This summer, I went to the beach, played at the park with my kids, ate way too many ice cream cones and walked away from a corporate job where I was pulling in six figures. Some call it brave. Others call it stupid. I call it self-preservation.
I was always the mom who others thought had it all together. My high heels and statement jewelry were always carefully coordinated with my outfits. To be fair, I do have a bit of a shoe obsession, but more about that later. My two daughters (ages 4 and 7) are also dressed to the nines with matching hair bows and sparkle shoes. And, a big smile is usually pasted on my carefully done up face.
What people never saw was my stockpile of waterproof mascara because there were often tears streaming down my face as I raced to pick up my older daughter from her after school care program, where she was quite frequently the last child picked up. They didn’t know I was up every single night having anxiety attacks because of all I had to do the next day. Or how my chest tightened with the pinging of the constant emails on my iPhone. And they definitely don’t see me packing for a business trip and my little girls pulling clothes out of my suitcase and crying, “Don’t go mommy. We’ll miss you too much.”
I wouldn’t mind trying to navigate the work/life integration further if I thought it was getting me somewhere. Sadly, I was trapped in a corporate environment where instead of women supporting women, they chose to tear each other down. Talk about feeling like you are caught on a hamster wheel. The more I talked to other women, I realized I wasn’t alone. The mean girl mentality was sucking the passion from talented women across the globe. This has to change!
Want to know what finally pushed me over the edge? One of my daughters was battling some serious medical issues earlier this year. As she was sitting on my lap sobbing while getting blood drawn, I had my cell phone glued to my other ear on a non-necessary conference call. That was my tipping point…when I realized I was prioritizing my job over my children and the guilt was stifling. And no matter how much I tried to “balance” the two, I didn’t have the support I needed.
With a heavy heart, I made the decision to walk away from a job that had once been my passion, had once defined me, and was frankly a huge part of my social circle. I hope you’ll join me as I begin a journey to reinvent myself, reprioritize my life and start to become the role model my daughters deserve.
Happiness is a choice. I choose to laugh instead of cry. I choose to smile instead of glare. I choose to throw kindness around like confetti, which is my new favorite quote. And I choose to do it all wearing a cute pair of shoes!