When I started my business, I was desperate. I was desperate to make a professional change, I was desperate to follow my own path, and I was desperate to be with my family more. My priorities had become very mixed up and where I used to focus on my kids, I was suddenly choosing to work late and finish paperwork. Although I don’t recommend making major life changes out of desperation, that was my path. I’d love to tell you it was a straight path too, but it wasn’t. When I was really angry, I was also positive that I would be my own boss and be available to care for my kids and my home the way I believed a mom was supposed to. But my confidence wavered as much as my anger. I would take a step forward toward my goal, only to panic and completely second guess myself. In spite of moving back and forth, I continued to go forward and began to build a practice for which I was my own boss. I believed that this was the answer to my prayers and as I began to get calls and appointments, I also began to lose more and more time with my family. The very indignation that motivated me, “I want to be with my kids”, was slipping through my fingers with every step forward in my business. I often felt torn even more between being a mom, being an employee, being a wife and being an entrepreneur. I understood the need to provide for my family, but the guilt for not being present with my family was overwhelming. I would find myself faced with the decision of going home for a short time to capture a few moments with my children, or stay at work and avoid the gut wrenching guilt that accompanied unpeeling their arms from around my waist as they cried, “Why do you always work so much?”
I often wrestled with the dilemma of creating a business that would allow me to feel safe and fulfilled, or sacrifice that safety to be home more. Isn’t that what good moms would do? Sacrifice for their children? If not for the unbelievable support from my husband, who struggled with his own anxiety over the situation, I would have bailed multiple times. He has encouraged me and believed in me, but also reminded me that he would love me even if I failed. He is proof that it is 1,000 times easier to be a good mom, when your kids have a good dad.
But was I being a good mom? I left them several nights per week to start a business, providing a service that many others, more experienced than I, were offering as well. But I persevered and discovered that being a good mom and being a success are so much different than what I thought when I started this adventure. As my desperation faded and I became more in touch with what it really means to me to be a mom and a professional, I found my answers. I’m imperfect and I’m a great mom. I work hard and I teach my children that hard work pays off. I’ve taught them that sometimes success comes in following your dreams rather than a huge paycheck. I stopped trying to do everything and to be everything to everyone. I’ve since gone part-time at my once full-time job and am taking a huge financial risk along the way. But I have time to breathe. And when I’m with my kids, I’m present. I will spend one full day a week with them all summer and when school comes I will get them on and off the bus every day. I’m going to be that mom. You see, it’s the little things. I appreciate my success and continue to work toward that, but I appreciate my job as a mom and every minute I get to spend with my children. I continue to work toward the balance of my career, my happiness, and my family. But today I’m a couple steps closer.
Kerrie Gianvecchio, LMSW
1320 Buffalo Rd Suite 209
Rochester, NY 14624