This book was so great to read.
The sociologist in me geeked out.
The professional that spent years doing strategic research felt like I’d found “my people.”
Am I a biased reviewer? Maybe.
Is this a long post? Definitely. (Much longer than most.)
But, it will let you know a good bit more about me and it’s probably opening me up to a whole new series of posts.
So, here we go!
This is my personal review of a book that will be released later this month.
I didn’t plan this in advance, but it’s perfect for today given that the Women’s March took place Washington, DC along with other solidarity marches across the country and around the world.
The text is by Lisen Stromberg and it is titled, Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career.
I don’t go around touting my resume, but for context:
I have two bachelor’s degrees – I double majored in Sociology and African & Afro-American Studies and I have a minor in Social and Economic Justice. I also completed a Certificate in Public Service through my university’s Service Learning Program.
I followed that up with a dual degree Masters Program. I have a Masters Degree in Social Work and another in Public Administration. (My mom says I “never do just one thing.” 🙂 ) I also managed to complete a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and the School of Social Work’s Child Welfare Education Collaborative Program during that same time.
I love learning. I am passionate about any work that I set my hands to do. I have always been driven to succeed and my parents instilled a very strong work ethic in me from day one.
I think many people would be shocked to learn this about me, but before ever meeting my husband, I knew that if I was to ever have children I would want to be at home with them.
I would even consider pausing my professional career to focus on my role in helping to raise my children. It was important to me to one day meet and marry someone with similar values.
My mother was not a stay at home mom, but I was able to stay with my grandmother until I started Kindergarten. I loved being with my grandma (if you couldn’t tell from how much I mention her in most of my posts).
Although my mom wasn’t a stay at home parent, she always put her children first. She often said, “If anything ever happens to one of my kids, I’m leaving work and going to get them!”
Now, I mentioned the work ethic my parents taught us – especially my mom. You didn’t miss school and you didn’t miss work. In fact, I missed only ONE day of school in elementary school (I had strep throat in 5th grade). So, please don’t think that my mom used her children as an excuse to abandon her job. That was not the case. But, if her children were ever hurt or sick, there was no supervisor who could tell her that she was not going to see about her child. I always respected that about my mom and it impressed a value in me that I want to be able to give my own children as much of my time as possible.
Flash forward 18 years….
I vividly remember being in one of my Sociology classes and having a conversation about working professional women who decided to stay home with their children. The course was cross-listed between the Sociology and Women’s & Gender Studies Departments, so the group was pretty diverse and always ready for intense debate.
One of our classmates was a stay at home mom (SAHM, for those that aren’t hip to the Pinterest slang) before coming back to school and was sharing her decision-making experience with the class. My seatmate looked at me and remarked, “I can’t believe she would do that,” under her breath.
I calmly looked at her and said, “Why not? I would. I hope to anyway.”
Another one of my classmates looked at me in disgust. I mean PURE disgust. She then proceeded to tell me how that would be a waste of my degrees.
We’d all been pretty cordial before that. I think we’d been enrolled in a few classes together, but the topic of leaving our careers and having children had never come up.
I didn’t argue with them. See, I’m a person that knows who I am. I stated my piece and left it at that. Personally, I can’t imagine a better use of my years of education than to focusing on the early learning and development of my children. That may not be “right” for every mother, but it is MY desire and what feels right for me.
I’ve yet to have any children, but I started exploring telecommuting/”Work from Home” positions years ago because I knew I would want to do some type of work as my children aged that would still respect my priority of raising a family and serving my community. I’ve since found that position and I couldn’t be more grateful.
As women, we have the right to raise children and be working professionals. We shouldn’t have to settle for less that what we feel that we deserve and we shouldn’t be shamed once we act upon our personal priorities. Yet, we still are. Even in 2017.
I know my story isn’t shocking. We hear these from friends/family daily and the author details a number of personal accounts within the written text. However, I’m sharing it so that one more working professional “with all the degrees and accolades” can be comforted in knowing– YOU are NOT alone.
Wanting to put your children first is not crazy. Yes, you have accomplished a lot, but the work will be there and YOUR WORK HAS WORTH– negotiate for those things that you want.
If you want to keep working while raising children, do so on your own terms.
Decide when you will/will not answer emails. Set up a home office and learn what items you can deduct on your taxes (This will benefit your family in more ways than one!). If you think a professional “pause” is the right thing for you, start saving now! There are tons of money savings challenges and plans for living off of a single salary. IT IS possible!
When I decided to shift from a traditional office environment to working from home (mind you, no kids were involved in this discussion), I heard all of the common things:
…I wouldn’t make as much as I’d made previously
… All work at home jobs are call center jobs (…uh, that’s a LIE)
…I’d be wasting my degrees
…I’d end up begging for my job back
So far, NOT ONE of of those things has happened! (Glory be to God.)
My health (mentally and physically) has improved tremendously, my peace and quality-of-life have grown by leaps and bounds, and (I say this all the time on my social media pages) I am more FULFILLED than I ever dreamed would be possible.
No, I don’t have any children yet, but anyone who knows me (or has been reading this blog for longer than a week), knows that I am a planner.
I try to be strategic and plot out my course. I plan, I PRAY, and I seek the Lord’s direction concerning the desires of my heart. I stand on the scriptures that declare these truths:
Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives.
Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
As I said, I’m going to share more about my journey to start working from home. In addition to my product review work; I also have a full-time, work from home position; and I explore a few freelance projects from time to time that I work on during the evenings and weekends. Pinterest was an ESSENTIAL resource when I started looking for ALL of these positions.
I’ll be adding to these boards frequently, so be sure to keep an eye out for updates!
After 2 years, I am pretty comfortable with working from home. When kids come, it sure that it will only get more interesting and become that much more fulfilled.
I intended to write a post on my 31st birthday that I was going to title, 31 and THRIVING as a follow-up to the post I shared after my 30th birthday. I can truly say that I have learned to work and pause and thrive and I pray that I will embrace this mantra even more whenever our “littles” are added to #TeamBHenry.
All that being said, this text (clearly) resonated with me very deeply and is one I would HIGHLY recommend.
There’s so much more to say about this book! I plan to have a series of shorter, more content focused posts to follow this one.
Finally, here is the publisher’s description of the text:
After the birth of her second child, marketing and advertising executive Lisen Stromberg did something she never imagined she would do: she opted out and chose to stay home with her children.
But her career didn’t end there. Stromberg paused, then pivoted to become an award-winning journalist writing about women, work, and life in Silicon Valley. Along the way, she met many highly successful women who told her they never “opted out” but had, in fact, temporarily paused or downshifted their careers. Their journeys revealed an alternative, non-linear path to the top that enabled them to reconcile family with their careers.
In Work PAUSE Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career, Stromberg details how these trailblazers disrupted the original paradigm by incorporating pauses into their careers and embraced all aspects of life. Deeply rooted in social science research, cutting-edge data collected from nearly 1,500 women, and through 186 first-person interviews, Stromberg provides a blueprint for stepping back from your career without sacrificing your ambitions. She shows you how to successfully opt not out, but in—not just to your career, but to your whole life.
With Stromberg’s guidance, you’ll learn:
- Who pauses and how and why
- How pausing can enrich both your career and your life
- How to innovate your own path by strategically incorporating a pause into your career
- What we can—and need—to do as a society to make it pausing possible for more people to achieve their personal and professional goals
There is a way to find integration when it comes to your work and your life.
Work PAUSE Thrive reveals new and exciting trends in the workplace and offers targeted solutions for companies to help ensure both women and men are able to lead the lives they want, lives in which they can build both a career and a family.