Until recently, I lived in the Washington D.C. area for over a decade and was an award-winning public relations executive for the federal government under the last three presidential administrations.
However, four years ago, I became the mother of identical twin boys. Almost instantaneously my family of three became a family of five. A desire to stay at home and be a full-time mother overcame me. As an educated professional Latina woman, my values were instilled by my parents (two 1st generation Latinos who broke stereotypical statistics with each of their individuals careers) and who placed an emphasis on faith, education, work, and family. Even though I was already a mother to an older son, I had been able to manage my career, home life, and share the benefits with my family. Now, being the mother of three boys was a task I wanted to be fully present for. Yet, I still wanted to maintain my professional skills and contribute financially to my household.
Though I knew at this point of my life, I wanted to focus on motherhood and the development of my growing family, a part of me certainly equated my own worth in receiving a steady paycheck. I did have moments of where I wondered what other women might think of me. I could recall on many occasions throughout the years where other women were unkind or looked down upon those women who choose to leave their profession to stay at home. I had worked hard to be an educated and professional women, especially in an environment where minorities or other Latina women were not so prevalent. I worked outside the home all my life and understood first-hand the struggles women faced when they tried to re-enter the workforce after choosing to stay home with their children.
I felt like I needed to‘re-invent’ myself and reevaluate my own priorities and values. My own mother took a step back from her career as one of the first Latina women ever to be promoted as a senior consultant for the N.Y. Dept of Labor Equal Employment Opportunity office to a career in education so she could spend more time with me and her growing older children. I was certain that I wanted to concentrate on my family but also felt a strong urge to financially assist to a now much more expensive household budget. In essence, I would become a WAHM or a work at home mother.
Working from home is not the same as working in your corner office with a beautiful scenery outside your window. My view is now of my home office and kitchen. What has helped me to transition from the hectic grind of business meetings and deadlines to working from home is that I try to apply the same work ethic. I still have business meetings and travel (because I believe its important to continue to develop your professional training and networking for opportunities) but they are on my schedule. If I can not attend an event, because it’s the first week of preschool with my twins or because my son wants me to be a chaperone on a field trip, I have the freedom to simply say ‘No’. I decide my schedule to suit the needs of my family and that brings a sense of success and satisfaction even more than I did when I was working outside the home. I tend to work during the hours my children are in school or my husband is at his job. I do try to keep a tidy and clean home with a husband and three boys, but I do not make myself feel bad if I need to be on a conference call and there are dishes in the sink from the morning. When the family is together in the late afternoon or early evening, I like to spend quality time with them with things as simple as eating dinner together at the table as a family or playing a game. If necessary, I will continue to work again once everyone is relaxing or the little ones are asleep but my family continue to be main priority.
Work and home life balance is different and unique to everyone so whatever an individual’s passion is can be the foundation for achieving personal and professional success.
Joscelyn Ramos Campbell has over 10 years of experience as an award-winning former federal government public relations executive and spokesperson under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administration. She is the owner of Mami Innovative Media, LLC and founder and editor-in-chief of Mami of Multiples, one of the nation’s leading Latina American parenting and lifestyle sites. Connect with Joscelyn on Twitter at @JoscelynRC and @InnovativeTalk.