with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
My friend Paula spent the weekend at my house, bringing with her an air-puff of worldliness, expensive perfume, and fabulously chic pants. She just turned forty and looks younger than me.
“You work too much, there are lots of slacker jobs that will let you work from home,” she instructed me when I apologized that I would have to work a little bit here and there during her visit.
“Sorry,”I apologized, dipping into the brown bag full of shortbread cookies she’d brought with her.
“Don’t say sorry to me, just know that you don’t have to do this,” she said,”You choose it. With your skill set, you could easily find a full time job that lets you work from home where you wouldn’t be constantly tied to your computer.”
Paula and I met at a sales retreat for a very large blue chip company back in the late nineties. I was in my early twenties, fresh-scrubbed out of University and looking for a mentor. Paula was a quirky, stylish sales executive in her early thirties. She sat down at the same table as me during the prime rib dinner; and when I didn’t eat all my meat, she signaled to me to fork over my plate. I watched in astonishment as the tiny little woman scarfed back the rest of my meat.
“Who does that?” I thought, and second, “I bet this woman always gets what she wants.”
And she does. Child-free by choice, Paula dedicates her spare time to her partner, nephews and extended family. She has an amazingly high-powered career and travels relentlessly. In a parallel life, I often think, I might have been her.
I haven’t seen Paula since my son was about four months old, and she and I had a lot of soulful catching up to do this weekend. I’d forgotten how much I missed her friendship.
I also realized something when she was here: all but one of my closest woman friends are ex-colleagues. I met Mel, a tenacious and strong-willed ass-kicker, when we waited tables at the same pub in my University years. Shannon, an opinionated environmentalist who now works on a ship to save dolphins, was my sales comrade at a very large blue-chip company in the mid-nineties. I’ve developed bonds with women in almost every career I’ve ever had. Though all these woman are now on very different planes than me (and none of them have children) we have in common a drive to pursue our own passion, to choose a business path that allow our heart’s deepest needs.
I took all of Paula’s advice to heart over the weekend, except her belief that I should return to a Fortune 500 company to allow me more spare time. My heart is in the blog space, and though I make sacrifices, the rewards of this medium are plentiful. And, true to form, I’ve made amazing friendships through the blogosphere and my work and pleasure within it. And though my Internet colleagues and comrades don’t come to my home with shortbread cookies, their special text-based friendship is just as great in its own right.
Robust friendships are such a great, unspoken side benefit of being a working woman, and I am so grateful.
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