How do women measure success? Is it by mothering and having a career? How do they carry out both forms of work to their satisfaction? What helps? What hurts?
This is a weekly series about successful women who participate in the workforce in a range of ways building their careers while mothering. These women fly under the radar of the media but need to be heard. They are silently successful and warrant recognition. They are compassionate, persistently hardworking women who deserve our admiration and offer advice to new mothers. Each week I will spotlight a different remarkable woman.
Meet Rachel Thompson, single mother of two, who left her prestigious corporate pharmaceutical job after seventeen years when her second child was born. She could no longer leave her then five-year-old and new baby and dove into writing.
She currently has four published books focused on women's issues and sexual abuse: A Walk In The Snark, The Mancode: Exposed, Broken Pieces and Broken Places. She also is the director of the Gravity Imprint for Booktrope bringing stories of trauma and recovery to the world.
Rachel reveals how she became depressed leaving her first baby to go to work after her birth. She got professional help and began to understand how having been sexually abused as a child, she feared leaving her child alone:
"Going back to work was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but also one of my proudest achievements. I definitely grew as a person. I'm not sure I'd do anything different because I got the help I needed."
By the time Rachel's children were 16 and 10, they understood and respected her hard work on writing, consulting as a social media expert, and advocating for other surviviors of childhood sexual abuse:
"They've had to become used to seeing me on my computer all the time instead of playing video games or just hanging out with them as much as we'd all like - free time and weekends are a foreign land I don't often get to visit - but I love my work and I'm able to provide for them totally on my own which is important to me. It's a crucial life lesson my kids see that success isn't about money, but about helping others."
Rachel reflected on her complex feelings about motherhood:
"I wasn't ever all that convinced that I even wanted to have children or that I'd be very good at it. I surprised myself with how maternal I became from the second I got pregnant the first time. The importance of motherhood has taught me so much about who I am as a woman, opened me, and sharpened my instincts in a way I don't know would have happened otherwise."
Thinking about how to advise other new mothers with careers, Rachel spoke strongly:
"Spend time understanding what you are great at, and make that your career, even if it seems inconsequential at the time. Volunteer, take classes, and improve your skills. Tell yourself, 'I can,' instead of all the reasons you can't. And stop feeling guilty - it's a wasted emotion. I love seeing my children happy and healthy, adore writing and helping people through my books. I'm a lifelong learner - always looking to learn, improve, and help others."
Give Rachel your admiration by leaving comments. Her perseverance, courage, and stamina are outstanding and more than worthy of our respect and high regard.
If you would like to participate in this series contact Laurie.