“If I had kids, my kids would hate me,” she contends. “They would have ended up on the equivalent of the Oprah show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.” – Oprah Winfrey
I admire Oprah on so many levels. After all she has survived, thrived and triumphed in life. She has shared her heart, her brilliance and her weaknesses with us. So when I read this quote, I could only smile and say “her honesty is something so many women need to embrace.”
I have been a mother for just over a year (1 year and 12 days to be exact.) I, like Gayle (read the article. It’s a great read) always dreamed about having children, what their names would be and how I would give them my all. I knew that being a mom would motivate me to pursue my dreams. In fact the day I decided to tell my team at work I was pregnant I also told them “when I go out to have my baby I will not be back.” I knew it then, I ended up on bed rest due to complications, and I prayed to God to grant me this miracle called motherhood. And guess what: God did just that. As a result I no longer work at the job I knew would not allow me to give my child my all.
I have witnessed too many new moms crying at work, being forced to work extra hours (without pay), falling into depression and just unhappy. I know moms whose relationships fell apart not just with their significant other, but with their children too. I know moms who have turned to drinking, partying an even a few who have turned to drugs. Many of which confirm they can’t handle the pressure of their job and they don’t see how they can balance. I knew long before I became a mom, this would not be me.
Post delivery I suffered some serious health conditions that could have potentially left Zoë without me. In the most of all this, my job was calling every few days to find out if I was extending my disability or moving into leave status. Once I went into leave status the questions were more relentless and then they dropped the bomb “based on the time you were out prior to giving birth you must return on XX date.” Calling HR was of no help due to the ever looming “needs of the business” reasoning even though I know other women were granted extensions. Remember I told my team I wouldn’t not be returning? I was not about to walk away without a fight but in the end I knew I was leaving so I resigned. Upon receiving my resignation, the administrative manager called me and after stating the next steps she ended our call with “I’m happy you are healthy and I commend you for taking this step. I only have one child and if I could take back the last 20 years I would. The job got more of me than she did and that’s something I regret. You are doing the right thing and because you are putting your family first you will always be ok.” My heart went out to her.
To Ms. Oprah I say kudos. To moms working in a miserable job, I pray you make it through. To moms contemplating leaving I say there is life after “insert company here” especially if you know that job will rob your child of the best of you.
To all my working moms in The corporate world, I salute you.
Did motherhood move you out of your comfort zone also known as a job? What are you doing now? Was it the best decision you ever made?