I received a free copy of Work PAUSE Thrive in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Sure I knew my life would change when our twins were born. I was prepared (sort of) for no sleep, breastfeeding 8-16 times per day and a lot of poop-y diapers. But I had no idea that a new level of self-exploration would soon begin. Before kids I contributed on a high level, worked for great people and although I didn’t know it at the time my work and earning-power was at the core of my self-worth. I took 6 months maternity leave knowing that with twins I would need more time to hit my stride. The struggle began when I went back to work part-time. My elation and gratitude over becoming a Mommy was suddenly tainted with shame, failure and guilt. There was guilt from working too much or not enough. There was guilt for enjoying my time away from our children. There was a sense of failure because I suddenly felt I wasn’t as good as I was before. Had I lost my edge and ability to move mountains? Everything was turned upside down and I begin to flounder. It seemed like I needed more child care hours, more help around the house, even someone to grocery shop for me! It was all too much and when my husband called me out on grumpiness and a high stress level I found myself at a fork in the road: I either had to get more people to help me run the household and take care of the children or work less. Realistically the latter meant not work at all because it didn’t seem feasible to stay in the game on such a small scale. My desire to be close with our children was strong, even if that meant no break from wiping bottoms, tantrums, laundry and digging in the dirt. I knew I’d be crazy to walk away from such a good position and I certainly didn’t want being a parent to be the only thing that defined me but I knew the children would only be young once and I didn’t want someone else taking care of them – that is MY JOB! So I took the leap to focus on being a Mom. We fill our days with crafts, baking, slime, swimming, mud castles and more. I feel so lucky to be with them! And without a career to pull my focus I’m also on a strange path to find myself beyond work or parenting. I don’t know what’s next, when or how I will go back to work but I’m writing and reading to stay current and trying not to worry.
Thanks to Lisen Stromberg’s book, Work PAUSE Thrive, I now have a “guilt-free” word for what I’m doing! I’ve started saying my career is on PAUSE and it feels actionable. The book title invites respect for Mothers who have stopped working, implies possibility and circumvents the inferred “dead end” typically associated with a gap in ones career. It’s shocking that anyone needs to validate a choice to prioritize raising children but there are so many of us having this conversation. Lisen’s book was the angel in my journey, tying a bow around everything I’d been thinking about and serving up real-life stories and examples to support me.
Whatever your story you will find yourself in this book. At least I did. The author describes the many different types of detours a parent can take to focus on raising children. Through research Lisen observed that some women slide right back into what they were doing, others choose a slightly different path, or start their own small business. Lisen describes the many different groupings and sub sets of the choices Moms make, organized by how long they pause and what they do next. I fall into her category entitled “Pivoters”, those carving a path for a slightly different career upon re-entry. It was nice to realize there are many moms out there just like me. This book reassured me that my future is not only as bright as it always was but maybe even greater and more promising. Maybe you’re a Pivoter like me or a Mompreneur, Boomerang or Cruiser! Whatever kind of PAUSE you’re taking Lisen sheds light on whatever path we’re on.
If you’ve felt worried you’ve given up your career to embrace the joy of Mothershood (cleaning up, laundry, boogers and refereeing) this book will definitely help rebuild your confidence. You’ll be reminded that there is a thriving career waiting for you whenever you’re ready. Lisen illustrates this point by outlining the stories of highly successful women who have quietly paused their careers and yet come back to achieve great success. Some pause for a short time, some for as many as 11 years – it is possible to come back – and others reinvent themselves.
Lisen also disects societal values of caregivers and discusses Fathers who stay home with the children. Work PAUSE Thrive is a huge next step in the conversation to end shame that can go along with the blissful choice of being a stay-at-home parent.
What’s next for me? Well every Mommy says that raising your children goes too fast. So our journey is about letting go and not worrying about what’s next. My top priority is raising our children and taking care of our home and family. I secretly know there is something waiting for me when the time is right. Maybe something more fulfilling and joyful than my previous position. In the future I want work that is an expression of my passion, creativity and unique contribution. I hope that by writing and sharing my experiences in Motherhood it will all fall into place.
This book helped me see that I’m not alone – not even close – and to let go. I’m mailing my copy of this book to a Mommy friend who needs to read it and headed back to sit on the floor and play with our little ones. I’ve never felt so present and alive as when I’m with our children. As for my career? It’s on PAUSE!
Enter for your chance to win one of 15 copies of the Work PAUSE Thrive book ($25 retail)a Rafflecopter giveaway Entries will be accepted now through March 11, 2017. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by CLEVER by March 14, 2017. The official Terms & Conditions can be found in the link but to be eligible you must be age 18+ and a US resident. Only one winner per household.
Lisen Stromberg is an award-winning journalist, sought-after speaker, and CEO and founder of PrismWork, a culture innovation consultancy. In her book, Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career, she reveals how trailblazing women have disrupted the traditional career paradigm to achieve their personal and professional goals and provides readers with a blueprint for how they, too, can integrate kids with their career.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.