Humble beginnings

Posted in: Parenting

Since I was 13 years old, I dreamt of becoming a business executive. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I had this vision of being in a red power suit in a mahogany office working with a great team.

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“My determination for success was strengthened as I saw how much my mother sacrificed to make a humble living for us…”

I am not exactly sure where that vision came from as my parents didn’t have a college education and my father was a truck driver and my mother a hairdresser at the time. However, something deep inside me was determined to succeed in business. Equally though, I knew I wanted a family and I was just as determined to have that as well. After graduating college, I went into the workforce knowing I would have both.

My parents were divorced when I was 13 and my mother put herself through college while working and raising my brother, sister and I. She missed a lot of our games and activities because of how much she worked and she certainly didn’t have much of a social life herself. I remember thinking I would never sacrifice so much for my career and that I would have a well-balanced life. However, the career drive and determination for success was strengthened as I saw how much she sacrificed to make a humble living for us.

After the divorce, my father moved back to Florida where he got a two year degree, became an accountant and eventually remarried. He wasn’t as driven as my mother and was heavily involved in sports and the community in which he lived. He seemed to love life, and though I didn’t see him often, I believe he loved his kids as well. It was unfortunate as he lived in another state and we didn’t get to see him often, so while he was a big influence in my life, he was not a very involved father. He died when I was 19 years old and I missed having him in my life. His absence made me determined to be a very involved parent.

Married now for 23 years, I have 3 wonderful daughters. I am also a business executive and a non-executive board director on 2 boards. I’ve worked as hard at being a mother as I have being a business executive and I haven’t always gotten things right! I missed my youngest 2nd grade play and I felt much guilt when I wasn’t able to volunteer at their school as much as the stay-at-home moms. I sacrificed much less on the career side, which of course I felt guilty about, but I became very good at time management and worked many nights when the children were in bed.

Having it all is such a debated topic these days. I believe it starts with a person determining for herself/himself what “having it all” means. For me, it was becoming a successful business executive and having a family. I was fortunate to have two very different influences in my life who helped shape my views on the possible. The deep rooted determination allowed me to go for it.