Cassandra is a mother of one and works full time for a Children’s Hospital overseeing a financial portfolio for research grants. She is also the founder and CEO of Blossom to Bliss, a strategic planning agency for non-profits and individuals. Her story will inspire to you follow your heart .
Q: Why did you decide to leave paid work?
A: My husband was excited about me being a Stay At Home Mom, but coming from a financially strapped childhood, it was something I never envisioned. I was afraid to leave my (at that time) dream job. This job that I had gotten an MBA for, this job that made an impact and was a great opportunity…could I just throw that all out the window?
When my daughter was born, my husband and I were both commuting over an hour to get to work. At the end of my 12-week leave, we couldn’t imagine how to balance child care with demanding dual-careers and felt overwhelmed at being over an hour away if we needed to get home quickly. I was also struggling with severe Post-Partum Anxiety/ PTSD, which on top of the commute, being a new parent, and working over fifty hours a week was too much.
Q: How long of a career break did you take?
A: I stayed at home for just over 18 months and it was quite the adventure. In that time, we moved from a large home in Nevada to a small one-bedroom cabin in California. Thirty miles of Tahoe National Forest met our backyard and we survived a winter by the heat from a single wood burning stove! We moved again across the country to Columbus, Ohio after my husband accepted a new job offer.
Q: Why did you decide to return to paid work?
A: Being in a new city, I was feeling isolated and lonely with no friends or family nearby. I needed connection outside of my husband and daughter. I also missed my career and felt like there was a part of me missing. I have worked since high school and for me, it is not a habit, having a career makes me feel valued. After getting my MBA, I also had dreams of being able to combine my strategic know-how with my Social Work experience. Just because I put my career on hold didn’t mean my ambition or dreams stopped.
Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced in returning to paid work?
A: As a mom, I had to re-evaluate the types of positions I wanted, which by iself was challenging. After that hurdle came a lot of discouragement as I applied to over 100 jobs with less than 5 call backs for interviews. As I started tailoring my resume to each individual job, I started having more luck.
Q: Do you have any advice for parents transitioning from staying home to working outside the home?
A: As parents, we feel guilty for pursuing our passion, as if doing so takes away from caring for our children.
It actually allows us to care more freely and lovingly. It’s important to find what you LOVE to do. Then figure out how to make it happen while also being a parent. I am a much more attentive, flexible, and happy mother now that I am filling my cup with work I love.
I found that when I listed my extended parental leave and skills gained on my resume, I received more call backs. I used the title, “Household Manager” and listed the skills I mastered as a Stay At Home Mom, such as multi-tasking, delegation, problem solving, etc. I think this helped the negative perception that can come from having a “gap” in your employment.
Q: What does fulfillment look like (or feel like) to you?
A: Fulfillment is filling my cup before I fill someone else’s. Even my child’s. Daily meditation, healthy eating, and physical activity have helped me have more energy. Honoring my love for helping others and making it a career again is also a large piece of that. I love seeing all the new creative ways our daughter’s daycare teaches her new things. The way she lights up when she sees her teachers. It takes a village to raise a child, and I believe that our daycare and my career are a part of that village.
My Key Take-aways:
- Having a career can actually make you a better parent, if you find the right one for you!
- Fill your own cup first