Monday marked the end of a chapter of my life. I left my job in marketing and communications at King Enterprise Group in McPherson for a position as a field marketing manager for Rabo AgriFinance in Wichita. The new position allows me to marry my carer in marketing and public relations with my love of agriculture, provides me with new challenges and move me up another rung on the corporate ladder. It also adds a larger workload, an hour commute and a promise of out-of-state travel to my plate.
I wasn’t looking to take on such a large role only weeks before giving birth to my first child but the opportunity was too great to pass up. The interview process started in December 2012 and I was offered the job in February 2013. When I initially applied for the job, I didn’t expect to get an interview and when I scheduled my first, in-person interview, I honestly expected them to find some reason, any reason to not hire the pregnant girl. But they saw beyond my growing front-side and offered me the position, knowing I would throw some major kinks in the plan. This is my first week on the job and today marks the 30th week of my pregnancy – leaving me, at most, 10 weeks to get myself situated before my maternity leave.
I have always been an ambitious, career-minded woman aspiring to work hard, climb the ladder and make my mark on the world. My husband, by contrast, believed he would marry someone that would stay at home with the kids and prepare three meals a day. Now I have nothing but praise for stay-at-home moms, I have friends that have chosen that path and I commend them because that work is just as hard as an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job, but I know that with my husband’s work schedule and my desire to continue my career, I was not fit to remove myself from the work force.
Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that my desire to climb the ladder sharply conflicts with my maternal instinct to provide a loving and nurturing environment and relationship for my son. This maybe the 21st century but it still remains difficult to find a good work-life balance and juggle everything – including community commitments and a social life. Knowing the challenges, I have already negotiated one day of work from home per week and have the flexibility to work remotely when needed for other reasons. But with my commute and an 8-hour work day, I’m still gone from my child 40 hours a week and that is all I care to be away.
I am blessed with a supportive husband who has promised to help out when needed and a set of parents and in-laws that likewise have promised their time and attention for my son. I am still looking for child care but trust that will all fall into place by the time our little one arrives. I know that they will all take great care of my child but I also know that I am his mother – his only mother – and I want to be there for all of small but notable childhood accomplishments.
I know my new venture will not be without a few tears, a few regrets and a few struggles but in the end, I am confident we (myself and my support circle) will make this all work and I will have a happy, healthy and outgoing son that knows who is mother is and is happy to see me walk through the door each night. I have received conflicting response from other women on my decision to take on a new career with a new baby. But I chose to believe my decisions are the right ones for me and that a happy mother creates a happy son and a happy home.
When I thought about the struggles of my future, I never envisioned this as one of them but predicting the future is a futile game and you never know what you can accomplish until you try.
So here’s to a career, motherhood and having it all! I hope to become one of the success stories but I’m not afraid to admit that I may be biting off more than I can chew.