I’m entering a new era in both parenting and my career.
But what does one have to do with the other, you might ask? Everything.
Since the age of three, I’ve been driving my daughter Zoe to pre-school, elementary school, junior high, high school, sporting events, play-dates that transitioned into kickbacks, parties and sleepovers. In the past five years, driving from home in Hollywood to school in Santa Monica and back gave us time together to listen to music and share our days. In these potentially tumultuous teen years, she let me in enough to see she was maturing into an independent young woman before my eyes.
And “Miss Independent” wasted no time, taking the test for her driving learner’s permit the day she turned 15-and-a-half. The day after she turned 16, she received her driver’s license and was off, behind the wheel.
I went into full mourning mode… Until I saw the possibilities.
When Zoe was younger, I worked freelance and my clients knew that the hours between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm were Zoe-time, sacred to me and off-limits to them. I often let lucrative job opportunities pass because they required long work hours or travel away from my family.
Eventually I found my niche as a ghostwriter, and then co-writer, working with clients that understood my need to work from home, so that I could have flexibility, even if it meant working late into the night. It also meant that I didn’t get to be the boss or have full control of the projects I helped create.
Now that she’s behind the wheel, its my turn to go after the dreams I put on hold.
The magnitude of the projects I’m undertaking today are things I could only dream of when I started out as a writer over 25 years ago. Wish me luck — I’m putting everything I have into this next phase of my career.
Recently my daughter asked me if I wished I had worked full-time and been more successful. I assured her that I did motherhood exactly the way I needed to for more reasons than I would ever want to explain to her. She’s too young to understand that there is no guarantee that I would have been any more successful if I put more energy into my career years ago. There are never guarantees.
The only difference is that today I feel ready for success in a way that I didn’t before. My career no longer defines me or makes me feel worthy or lovable the way that I needed it to when I was younger. It simply gives me a platform to express myself and to create. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to put a renewed passion into my work. For me, there is nothing I would have done differently.
The best part of this new reality is the day my daughter came home and asked if I would drive her to school once a week to get Zoe-time. I guess you can say that I’m finally having my cake and eating it too.