My Struggle With The Stay At Home Vs Working Mother Dilemma

Everything in the world comes down to the soul.  It is capable of extraordinary heroism and ingenuity as well as cruelty and despair. How much of our sufferings are manmade or self-inflicted?   How often could life turn out differently had we made different choices? The answer is almost always.  People’s lives are determined by the actions, the choices they make.  As many working mothers, I felt a constant guilt and split between my work and family. After decades in sales and marketing, I wanted to make a real difference and not be forever chasing the next big deal until I die.  Well, let me be honest and rewind.  Being an uber-achiever since grade school, I managed clients and staff all over the world and overworked myself into an auto-immune disorder before quitting, reassessing my life and briefly living in retirement for a while.

When I became a full-time parent, I wanted to take the same approach I did as a senior business executive and measure KPI, and boy was a I disappointed at my own performance as well as my family’s.  Being a parent was more tiring than any job I’ve ever held, and you never reach your objective, close the deal, get a performance bonus.    The restless achiever in mind kept wanting to get back in the game, but I felt indebted to my children for living through years when I worked 17 hours a day.

Could there be a middle ground?
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How do you balance work and family?x

Even though I should have learned my lesson on work life balance, and I preached it all the time. I know myself enough to know it’s all too easy for me to fall back into that default pattern. Self-awareness is not an innate trait for humans are not rational beings by nature, and it takes courage to face the reality of yourself.  But we must intentionally foster self-awareness in order to accept ourselves.  From self-acceptance, other higher aspirations like self-esteem, empathy, etc. can follow.  I’ve fastidiously practiced different CBT techniques like mind mapping, pros and cons since I was 12 to develop my self-awareness and hone rational thinking.

This blog entry is not a debate of stay-at-home vs working mothers.  Everyone is different and needs to balance their own needs with that of their children because endless and unbalanced self-sacrifice eventually leads to resentment and hurt the family.  Knowing I might relapse into my workaholic self, I should rather devote myself to working on something that really makes a difference and is relevant to my children.  So mid-2020, the year of COVID, toilet paper shortages, stay at home orders, kids at home, wildfires (I’m in California), George Floyd and the most contentious US presidential election, I took a leap of faith to start my dream venture to change the world because 2020 reminded me to never take anything for granted and if anything is worth doing, it’s probably worth doing NOW.  Working on a startup in the middle of a pandemic with constant uncertainties and my kids virtual schooling beside me may be the difficult thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also what kept me sane and driven while the world seemed to crumble around us.  Since its inception, curaJOY is changing the world, one child at time.  We work on the intangible, from the soul.

Caitlyn Wang
Caitlyn has scored above 99% every standardized tests she's taken since the ripe young age of 7, from the Wechsler IQ test, ABSRM piano performance exam to SAT. She is a proven senior business leader with global marketing, product development, supply chain management backgrounds who likes to tackle the impossible and has managed teams on three continents. Equally important, she is a devoted mother of two, a skilled pianist, certified yoga and aerial teacher, vocalist and lifelong learner.
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