The Time I Quit
I’m a 35 year old mother of two school-aged kids. Being a working Mom in the political space and an entrepreneur has its challenges, but we’ve figured out our grove for the most part. It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows. I had a really hard time finding reliable help with my first child. It’s one thing to adjust to leaving your baby at home or daycare to go to work as a new Mom. It is an entirely different thing to do it when you don’t feel confident in the help you have.
Then, in 2015 I had my second child. I was drowning trying to manage career and family duties. I felt like I was failing at all of it. So, instead of pushing through and finding a solution, I threw in the towel. Quite literally…I threw away my collection of hundreds of campaign t-shirts because their presence in my closet reminded me of the dream I thought was no longer attainable.
After a year at home, I started deeply missing my work. Margaret Thatcher, the first female British Prime Minster once said, “Of course, to be a mother and a housewife is a vocation of a very high kind. But I simply felt that it was not the whole of my vocation. I knew that I also wanted a career. A phrase that Irene Ward, MP for Tynemouth, and I often used was that ‘while the home must always be the center of one’s life, it should not be the boundary of one’s ambitions’.
This quote really resonates with me and aptly describes how I felt in that first year after I quit my career.
In 2016, Catherine Hanaway was running for Governor of Missouri, so I decided to tip my toe back into politics and host an event for her in my home. A former U.S. Attorney, the first and only female Speaker of the Missouri House, and mother sat in my living room while on the campaign trail for Governor, “what am I doing?” I asked myself.
Not long after that cycle, I drove to Jefferson City for an event for women who worked in Missouri politics at the Missouri Governor’s mansion. On my drive I listened to the book Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare you, It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson. “We start dying the day we stop dreaming. And ironically, we start living the day we discover a dream worth dying for.” Batterson was speaking to my heart. My career isn’t just work, it’s my purpose and calling.
By the time I got back to St. Louis I had finished the book and decided to quit quitting. I emailed the person I wanted to work for the most, and in about two weeks, I had the job.
What my “big quit” taught me is that motherhood is just one challenge I will face in my career. Being a working-Mom and entrepreneur isn’t easy. But I’m so glad I pushed through. Everyone has personal lives and various impediments along the journey. As Marcus Arelius said, “the impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. The obstacle is the way.”