My boss, who was also the CEO, and I were meeting for my normal one on one meeting when he said that he would like to start seeing me at work 70 to 80 hours a week. The company was growing and to be valued as an executive team member this was going to be the expectation moving forward. This meant that working into the late hours of the night from home on your company laptop after your children were fast asleep didn't count. What did count were the hours you were seen onsite.
Did I mention that I was 30 weeks pregnant and also had a 3-year- old?
He was very kind to offer up two very helpful suggestions to help me find the balance between family and work;
Option #1 - Hire a nanny and have him or her bring my children to my place of work to visit me. (as though I'm in prison and have been granted visitation for good behavior.)
Option #2 - "Hang up my cleats completely". (as in quit working altogether.)
That's it? Those were my options? I had been with this company for six years and those were my options?
I worked really hard to get exactly where I was, doing exactly what I loved, and was pretty darn good at it too. I had also been lucky enough to find the man of my dreams and have a beautiful son and another on the way. I had done it... I had created the life I had always wanted and was now being asked to choose between my family and my job.
Here's the thing; You get one shot at this thing called life so I've decided to make it a good one come hell or high water. I am going to be present in my children's lives because I fully understand that you don't get one day back once it's gone and it goes by in the blink of an eye. I'm going to spend time with my husband because I actually really like being with the person I am married to (imagine that!). I'm going to make time to take care of myself so that I can play with and see my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow. I'm also going to put my hard earned degrees to work and do what I love, which is helping others. In my eyes, all of these things can be achieved with the right people behind you who believe that balancing family and work is possible... and necessary.
Unfortunately, my boss and I didn't have the same philosophy on this so I came up with Option #3 - turn in my letter of resignation.
Without having a boss and mentor who believes that I can have a family (and by family I don't mean simply physically having a family, but actually spending time with them) as well as a career I was never going to be successful.
So after careful consideration I chose Option #3 as this was the only option I felt gave me the opportunity to create a future for myself where I can accomplish all of the things I want to accomplish. And the only way to do this is by surrounding myself with people who truly believe in balance and wellbeing and support working parents who love their family and their work.
I continue to fine tune this thing called balance, but I will tell you this; I couldn't be happier or more hopeful with the decision I've made.