Career


By Guest Blogger Kelly Duffy

“When you go through life, so sure of where you’re headin’, and you wind up lost, it’s the best thing that could have happened”

-Brad Paisley, “Find Your Self”

You may find this odd, but I wasn’t really a Brad Paisley fan until this morning. I found myself returning from the two hour marathon that is the morning drop off ritual (the two older to one school, the little guy to pre-school) and listening to the closing credits for Pixar’s’ “Cars”. Despite the fact that I’ve seen this movie close to a thousand times the song I quoted previously really jumped out at me. As a matter of fact the lesson of the entire film hit me powerfully right between the eyes. Who among us hasn’t veered off course because of detour signs somewhere in life?

One of the things I miss the most in life (besides a firm backside and my natural hair color) is the crystal clear vision I had of what I wanted for myself in the future. I was rock steady, unshakable in my convictions.  It was almost as if it was predetermined and nothing could get in the way. There was no self doubt, I was positively fearless. I can picture that young gal with her Pollyannish bravado just waiting to jump out into the world with her equally enthusiastic friends. “Here we go!” they all shout, knowing that with hard work and determination they would all arrive at their destination.

Cut to twenty years later and take a look at how many of us stuck to the original plan. Some of us are close, several are right on the mark, and most of us aimed high but didn’t hit the target. Let me preface this by letting you know that most of the women I spoke to were very honest about what they really wanted deep in their hearts. Even if that wish were as kooky as wanting to be a fairy princess, I let them run with it. How far away from the prize did we find ourselves? Let’s see.

I landed so far away from what I originally imagined that it could be said that I’m residing in a completely different universe. The plan I deviated from was not a realistic blue print by which to live a life.  When I was four, I desperately wanted to be a “drawer.” No, not the place you fold and place your socks, but someone who draws for a living. My mother was a frustrated artist (far more naturally talented than I’ll ever be) who chose motherhood and housewife duties over pursuing any kind of dreams she may have had.  When it came time to test my meddle, I gathered my best stuff, compiled a decent portfolio and prepared to submit it to the list of art schools my teachers had given me. Aghast, my parents discouraged this avenue and begged me to reconsider a four year liberal arts university. It was an easy choice given my expertise at quitting and the powerful influence of an overbearing mom and dad.  I still draw, but not with the passion I used to have. However I’ve gained some things I never imagined would be mine, a funny creative husband, a charming but sometimes challenging old house, three delightful (sometimes) kids, and two dogs and a guinea pig that screams. I feel happy, satisfied on most days and thankful that I have a life this full.

My friend, let’s call her Vicky, lived in a number of big cites after graduating from her very high falutin’ university. It was assumed she would go on and take the world of academia by storm, but she was presented with a whole host of issues that don’t usually plague the big brains. She was pregnant by her less than worthy boyfriend of two months.  Shocked we wondered how someone this smart, who was due to go to law school right after getting her master’s degree could have let this happen? I remember saying, “wow, if this can happen to her, then there really is no hope for the rest of us shmucks.” Last week I got a hold of her and posed the same question. Were there any regrets? Was she happy with what she had made of her life? The most surprising response came out of her mouth. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing, this is how it was meant to be and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Wow.

My other friend, who we’ll call Barb, has had her future in her apparel since the first day of high school. It was going to be fashion or nothing at all. She made all the right career moves and was even able to dance around a high profile layoff and turn it around into an advantage. She never had time for a serious relationship and instead went through a series of men as quickly as she changed outfits. Later on, however she turned around and realized she was sneaking up on forty and there was no one to share all this blinding greatness with. In a year she managed to get herself fired again (sort of on purpose), dive headfirst into a relationship with a great guy, spend time enjoying herself and finally get married.  I asked her about regrets and she took a moment to think back over her life and finally said “I’m sorry we never got to start that girl band in high school”. Hmmm, okay.

So with all this hoopla over the unhappiness rates for women, I wonder to myself how many gals are satisfied with what life has handed them so far. How many obstacles and what appeared to be insurmountable road blocks have you pole vaulted right over to get and keep what you want? Life doesn’t always turn out the way you thought it would, but sometimes having poor aim isn’t such a bad thing.

Kelly Duffy

http://dufmanno.wordpress.com

Readers, tell us, did you stray from your path in life? Are you happy with how things are going? What did you learn?

So, our brains constantly torture us to the tune of ; I should be spending more time with my kids, cooking healthier meals, calling friends more regularly, returning emails, working harder, going to the gym more often, being nicer to people, coming home earlier from the office, baking more, eating better… Oh the Guilt! Oh the Guilt!

Actually, guilt does serve its purpose on occasion. It sometimes guides us when things go wrong in our lives, when we’re not working hard enough, or when we’ve done something wrong, for example. But us ladies truly take guilt to a whole new level. I would even go so far as to call it our disease.  We suffer from guilt about so many things. Instead of recognizing all the wonderful things we do for those around us, we let the things we CAN’T do completely overtake our mind. This is a sad thing ladies. Sad. But I will tell you, I suffer from this disease as well! And it’s chronic.

I sold my business three years ago to be home with my kids, because I was feeling so guilty leaving them all the time. Now, I feel guilty if I can’t be at all the carpool pickups for my little son. Or I feel guilty if I want to take time alone. I feel guilty if I miss a dinner with the kids due to a school meeting. I feel guilty if I go to the 7:30am kick boxing class. I feel guilty ALL THE TIME. And I don’t know why. After all, I think I’m a pretty good mom, daughter, and wife. I just can’t turn off that guilt switch.

