I could work and put my son in daycare, or I could quit my job and stay home with him.
Those were my options, and picking between them wasn’t a decision I was even remotely prepared to make.
No one warned me it was coming.
My mom told me my whole life that if I worked hard, I could have whatever I wanted. Countless television shows reinforced the message that women could have it all – successful careers and thriving families. So I believed the hype. Just focus on finding my passion, I thought.
When I did, I expected to get the dream I earned.
But there I was with a college degree and some six years of reporting experience, and I couldn’t even support my family and still be there for my son.
I felt like a failure.
What do people do when they feel inadequate? They blame others, naturally. I blamed my husband.
He and I both had careers, but I felt like alone in the decision between working and staying home with our baby. I called him sexist, yelled and cried, but the reality of the situation was that it wasn’t his fault. He was being logical.
Deciding to quit my job
My entry-level journalism job provided no benefits, and his full-time gig did. My job was a contract role that I was in the last year of. I even made less money than my husband did. It was so much less that just the cost of daycare would have eroded my salary to a mere $13 an hour.
I could make that working any random work-from-home position and not have to put my son in daycare.
So although I didn’t want to quit my job; I refused to quit my job; and I stated repeatedly that I shouldn’t have to quit my job, I ultimately quit my job.
I was devastated and soon, desperate to find a gig that allowed me to work from home. Having no income wasn’t something I was truly prepared for.
Lacking faith in myself
I still had more faith in any random news company than I did in myself.
My husband knew better. See, I was the young girl in love with the jerk, but he was the best friend who could clearly see the truth.
He told me time and time again that I didn’t need newspaper. I didn’t even seem to love journalism anymore.
Journalism’s claim to fame isn’t the money. It’s the ability to help people by shedding light on issues that matter. I was pumping out an endless stream of stories about people getting shot and going to jail. I wasn’t really making a difference.
Finding my passion
My husband was right. I fell out of love with journalism, and I needed to determine what I was in love with. So I took it back to three simple truths. I would never be happy working for someone else. I loved to write, and I knew I wanted to help others.
The only problem — and also my biggest motivator, as it turns out — was my fear. I was afraid of the unknown, afraid of the learning curve and afraid of never being able to provide for my family. But what I was most afraid of was never being happy. I could hide the other fears, but my son would see his mother settling.
I couldn’t have that. So I stopped looking for my old job’s Siamese twin. I stopped letting desperation drive me, and I started pursing what would make me happy.
Now, I don’t have it all figured out. I’m still in the struggle phase of my dream, but I’m giving it my all. My happiness depends on it.