I'm grateful for the years I was able to stay home and raise my son myself, but the truth is that it came at a cost to my career.
This isn't a uniquely female struggle, but it does seem to be a largely American story.
When my (now) ex-husband and I decided that I would take time off from work after the birth of our son, it seemed like the only option.
I worked up until the day I gave birth, and then we moved out of state when Joseph was five months old, uprooting our lives from Denver to San Diego.
We thought it would be temporary and I'd return to work a year later and send our son to daycare or preschool.
But then the reality of his military career made that difficult.
He was often deployed in those first five years in which I stayed home to raise our son.
I was a single parent long before we ever divorced.
As such, I had to figure things out on my own.
I filled my time with interesting activities - driving Joseph to LA for auditions and bookings, creating a food blog from scratch, collaborating with other SoCal creatives to photograph products and events, and daily workouts with friends.
Though I kept busy, those activities weren't exactly translatable skills on my resume when the time came to return to work.
I couldn't land an interview with a five-year gap in my work history.
The harder it got, the lower my standards and expectations went.
When I accepted an entry-level role for $15 an hour, it felt like I won the lottery.
And I kind of did because in accepting that entry-level role I was able to show just how quickly I would advance.
I wasted no time showing initiative and leadership by taking on more work and developing new processes. I built a personal brand on LinkedIn by authentically sharing my stories online.
My efforts were rewarded with multiple promotions and increases in pay.
But it did come at the price of basically starting my career all over again in my mid-thirties.
It's true that motherhood is priceless, but I'm grateful for organizations like The Mom Project that are helping moms get back to work (and I wish they had been there for me when I was returning to work) because it's not as easy as you might think and moms need all the help we can get!
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