I have a Mommy Track story for you, if you like those kinds of things. My friends do because many of them happen either to be on the mommy track, just off it or thinking of getting on. To all of you I say beware for it is a long and difficult path.
But my story: It started nearly 16 years ago when I had my first child, Granger, and couldn't be a stay-at-home mom. I was a modern woman and had planned it this way and his daddy stayed home with the baby while I went to work. Work evolved into a career of sorts and then I got caught up in the dot.com of it all and suddenly he was nearly five and I felt I had missed too much.
My priorities got straighter, but my work schedule didn't let up much. He came to work with me once on a sick day and, um, got sick on the shoes of a CEO who had insisted I come in despite my ill child. To his credit, he apologized and sent me home and then made up for it with a day off and tickets to an amusement park for my son and me.
Anyway, fast forward a few years and along came Kayla. Same job, different priorities. We'd done the going public thing and the company had grown and when some fundamental changes became apparent (along with another couple of things), I chose to leave a couple of months after I went back, when she was six months old.
The siren song of a startup lured me back a couple of months later, and I stayed aboard for 2.5 more years until along came Walter in the spring of 2001. It was then I decided that, by gum, I was going to get off the career track and be on the Mommy Track. It was terribly frightening -- I'd never been dependent on a man before and much of that rubbed the whole time I was off. The time with the kids was as amazing as it had been advertised to be, and I loved the friends I made and the days at the park and the preschool trips and all the fun of babying my babies while volunteering at the PTA for Granger's school. Contentment turned to a lack of enthusiasm for life, the fear I'd never work again, that I didn't belong in the corporate world, that the e-revolution had passed me by. I waved to it as I drove up Highway 101.
I went back to work part time in a job I liked but wasn't my calling a while back. Then suddenly, as I was awakening to the possibility that I wanted to really go back to work, my mentor from two old jobs called and said "Do you want to come back?"
A couple of interviews later, here I am ... back home at a company I helped start, though "home" is now a gigantic two story building where it had been initially a one-room office.
I walked off the Mommy Track and the Career Track was running parallel. It was a bit of a jump to get back on, but it is fun -- fun! to go to work and the work itself is great and the people amazingly brilliant and innovative and (I hope you are all reading this) just fabulous.
I'm still Mommy to three kids, and they are all rooting for me. My daughter visited my office the other day and asked "But mom, how do you know what you are supposed to be doing?"
I told her it was because I had such good training as a Mom.