For many people, so much of their blood, sweat, and tears have gone into their careers. When it’s time to start a family, they are inevitably faced with a common theme: how can I do it all? I recently read Lisen Stromberg’s new book, Work, Pause, Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career. Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but when you learn to pause, you can definitely have it all!
When I was younger, the one thing I knew is that I wanted to be a mom. I had dreams of grandeur that involved me with a Suburban full of kids…my own personal tribe. I wanted to be the stay-at-home, cookie making, “June Cleaver” with well-behaved, cherub-faced, cuties all in a row. I even named them all.
That’s why when it came to choosing a profession, I naturally took to teaching. I love kids and the simplicity in their conversations and attitudes. I knew that as a teacher, it would be a natural progression to motherhood and I could share the same schedule as my children. Life would be perfect!
Knowing that my dream of motherhood was finally coming true with the arrival of Little Ricky, I took a step back from the classroom. Instead, I made an impact in teacher’s lives by becoming a consultant for an educational publishing company.
The Nag came quickly after and so did the rising costs of raising a family. I had to go back to work. My dreams of a large family would have to be put on hold.
I found a teaching position at a small preschool where the boys could come with me. This helped me to still be a part of their lives while contributing to the household. From there, I accepted a position as a teacher at a private school where they could go. With my professional goals moving in a direction of administration, I was on the right track. My kids were happy and successful, I could be with them without physically “being” with them, and we were thriving.
And then came a shift.
After teaching for 13 years, I changed professionally. It seemed that after spending my time with other people’s children was making my patience for my own children wear thin. I needed to do what was best for my family. I left education and decided to pursue a career that would allow me to think, learn, and grow in a way that was exciting and new. I now work from home and am available for my kids as they venture into the world of being tweens.
Sure, I have days when I fantasize about a high-profile position in the school system making changes that affect millions. Maybe even being at the federal level. Then I sit back and look at what I’m doing for my own family and realize there’s no other place I’d rather be.
Work PAUSE Thrive by Lisen Stromberg
In order to learn to pause your career while you put parenting first, Lisen recommends some simple strategies.
- Don’t skimp on your maternity leave. Don’t promise to be back as soon as possible. Take your time (or even a little more.) Maternity leave is not a vacation. It’s a time to learn how to be a parent, to bond with your new baby, and to physically and mentally heal.
- Create the post-maternity leave onramp that works for you. You can’t just go from being home with your newborn one day to returning to the office the next. You need transition time. This onramp will help you to progressively change roles.
- Stay in the game (if you can). Work part-time, consult, anything that will keep your career on track during maternity leave. This stage is part of the “cruising” phase where you can pull back so that your main focus is on parenting, but you aren’t losing touch with your career.
- Don’t Just Quit. Work to create a plan with your employer that will help to keep the door open. When you quit, you cut off all ties. Your pause should be strategic just as is your career.
- Live within your new means. This one is the most important. Now that you’re pausing your career, you may not be getting a paycheck like you used to. Live in your new budget.
- Keep it short. Unless you plan on never returning to the workforce, your pause from your career should be no longer than 2-5 years. After that, you’re gambling with your chances of being able to go back.
There are more strategies to follow when learning to pause, but you’ll just have to get Lisen Stromberg’s new book, Work, Pause, Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career to learn more for yourself!
This book was a great read, especially as someone who once struggled with the guilt of leaving my kids behind as I worked on my career. I was happy to learn that there are so many other parents who have taken the time to pause and even pivot in their professions in order to gain happiness across all facets of their lives.
Want to win a copy of your own?
- Win one of 15 copies of Work PAUSE Thrive by Lisen Stromberg ($25 ARV)
- Giveaway ends March 11, 2017
- Winners will be randomly selected and notified by CLEVER by March 14, 2017
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.