We all gave something up. Maybe willingly. Maybe not so much.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, work full-time, work part-time, have a spouse, or do it all on your own, I am sure you have made many sacrifices to be a mom.
What did I give up? Like many women, I gave up a potentially high-earning career. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I left my full-time copywriting job to be a freelancer. My husband and I did the math, and unless something drastically changed about our income, daycare for two kids would just about negate my salary.
I liked my job a lot, but not enough to feel like I was working to pay the daycare. And with the nature of my husband’s job, it would make our lives easier to have me at home, able to do more of the household stuff and be the one to generally manage the kids’ lives.
Plus I liked the idea of getting the best of both worlds – time with the kids and time to work. It seemed ideal. And it was pretty great while my kids were little.
I definitely gained a lot by leaving my job and working part-time as a freelancer. For sure. I’m so lucky that I do a type of work that lends itself to working part-time and from home. But I also left behind a lot of things that I simply can’t have as a freelancer. And I won’t lie. Sometimes I have regrets.
At work I was on a great career track and positioned to eventually lead the entire copywriting team, which I absolutely wanted to do. I also had a lot of great friends at my job and enjoyed the camaraderie. I loved the creative process of working with other writers and designers. And I got a lot of free career development in terms of classes and conferences. I’d come back to work after those events feeling refreshed and full of new ideas, which helped me stay interested and good at what I did.
It’s much harder as a freelancer to further my education. No one has a “professional development” budget for me anymore, that’s for sure! Yeah, I read stuff online and sign up for free webinars. But without *having* to show up or *having* to complete work, do I? No. Educating myself always falls to the bottom of the list. Just this past Friday I blew off a free online conference in favor of getting household things done.
And you know what? This is a problem. I can’t be stagnant. I have to learn more and stay motivated – and I need to make the commitment to do it. It hit me recently: I’ve got roughly 20 more years of work ahead of me.
I can’t keep doing what I’m doing and not change for the next 20 years. I won’t be successful. And I’ll be bored as hell.
Now that both of my kids are in school, I’ve started thinking more about what I can do in terms of my career to keep things fresh and interesting – and yes, make more money.
Recently I thought – what if I took my part-time freelance gig and developed it into a small copywriting agency? There are plenty of times when I have more work offers I can handle. It’s a great problem to have, but it kills me to turn away jobs. If I had a stable of experienced writers, I could dole out the work and never turn a client away again.
But OMG. How on earth would I do this? I have no idea how to run my own business. I don’t know the legalities involved or about contracts or any of that stuff!
And then I thought of American Public University. It sponsored BlogU, where I was a speaker this past summer. While I thought APU’s mission was pretty cool and I also thought it was awesome that so many moms took APU classes to get back into the workforce, I hadn’t thought much about APU and my own life.
I took a peek at the APU website and lo and behold – what does the university have but entrepreneurship classes! APU offers three options – a Bachelor degree, a Master’s degree, and a Graduate Learning Track.
I’m interested in either the Master’s degree or Learning Track and plan on talking to APU about which option makes sense for me. The Learning Track (which allows you to pursue a course of study without having to commit to the time and cost of a degree or certificate program) might be plenty for me.
I know I’m going to be getting more info about APU’s entrepreneurship education options and seriously start thinking about how I can create my own agency in the next few years. I am a planner and I like to have expert advice, and I think APU could help on both fronts.
I may have given up the fast-track at my old company, but with my kids now in school, there’s no reason I can’t have big dreams for my career once again.
What about you? What did you give up to be a mom? Would you like to go back to school? Would online education work for you?
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc/