Life, Kids & the Pursuit of Happiness
I’ve been working since I was 16 years old. I’m 34 now. That is many years devoting myself to someone else’s bottom line. My first job was a party and skate rental girl at a local ice skating rink. It wasn’t all bad. I met my husband while working there. Who knew the 17 year old boy who sharpened ice skates and sold hockey equipment would become my soul mate.
When I went to college, my father told me he did not want me to work. “Focus on your studies,” he said. Little did I know that not working meant lots of time for play and not hitting the books. I needed the structure of work, class and play to manage my day. So I discovered a local teen boutique in my college’s downtown, fell in love with boutique life and spent the next few years of college and a few years post college working for this little shop, envisioning how I could own my own clothing store one day.
I am not going to recount my jobs over the years, but you needed a bit of background so I can fast-forward to my years working at a huge digital startup in Chicago. I loved my job. I loved the company and the culture. Prospecting new businesses in my market and the hustle of closing the deal. In the early days of this job, work was awesome. I wasn’t the youngest employee; but, I was one of the older members of my team. I was newly married, with thoughts of having a baby, not going out to party. A few years passed and I did get pregnant. Work was still awesome, but my focus was beginning to shift. Thoughts of pregnancy, morning sickness, food aversions, car seats and strollers plagued my mind. Caleb was born in the winter of 2011. I was thrilled for maternity leave, it took me a good amount of time to decompress. I was content with our decision for me to return to work. It made sense. The money was awesome. I had paid off my twenty-something year old credit card debt that I incurred over the years. Working and commuting was smart -how bad could it be? Since my husband, Mike, owned his own mortgage company, we need the health insurance and my companies benefits were excellent. So out the door I went before Caleb even was awake. Mike’s start time was flexible so he thankfully took care of mornings before my mom or nanny arrived. It would be fine, I’d have the quality time I was longing to have with my baby all day, after work…it would be okay.
Except it wasn’t. I was miserable. The mood overall shifted at work. Fun turned corporate and the hustle was just exhausting. I no longer found joy in the commute. Nonetheless, I stayed on-miserable for a long time. We need the health insurance, I told myself. Be SMART. I was finding solace in a weekly therapy session. (Not really) Until one day in July when all my late twenty-something colleagues were making big life changes, I just lost it. I made a decision then that I needed to leave my job, to find something close to home or working from home. If my young co-workers could relocate to the coasts, uproot their lives..I could relocate my job closer to home. THIS WAS SMART!
I resigned from my job exactly four years and one day after I began. I took a few weeks off to clear my head and regroup. It was then that I made a vow to myself that I was NOT going to let myself be unhappy. I was not going to let insurance benefits and being SAFE rule my life. My poor husband, family and friends were left with daily bitch sessions from me and who wants to be that person who can’t find happiness and just complains all the time? It’s exhausting.
I was lucky, even as we were exiting the recession I was able to find a new job and I was happy again. I couldn’t believe how clear my head was. I became an active participant in my son’s morning routine and made plans in my head for what could be–If dreams were easy to achieve. Aren’t they? If you ask my best friend about my schemes in life she will tell you that there have been quite a few; clothing boutique owner, shoe boutique owner, kids play space owner..the list goes on and the theme does too. I have ALWAYS wanted something for myself. I wanted to own my own business.
After the start up job, I wasn’t yet ready to make those dreams a reality. I needed more information, more knowledge of the digital space. My most recent position was a digital marketing consultant. I learned so much. I learned how sell digital marketing solutions to small business owners and from both the start up job and this most recent, I fell in love with small business owners. After years of selling and hustling I was done. I resigned from my position and I was ready to start achieving my own dreams and not the dreams of someone else. I wanted to affect my own bottom line, build up my own self worth -I wanted to engross myself in social media and help small business owners implement their own digital marketing plans. I wanted to continue to pave the way for my true happiness.
So without further ado, I invite you on my journey of self discovery and reflection. The journey of discovering a happy life, and a happy loving relationship with my spouse. All the while trying to navigate a super smart and independent little boy. Come with me and experience the highs and lows of building an identity, making mom friends and pursing happiness.