Before a woman gives birth, she’s hit with the battle over whether to have an epidural or go natural, caesarian or vaginal delivery – then once the baby is born, we have new important choices to be wrong about: breast or bottle, cry-it-out or attachment parenting – then, of course, there are vaccines, screen time and the list goes on!
As if that were not enough to get us acquainted with mom guilt, some mothers are then faced with one of the most difficult decisions of all – should I go back to work or be a stay-at-home-mom?
First let me acknowledge how privileged we are to be mothers, to be able to work, (and for some) have the choice to do both. When you choose to combine motherhood and career in any way, there will always be sacrifices and compromises – so it’s most important to know your “why” (income, satisfaction, sanity) and to do what works for you, for your children and your family.
Over the course of five years I gave birth five times – to three healthy little boys and two amazing businesses (not sure which was harder) – but like many of you, I was unsure and often wondered whether or not I was making the right decision going back to work. It took me longer than others, as it wasn’t until my first son was a year old that I began exploring the idea of re-establishing my career, then another year before I launched my clothing brand.
I have a background in fashion and journalism but I didn’t have the first clue about how to start a business or how to turn my passion into profit. Fortunately, I married a super-entrepreneur who helped me along the way – but also, who (to this day) says I’m the most difficult student he ever had and that life would be my best teacher.
He was right, I was difficult but not without reason. I really struggled with the idea of leaving my kids in anyone else’s care, so I didn’t have a nanny. This meant, in the early stages of my business I was trying to get my work done late at night or during nap time – our spare room, garage and other areas in our home became my office and stock rooms – and I was making very expensive mistakes, which in hindsight could’ve been avoided if I took his advice; but hey nothing like the school of life!
I was working really hard but I wasn’t efficient. As a natural over-achiever, I knew I needed to make some changes – so how can I be the best mom and build a successful business? I didn’t want to miss my children’s milestones or other important events in their lives; but I also felt obligated to myself, to ensure that I was able to achieve my true potential as a businesswoman and to make them proud when they grow up and see what I have achieved. Being a Mom to all boys I also feel a strong sense of purpose, to give them a soft, loving and devoted mother but also show them that women can be strong, successful entrepreneurs as well.
I went in search of balance but instead found integration – the difference is this, balance is suggesting that I give equal amount of energy to more than one thing, but truth is I don’t. Integration allows me to create more synergies between these two areas of my life, knowing and accepting that my children are my focus and priority while also giving myself dedicated times in my day to achieve my own business and personal goals.
As mothers, our family fuels our soul and are important parts of what makes life worth living. While our careers provide an income and feeds our need to contribute to something bigger – ultimately, they both provide an important sense of purpose.
I’m well aware that this will not work for everyone as we all have different circumstances – but I hope this inspires anyone thinking of doing both (whether it’s starting a business or working for someone) while being a full-time mom; that it is possible and you are a multifaceted queen!
See my post on job ideas for stay-at-home mom here.
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Comments on article
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Making the decision to go back to work was meant to be - it lead you to start your own business! Congratulations and all the best on this new chapter, I'm happy to share it for you once it's up and running x
Hey Lesa! Long time! Let me start off by saying how proud I feel 2 see u flourish into such an awesome mom and an even more amazing business woman! Yo mek it look easy sistren! I'm genuinely here just passing through with well wishes and am offering to make u n ur boys and husband shirts for free. Any occasion u need them 4. Not looking 4 anything in return but a smile! Link me if u have time! Jah bless
Great read. I will be a new wife and embarking on a journey to start my own family. Tthoughts of how to balance my career and to grow my family in the best possible nurturing way seems so complex. I’m so glad that I read this article, I find clarity in knowing that mistakes will be made but the best part is learning and embracing them. Thank you.
Sis, I cannot stress this enough when so say we are soul sisters. As I was reading today’s blog post everything reminded me of myself. Just as your husband said life is the best teacher and sometimes we have to go through certain things first hand to truly understand the whys and why not! Keep up the outstanding job girl.
I share your sentiment in regards to the struggle of motherhood and career. January 2020 I re-entered the workplace as a working mom with 6 months old twin girls. I experienced a roller coaster of emotions that I thought no one understood. While I thought keeping my babies at home with hired help would be the best option, this was still a struggle because the best hired help is not substitute for a parent embrace. As the months went on things only got more challenging when I face to work during the CoVid19 pandemic. Being a registered nurse I thought I trained to serve in times like this but I also felt conflicted that I could be putting my fat at risk. My husband supported my decision to continue working through the pandemic. In April 2020 I tested positive for COVID-19, my unit at hospital was closed due to massive infection of employees. I felt that I have failed myself and family. I was I. quarantine away from babies for two weeks and my husband was locked out the country on a business trip during the lockdown phase. During this time my babies had to be in the care of a nanny. Again I felt no one could really understand the insurmountable stress that I was under. This difficult time gave birth to the idea of starting my own business, a home healthcare agency. While this year has one for the books, the most difficult time of life, it turned out to be a year of tremendous personal and professional growth. I see now that making the best decision with what we are faced with a life lesson that our kids will observe and learn from. I love being a career women and full time to my twin girls. Thanks for sharing your story Girls run the world
I dont have babies yet but I plan to. I always admired your vigor and tenacity in that area. I know many people are unaware of what you did at first but I caught on pretty quick lol and I’ve been following minaroe for years. For when I make my pickneys. Still be a hot mama. Congrats on being able to do both. You’re a living breathing example for all