My mom. My neighbor, Allison. My friends Emily and Sarah. So many other women in my life with several children, large households and no consistent help... You are rock stars.
When pondering if I would leave my job to be with Matt and the kids full time, I had a lot of questions. Would I be happy? Would I regret leaving my career? Would I resent my family and focus on everything I gave up? Could I even handle leading a family of six? Well, here are some answers:
I am happy every single day. To quote the lovely gumption-filled Charlotte York: "Well, not all day every day, but yes, every day." I have never once regretted leaving Enterprise Holdings and the rest of my career behind for now. I do miss the independence and confidence that comes with being an ambitious woman in the working world. Collaborating with great minds I respect while facing a dynamic market. Writing and editing constantly. I am a bit terrified of the day, if ever, I try to return to that world. But, you know, I'll cross that bridge when ...
I have yet to feel any resentment. I have found myself internally thinking about things, people, and opportunities I'm no longer focused on. It can hit some sad nerves, but I love my life. I wouldn't trade it even for a marcom leadership position in the mountains. That's saying a lot, trust me!
Can I even handle leading a family of six? Now, this is in the eye of the beholder. Luckily the only opinions that matter are my husband's and my own. In conclusion, I'm kicking ass so far. I love my kids. I'm not perfect. I'm learning each day. To quote my sister-in-law, an early icon in the fashion business world - turn full time mom - fast forward nearly 20 years and she's back at the badass business world of fashion again: "There's no script for this." Read that again. "There is no script for this." That sentence is incredibly powerful. It's eye opening. It's forgiving. It's intriguing, scary and exciting all at once. There is no written "How To" or manual for a girl who deserts her normal day to day world and marries a widower with four young children. So, I'm going to write one.
Honestly, I can say that through all of the changes over the past two years, I remain true to myself. I still believe I am becoming the woman I want to be. I'm figuring out what type of parent I want to be. I'm still going after things I want like volunteering, writing, travel and connecting others. But I can't see how I'd be able to stay myself if it weren't for the loving help I receive each day.
My family has the gift of an irreplaceable woman named Laurie. Laurie is our nanny by title but that's just a silly word that doesn't do her justice. In my world she's a second mom, a best friend, a mentor and one the most patient and professional females I've ever encountered. When I decided to leave work, Matt and I had a very important but very easy conversation: What about Laurie? Simple: nothing changes. God love him for seeing that I needed to ease into this to be successful. God love her for seeing me as a positive addition to our home.
Laurie, among others, are blessings. My parents, my in-laws, my friends, fellow school parents, babysitters, neighbors, the ladies that make up our foundation board ... all of these people are invested in my children and in my family. And, I suppose, in me? They opened their arms when I entered this new world. They love Matt, Jack, Rachel, Tom and Sam so hard whenever they need it most. As our family changed, and Matt's life moved in a new direction, these people stayed. They helped me. They still help me. Without them, I know I could not do what I'm doing. Without them, I couldn't stay myself. I would have lost myself. They provide support. They help ensure balance as well as sanity. Thank you, to all of you, for your loving welcome.
So, to those women I mentioned above, and anyone you know who doesn't have ongoing help from a caring community ... Those who are completely spent after groceries, laundry, homework, sports, more sports, clubs, camps, field trips, breakfast routines, carpool, bedtime routines, marriage, careers and so much more... I applaud you. I don't know how to you do it. I don't know if I could. And most importantly, thank you for guiding me through it all.