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Challenge: Follow Your Dreams

Live Your Own "Normal' Version of Life

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Work has always been something that was important for me. I'm that kind of person that just can't sit still, I always need to be doing something. I enjoy the hustle and the bustle of hard work.

I actually started regularly working when I was 12 years old by babysitting families in my neighborhood.

When I was 16 years old, I started life-guarding at a local pool club during the summer months. I signed up for a CPR and First Aid class on my own and made sure all of my paperwork was in order to get me in that lifeguard seat.

When I went away to college, I worked on campus throughout my 4 years. I loved making extra cash because I didn't have to ask my parents for it.

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When I graduated from Brown University in 2000, I started applying for jobs in NYC. NYC was this “golden place” that I desperately wanted to try out for a few years. I remember driving to NYC after graduation and asking one of my friends (who lived there) if I could keep her yellow pages. I cold-called about 50 fashion houses, just to get their Human Resources fax number so I could send along my resume. I was like a dog with a bone! Donna Karan was the first company to call me back and I accepted their job offer as soon as I was interviewed and the job was offered to me.

I'm now 40 years old, married with 5 kids and not much has changed since I was 12 years old. I love to work. I crave work. Work is my happy place. I love the hustle of work. I love the adrenaline of work. I love work because I love what I do.

The only difference between me now and me then is that I’m my own boss now. All responsibilities fall upon me. Everything. If something doesn’t go right, it’s on me. If something goes awesome, it’s on me. If I’m crazy and stressed and overwhelmed, it

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’s on me. If something goes wrong, it's on me. I'm the face of my business. I'm the CEO, CFO, CMO and everything in between! As crazy as that may sound to some people, it's what I love most about being an entrepreneur. I love the rush, the sting, the craze, the hunt and the hustle of being my own boss, my own hustler. And here's the big litmus test, I even love it on the worst days.

I'm also an entrepreneur out of necessity. I don’t have the option not to work, so for me – though I love what I do, there isn’t an option of me just deciding to “quit.” I think that’s a big thing to disclose because I get so tired of people raining on people’s work ethic when they truly don’t know the background of the personal situation. Everyone has a different WHY. Everyone has a different reason for hustling hard or not hustling at all. For me, I just don’t have the option not to work, so it’s never been something in my mind to do.

Since I work online as a social influencer at MomGenerations.com, much of my life and my work life is on constant display, only because that’s the nature of social media. I always joke with my husband that I'm in the business of being MOM. I share what's going on. I share what's new in my life. I share things I love and things that I use. I pretty much have my life on full display! As the mom of 5 kids and the wife to my college sweetheart, my family is brought into my work all the time, so as you can imagine - it also opens me to people sharing comments with me, though maybe not meant to hurt or dig, but truly do leave a mark sometimes.

What kinds of comments am I talking about?

They come sometimes in dribbles and other time at full speed. Truthfully – with age comes wisdom, so I’m able to filter much of it out and not dwell on it. But the more I’ve opened myself up to other people about these kinds of comments I get, the more I’m seeing that I’m not alone.

These are my “top” 10 comments/questions that I get the most in some shape or form…

1. How do your kids deal with all your travel?

2. Are your kids old enough to understand what you do for a living? Are they OK with their lives being out there, too?

3. How can you work so much with 5 kids?

4. Your husband is a Saint.

5. You must love getting away when you travel and leaving all the crazy behind.

6. Do you ever take a break?

7. You must always feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. Just spinning, spinning, spinning.

8. How do your kids do in school with you away so much?

9. Who helps your husband when you’re away all the time?

10. It must be tough being the breadwinner, I’m so glad I don’t have that pressure on me.

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At the end of the day, the one thing I want is this simple truth.

I want my husband and my children to know that I work hard for them, every single day. I work hard because I want them to see the benefits of doing something you love to do. I don’t come home crying because I have a boss I hate. I don’t come home stressed and hating everything I do and work on. My family sees my working hard and hustling hard for them… for our family, for our well-being. I’ve never had the need to live in the biggest house or drive the fanciest car, but I do want to be able to provide (and then some) for my family. I want them to see me as an example of what happens when you go after your dreams, as crazy and as outlandish as they may seem (who woulda thought blogging would turn into this 12 years ago!?).

Whether you're a stay-at-home mom/dad, work-at-home mom/dad, work-out-of-the-house mom/dad... we're all in this together. We ALL make decisions for our family that we feel are the best decisions that we can make. All of us are just doing what we do in the world. We’re working. We’re loving. We’re providing. We’re just living. The definition of a “normal” life is different for everyone, not one person is the same. My life works perfectly for our family, as it does for every family.

My best advice?

Follow your dreams.

Do you.

Be you.

Just live life the best way you want to, enjoy the ride and enjoy the hustle.

Do what's best for YOU and YOUR family.

Surround yourself with people who bring you UP.

And make your version of life the best it can be!

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