For me, work gives me something of my own. Something to separate me from being Henry and Simon's mom and Logan's wife.
I have always been a hard worker. I got straight A's from grade school to high school through college. And when I graduated, I couldn't wait to get out into the real world and take on the workforce.
I have always been extremely focused on my career. Because I'm good at it. I get stuff done. And I crave that sense of accomplishment. At one point in my life, I even thought I might not have kids. I thought of my job as my child. Plus, a kid would just interfere with my 60-hour work schedule.
Then fast-forward and I got older, met the man I am now married to, and realized that I did want to have kids.
So now I have two adorable little boys that bring the chaos at times. Henry is four and Simon is almost one. And they have brought so much fun and happiness and joy and love into my life—emotions that I don't always get from my job.
I currently work full-time. And recently it has become much more of a challenge. I guess that's why so many people call it the hustle. The grind.
I get up at 4:30 am so I can have a little time to myself before getting everyone ready and out the door to the sitter. Typically, I turn into my parking spot at work on two wheels like a Nascar driver. Then you're sure to find me running across the street to the entrance of the building while dodging cars like I'm playing Frogger.
All day I'm taking meetings, writing press releases, planning events, fielding calls about this and that, while also making sure I'm out the door in time to pick the kids up from the sitter. Or calling my mom at the last minute to see if she can grab them because I'm stuck in a meeting. Then once we're home, I'm getting the kids fed and bathed and read to and snuggled.
But I love what I do—it gives me something of my own. Something to separate me from being Henry and Simon's mom and Logan's wife. Not that I'm not proud of those things, but I also need to be Jamie, too.
Then a couple weeks ago, I got thrown a major curveball. The bank where I work was bought by a larger bank. In a couple months, I may or may not have a job. And until then... I wait. I should know something by October. Which feels like a really long time to wait. (Especially for a woman with zero patience, like myself.)
So far, I've had a lot of time to think about this. And I have done a lot of soul searching.
And one thing has come into my head that really surprised me.
Am I supposed to be working?
Is this God's way of telling me that I need to stay home with my kids while they are still little? Do I need to be soaking in their sweet little faces? How much am I missing by working so much?
But should I let go of the grind? Should I quit the hustle? Should I free my life of the scheduling and chaos and constantly feeling rushed? Is this really worth it? Is my work/life balance really balanced?
This is my chance. My chance to not miss out on my kids' school programs and field trips. My job is very flexible with me on these things, but I also have a lot of work to do and sometimes I just can't leave. And those are the moments that make me feel like a failure as a mom. When my little boy looks at me and says he wishes I had been there.
In the end, I really need to figure out if working full-time is what I want to be doing. What is my dream? Spend more time with my babies and work on my writing or keep working full-time?
I wish I could take a couple years off and then jump back into the marketing world. But that's just not the way the corporate world works today. I feel as though if I take a significant amount of time off, I'll miss out. Technology moves at the speed of light. New systems and trends and processes come and go.
I feel like I'll be behind, I'll be old news if I were to take four years off to stay home with my kids.
So I've decided this is what I want to do. I love my family and I love my babies, but I also love my job. And if I lose this job, I will find another one.
I've decided that all the hustle is worth it to me. I want to be able to contribute to my family financially so we can afford the trips and experiences that I didn't get to have growing up. Even though I might miss a field trip here and there, I get the chance to sit down with my 4-year-old at night and listen to him excitedly recap his day. And I've realized that I am showing my sons what a strong work ethic looks like and that working hard pays off.
Mainly, I am doing this because it has become an integral part of who I am. It's so clear to me now that my work makes me happy, and I don't ever want to give up something that makes me smile and feel confident.
There are millions of working moms out there that make this hustle and this grind work every single day. And knowing I'm not the only one missing a preschool field trip to the apple orchard makes me feel less alone, honestly. We're all doing the best we can for our kids and what's most important is that they know we love them more than anything else in this world.