays, I write and shoot.  Shoot with my camera that is.  I am a freelance writer and a portrait photographer.  I'm not getting paid as much as I did in my corporate days, but my cup runneth over and my spirit is fulfilled more than ever.  This is my new perfect.  I've never been happier.   Just ask my family.

This post was inspired by the book, "Good enough is the new perfect: Finding Happiness and Success in Modern Motherhood" by Becky Beaupre Gillespie and Hollee Schwartz Temple.  As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own. You can read other members' posts inspired by "Good Enough Is The New Perfect" on book club day, May 10 at From Left to Write.


  1. That's so wonderful that you have found what makes you happy!

  2. i'm still at the beginning of the parenting journey more or less and still trying to figure out what i want to do that i like, and when. thanks for the great inspiration!

  3. Having recently been laid off from my corporate job after 8 years (right as I'm about to have baby #3) has offered me the same opportunity to analyze what I'm doing with my career...and at what cost. I'm going to take a few months once the baby arrives to figure it all out, but it's great to hear your perspective as I hope to have a bit more creative freedom myself. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  4. Sounds like a very happy ending...to your corporate life!

  5. Sometimes LIFE has to teach us priority setting by getting laid off, sometimes we are the type to "just know" and sometimes we are the type that needs to come take Brenda's Last Time Management Course You will Ever Need to truly do some priority setting. Check it out at www.brendabartellapeterson.com


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