Unplugging has Helped My Family Re-connect

Over the last year, I made an important decision after leaving a full time job where I used to get home close to 8 pm, shovel some food into my mouth – talk to my kids and husband for a few minutes, and then zip back online to write, catch up on emails and surf Facebook. I quit that job back in August and since that time, while I spend a good part of my day online, I’ve found more time for my family and it’s actually made everyone a whole lot happier.
In fact, yesterday, as I accompanied my daughter into Manhattan for a workshop she’s taking at FIT, she revealed that she used to hate that I got home from work so late and was online all the time. Sure, she’s glued to her iPhone for several hours a day, but in that moment, she and I had a very real conversation. My 14 year old and me and she told me how happy she was that I am now a work at home mom.
In addition to not having to commute into the city several times a week, I also have opted out of attending dozens of conferences throughout the year. Sure, if I were more visible I could potentially sign more clients, but at what cost? Is it worth it to me to get to speak on a panel and then miss my son pitch a flawless baseball game? I think not. Granted – I did miss him pitching today because I had to attend a Weight Watchers meeting, but I did make it to his second game and saw him hit a triple, so all was forgiven.
They say it’s tough being a new mom and having to juggle work and family. But what they don’t tell you is that the guilt part gets harder as they get older. I am now at a stage in my life where I am watching my daughter discover her true passion and I have to tell you, I am so proud. I’m also thrilled to know that if she wants to become a fashion designer, that I can help connect her to door opening opportunities that could put her on the road to success. Am I a stage mom? Absolutely not. But I know that despite the fact that I have my own personal and professional goals, my husband and kids comes first and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than hanging on the couch with them.
So while my peers hop on planes, trains and automobiles to attend conferences, business trips and getaways, I’ll be staying put for now. Sure, I’d gladly go on a business trip when it’s for an important client or a great professional opportunity but otherwise, I’d rather spend the night in my own bed sleeping next to my spouse and two cats.
Does that mean I am not driven or passionate enough to achieve my own career goals? Not at all. Success comes along when you least expect it and sometimes, it’s all about timing. And right now, it’s time for my kids to be in the spotlight.
So if you don’t see me getting involved in online conversations as often as I used to – it’s because my family and I are watching another episode of “Long Island Medium” or “Say Yes to the Dress.” It might not be Oscar worthy entertainment fare but I don’t care. I’m hanging out with my kids and that suits me just fine.