I was a writer and principal executive in an advertising agency when I decided to leave my profession to stay home and raise my kids. I wanted to be the one that nurtured and trained our children, and my busy job simply didn’t give me enough time to do that well.
On the one hand, when I left the business world, I never looked back. I loved being with my kids, and I began to find creative outlets in and around the home. I deepened my prayer life. There were certainly rewards. But in other ways, leaving my job was very hard. Frankly, I really wrestled over my identity.
I worked in advertising for a couple of years before leaving with two colleagues to start a new agency. I was 25. That same year, I became a born-again Christian. What an exhilarating ride! We worked ten- or twelve-hour days, and experienced some success. New business was flowing to us. The advertising associations were noticing and commending our work. We were suddenly winning clients from other cities. I even had a client in another country.
I was a woman succeeding in a man’s world. I was very much “living the dream.” I loved Jesus and being a Christian, but my primary identity was “successful professional.” My work was the main source of my personal sense of affirmation and accomplishment. I could exercise control, see results on a regular basis, and be rewarded for it, both with recognition and compensation.
Less Than My Best
A few years later, I married a wonderful guy (who happened to be one of my business partners!), and before long we had a son. I tried working part-time and was (as I know so many women are) torn and guilty much of the time. I felt like I was giving less than my best both places.
Then another son was born. I didn’t last a week at the part-time job. Even though our income was slashed, and severe budgeting became a reality, I decided to go home for good. On top of losing an income, my husband and I also felt called to begin giving 10% of what we earned to the church. While we remained in a small home with old carpet and sacrificed many “nice things,” by God’s grace, we never missed the money.