Have you become less ambitious about your career and personal goals since having kids?
I always considered myself a career woman from the time I finished high school. I've been working since I was 11 - babysitting, paper route, fast food, bank teller and finally my first 'real' job as a computer programmer at 19 for Grumman Data Systems on Long Island. I was there only 15 months before a software company in Manhattan swept me off my feet and ambition was my middle name. I learned fast, moved up quickly and owned my own software consulting company by the age of 28. I married my business partner so we were almost literally eating and breathing our work. My family said I should never have kids because I'd never see them. Besides, I had no patience for chilren. In my twenties, I wasn't even sure if I wanted kids - maybe one ---- MAYBE.
When I turned 31, I was suddenly bitten by the 'mom' bug. I wanted a child. I REALLY wanted a child. My husband and I planned the timing carefully. I was pregnant within 2 months of trying. I know exactly when I conceived. My son was even born on his due date! But something happened that I had not expected. It was as if a part of me that had been lying dormant suddenly came to life and the being of mother took over. I had no desire to work while I was pregnant. And I loved being pregnant. I had my son at home with a midwife (we were living in Iowa at the time). I'm so happy and blessed that I was able to do that. And I nursed my son for 21 months.
I had no desire to write code. I took on cooking, baking, gardening, taking care of my son and watching him grow with gusto. After the birth, I was blessed enough to have people bring me meals. It was so amazing that I wanted to return the blessing to others so I organized a group of women who would cook for other moms in our community and I called it "Meals for Moms." Once my son stopped nursing, I went back to Toastmasters meetings, I took horseback riding lessons, I learned massage, I took acting and comedy classes. And I took great care of my beautiful son.
Did I become less ambitious? Absolutely not! I channeled my ambitions in a new direction towards things I love to do including taking care of my family. My husband left when my son was 3 years old forcing me to go back to work. Having my son and the experience of being a mom really helped me get in touch with what is important to me. As I have journeyed through the 'career path' jungle I've been better able to prioritize my life in a way that works for me so I continually get a clear vision for each phase of my life, set new goals and create a fulfilling and amazing life that includes doing work I love and being a mom.