Why moms shouldn’t completely walk away from careers they love

May 10, 2016

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As the workforce is flooded with smart, eager young women post-graduation that are about to embark on their career paths, we wanted to share some important life lessons from our strong leader and the President of Norbella, Stephanie Noris.

In my world of multitasking and juggling, my calendar can sometimes look more like a jigsaw puzzle, but it’s important I stay connected. I am lucky to have a few groups of very close girl friends that are smart kick-ass women and people that I know I will be in touch with the rest of my life. It is not easy to arrange a get together, but we somehow manage even though it is not as often as we may like.

We, of course, always share what is new in our lives. It seems new life stages are creeping up way too fast. We always say, ‘we’re getting old!’ – some friends even have kids going off to college next year! I’ve noticed this topic has been leading to a common conversation about how some of my girlfriends are now having regrets that they gave up their career after having children. They chose to stay home and maybe at the time it felt like the right decision. Fast forward to the conversations we are having now and it raises some important points.

I get it. I remember the day a couple months after having my first little cherub, Lucy, I was talking to my boss about some tough decisions I was facing. Do I go back to my 9a-9pm average day job in Boston (while living in RI)? Do I take a job closer to home? Do I stay home with my newborn baby? My husband supported any of it, but was pushing for flexibility in my schedule (a little annoying in hindsight, but at the time felt right and most realistic).

It took all of 24 hours with a crying baby to help me realize I had to think this through carefully and not just emotionally. I wanted to continue working in some capacity. I was going to need quality baby time, as well as some mommy mental stimulation and sanity time. I found a new job in Providence, which was closer to home and headed back to work when Lucy was 4 months old at a reduced schedule.

I am not going to say it was easy. I was starting a new job, even though only 3 days a week (in reality it was more), I was pumping and breast feeding, I was getting used to working with new people, clients and navigating through office politics…the truth is it was pretty hard!

The owner of the company I was working for, an amazing woman, noticed I was a bit frazzled. She took me to lunch and gave me some sound advice on how to survive. She said things like, take time for yourself/take care of yourself, work out, don’t be afraid to ask for help, go for coffee with your friends, get a cleaning lady every other week, don’t be afraid to say no, and many other bits of advice.

More importantly, she looked me in the eye and told me, ’Steph, you can do it all, I’m proud of you and you should be proud of yourself.’ She laughed about the trials and tribulations of having babies and starting a business….and how everyone thought she was crazy…but she said, ‘here I am now…my babies are grown. I had quality time with them growing up AND I ran and grew a business’. She said, ‘you can have it all too’. I sat back, wiped some tears from my eyes and decided to believe her. And you know what? She was right.

I made sacrifices and took most of her advice. I ended up back working full time within the first year at that job. It worked for me and my family and I recognize that it may not work for everyone. Regardless, now I tell young women the same words of wisdom on a regular basis hoping they’ll keep an important piece of themselves.

My opinion and advice to all the young ladies out there is to AT LEAST keep your toe in the water. Don’t completely walk away from a career that you loved and worked for. I can tell you that 10-15 years go by it’s going to be tough to get back out there! You do have options. It is a juggle. I know first-hand…but it is worth it in the end.

I am proud of the example and the message that I am sending my daughters. I believe we (men and women) should both have the innate responsibility to provide for our families, as well as equal opportunity to have a fulfilling career without one person making all the sacrifices.