Make Your Career Your Guilty Pleasure – How it went.
Public speaking is a superpower of mine. I thrive with a platform and a microphone; though when the lights hit and its action time, I must confess I black out a little – the words just flow. For that reason, I can’t wait to see my talk and what actually came out!
One thing I know wasn’t included was the raw, vulnerable story of why I took the stage in the first place.
This omission was twofold. One, time – I like a tight 10 min or less talk. Two, well Brene Brown has a powerful career for a reason – this sh*t is hard to talk about with loved ones – let alone the world.
The truth is, I had a very generous maternity leave coming back part-time and remote at 3 months post-partum and then full-time at 6 months. By American standards Nirvana!
I’ve also worked hard to earn a role that offers some flexibility – sure 10-12 hour days are the norm – but within any given 24, I can arrange my schedule to meet my needs for the most part. To that point – I am a career woman. I love to work and I have a vision of myself that someday puts me in the c-suite. So when I was pregnant, I assumed I would be anxious to get back at 12 weeks. Ready to use my mind and climb on. The reality was something very different.
My labor was long – 36 ish hours followed by 2 of pushing then a fever and off to the operating room for a c-section. I had convinced myself there was no circumstance in which I would EVER have a c-section, so was totally unprepared to recover from it. This double body trauma was accompanied by what I know now are some really powerful hormones (should have been obvious too, but hey!) that are designed to ensure mother and baby bond and mother keeps baby alive.
As you can imagine while evolution is progressing the human is still not predisposed to take a 3-month-old baby who survives 100% off their body and hand them over to anyone. Your mind goes berserk. In our case, our little man also got up to eat – again an activity I always needed to present for – every 2 hours all night long, every night.
So I had these hormones that support the survival of our species and a brain struggling to live in reality on sleep that in many cases I’m sure is used to torture people and I was supposed to be thankful I got such a longtime off.
The first few months were brutal. My team and boss and company all were super supportive and I had the best home life and husband anyone could ask for – in fact – he postponed going back to work so at least I didn’t need to worry about handing our baby to anyone but his other parent!
Yet, I cried on the way to work daily. I came home and said – I want to quit. I can’t do this.
Then eventually, we got some more sleep, the hormones calmed down and at a year my breast milk was no longer the corner stone of our son’s diet and then baby did I get my groove back at work.
Now, I LOVE being a working mother. My career is such a bright spot and so is raising Cashel and the balance allows me to really enjoy both.
This is why I took to the stage. To help all the mother’s out there who had similar struggles and those who are faced with other difficult decisions as their kids grow to know that it is ok to love being both a career power house and a mother, BUT that we can’t do it alone.
Women need more time – ideally a year since that is the medically recommended time to breast feed – to transition back to work. We need to be promoted before, during and after baby; so that we keep closing the pay equity gap and have a reason to strive for our success.
We need to take pride in this crazy time in life. Feel good about the example we are setting, everything we bring to the table at work and at home and yes, experience that amazing emotion – pleasure!
It was a pleasure to meet and form bonds with the other fabulous women who graced the stage on November 14th.
It was a pleasure to work with the amazing team who produce TedxCherryCreekWomen – especially coming full circle on the 10th anniversary with Dafna and Michael from production assistant in 2010 to speaker in 2020.
Thank you for the chance to share my story. Please find me on LinkedIn or Instagram and share yours. I’m always here to listen, pump you up and provide advice!