I was a stay-home mom for 17 years and I was afraid that’s all I would ever be.
Now, before you decide to send me a strongly-worded email about how being a SAHM is the hardest job in the world and we live in a society that devalues women who choose to put their careers on hold to raise decent humans, I promise you, we’re in full agreement on both points.
When I had my daughter Karissa at 24, I made a conscious decision to postpone my career to be a full-time mom.
Because I grew up in such a crazy dysfunctional household and eventually wound up in foster care from the ages of 13-18 (another story for another day) I didn’t trust anyone else to take care of my child. And I was hell-bent on being the exact opposite of my own mother, which in my mind meant pushing the pause button on what I wanted to be when I grew up and becoming some version of the moms I saw on sappy TV commercials.
I know that having a choice about whether or not I wanted to stay home was a luxury not all families are afforded. I’m grateful that my husband was able to single-handedly support our family and that he saw the value in forgoing date nights and birthday presents for each other in those early days so we could make it all work.
But the not-so-shiny side of being a stay-home mom for me was that as my kids got older and became more independent, time had put what seemed like an insurmountable distance between me and my dream of becoming a writer. I was so out of touch with the part of me that needed to create as much as it needed to breathe that I lost the confidence to try.
Until one day a simple question set a course of events in motion that allowed me to start believing in myself again: What if…
The other day I was on a Zoom call for the business mastermind I’m in and I shared that I was worried that my entire business might come crashing down around me at any moment, despite the fact that I’d just hit my first 5-figure month. Knowing my biz was barely 14 months old, everyone on the call was in awe of my overnight success. The part of the story they hadn’t heard was that my “overnight success” was 11 years in the making.
It started back in 2008 when I thought, what if I wrote something just for me? And then, what if I started a blog? And then, what if I pitched some story ideas to a few local newspapers and magazines? Sometimes it feels like it happened at a snail’s pace but at some point, I developed the confidence and the skills to build a pretty big following for two different online businesses I was involved in. I loved creating content and building brand awareness and engagement. I also had a knack for converting leads to customers.
I learned so much about online marketing and conversion copywriting for websites, social media and email campaigns that I started throwing my hat in the ring for copywriting gigs; and people who’d heard of my work started reaching out to hire me. Then, a little over a year ago I felt legit enough to make it official by starting a company.
There are still days I question whether or not I’m worthy of my seat at the table. I think as entrepreneurs, we all do from time to time. The difference is, these days I know I’d rather be in the game, a little afraid I might not have what it takes to win than sit on the sidelines wishing I could play.