Like most people I know, I've been employed full time since the day I graduated college (in 2003, if you must know!). First, it was at Starbucks. Then, the Heinz History Center (still one of my favorite places). Then at a national face to face marketing agency, where I remained as a graphic designer and multimedia designer for eight years. Then came the birth of my son.
I went into the pregnancy with full intention of returning from maternity leave unchanged. How naive I was! At first it was a relief. I had an excuse to shower every morning and put on clothes and makeup and feel like a glimmer of my old self. But that didn't last very long. When I was at work, my heart was breaking to be with my son. When I was with my son, I thought about how I needed to be more present at work. Failing at work was NOT an option, and I had constant anxiety about maintaining the same quality of work I was used to producing. I felt like I had two full time jobs and not enough time in the day to dedicate to both.
Making the decision to move on and take your life and career in a different direction is never easy, especially when you make the decision to step out on your own. But sometimes you just KNOW the time is right. The eight years at my job had taught me so much. I loved my coworkers and my team. But I need some things that no full time employment can give me. I want to take my fine art hobby to the next level. I need guilt free time with my son, as these days are so fleeting. I need to be in charge of my time. With much lamenting, I made the biggest leap of faith I've ever made.
It was hard to say goodbye to something that was so ingrained in my identity for so long, but I haven't looked back. I'm so excited and thankful to be able to do what I'm doing. I'm grateful for every second I get to spend with my son, and every second that someone pays me to do what I love. I'm so glad to be here.