So what is the solution? Many experts say we truly need to put ourselves and our needs first. To take that “Me time.” Haven’t we all heard “The first Love, Self love.” or “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” and “Happiness comes from within. First please yourself, and then you’ll be pleasing to others?”

Well that shit is darn easier said than done!!!

There is such a fine line between pleasing and nurturing ourselves, and being selfish. That’s at least where I and so many of you struggle. If I treat myself to an afternoon alone, am I a bad mother? If I leave the office too early, am I bad employee? If I leave my marriage without trying, did I give up too soon?The list is endless.

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So, what do you do? Guilt can be very paralyzing and destructive. And the thing with guilt, is no one punishes you but yourself! Every woman deserves to be happy, and live their life to its maximum potential.

  • First, accept that you are human, and that you are always acting the best you can, at any given moment. Accept that humans fail and err, and all you can do is your best. Guilt keeps you stuck in the past, and doesn’t let you move forward. Let it go.  You’ll do better the next time.
  • This leads up to; if you made a mistake, learn your lesson and move forward. Learn to be resilient. It’s a process.
  • The “should-haves” cause tremendous guilt. Placing unrealistic expectations on yourself serves you no purpose other than to stress you out. This leads us back to learning to say no a little more, and saying it guilt free.
  • Don’t get sucked in when someone is trying to give you a guilt trip. For example, “Really don’t come if you don’t want to… Isn’t that too expensive for you?… You put your child in daycare after 3 months?… Shouldn’t you be home with your kids now?” Don’t even answer the question or you are being sucked in.
  • Remind yourself of ALL THE GOOD THINGS YOU OFFER TO THIS WORLD. Calm those negative and guilty thoughts. Seriously, the power of positive thinking is an incredible thing. You’re worth it. We’re all worth it. We all deserve a little “me time,” and deserve it guilt free.
  • And finally, stop asking yourselves, “What will the world think of me if I…” Stop caring what others think… you’ll see how much guilt dissipates once you stop caring about how the world views you. I know people who have mastered this art. They don’t give a sh*t what anyone thinks of them! And I tell you, they’re happy! Now, I’m not saying not to care or be accountable to your family and friends, but stop that need for external approval.

And stop living your lives the way OTHERS want or expect you to. And stop feeling guilty that you’re not perfect; my friends, neither are they!! Live your life according to your own values and beliefs. We are on this earth for a short time. Make is great.  Make it count.

xoxEDxox

Any of you have your own tips for calming the guilt in your brains? Share with our readers…

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Good Morning, m’Ladies. I started writing a book a few years ago. I just found it on my computer today and thought I would share the first page with you. The issues are pertinent today, and it’s what some of you have been stuck on the fence about. I owned a good business at the time, but was deciding if I should sell it or not. Obviously you know the outcome, but here is page 1.

Just so you know, I had two titles.

“If you Can’t Take the Heat, Get out of the Kitchen”

Trading it all in for Sanity

or

Knowing when to pull the plug on your career

MY DECISION ON WHETHER TO STAY IN OR GET OUT

And while my life was just too busy at the time to complete it, I thought I’d share.

Page 1:

“So, you’ve finished years of schooling, graduated with top honors, you’re making a nice salary, you have a few beautiful kids, and things couldn’t be better… right? WRONG. You are overworked, overstressed, and are lacking some serious alone time.The “fine balance theory” of women being able to juggle a career, a home, a husband, and happiness is a very ancient concept. However, the issues arising for young working women today couldn’t be more modern.  It is virtually impossible to have a one-income household today. If you want to be able to give your children what your baby-booming parents gave you… private school, camps, cars and comforts, you’d better be working. So, going to work becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. And I don’t mean to afford that bigger house or that fancy car… I mean diapers, formula, nursery, groceries… everyday living expenses.

So, here comes the dilemma. Unless you are a trust fund baby, or your husband is earning big dough, you are faced with what many women are faced with today….the exhaustion and stress that result from trying to achieve that fine balance. But, for some women, that struggle for balance is just too much to bear. In my case, that was just the case. It’s the cost / benefit concept for many women– by working you can afford the nicer things, but your body cannot afford the stress. So, you waver, do I give it all up, or do I hang on and hope things get better? Do I give up time with my children to be able to give them the good life, or do I settle for less knowing it brings sanity?

This book is for those female business owners or high powered career women wondering if it’s all worth it. I have documented the feelings and emotions I have been going through over the past while deciding whether or not to stay in or get out. I am hoping it might help other women realize they are not alone. Actually, when I started the book, the end was undetermined. Do I keep something going that has given me passion, self-confidence, and independence, or do I throw in the towel?….”  END OF PAGE 1.

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And so, for all you women wondering whether or not to throw in the towel on your careers, or even to quit the current job you’re in, it’s a process. Here are some deciding factors which I hope will guide you in the right direction:

1) Your job is making you sick. It’s not worth it to get physically or mentally ill over a job. If you are, you have to put your well-being first.

2) You are being marginalized at the office. Your boss has taken away responsibilities, and you are being treated like an invisible woman. You are no longer invited to meetings, and suddenly find yourself on the “outs.” If this is the case, speak to your boss first, but you may have to catch the hint and take a hike. Your work should be a place where you can grow and flourish. Not a place where your wings are being clipped.

3) You’ve outgrown your job. You may have started as a junior, but have gained all the expertise in your field, maybe more than your job requires now. You are feeling under stimulated and bored. A trip to the water machine for a quick chat is more stimulating than the work at hand. You know it’s time, baby! Be courageous. It takes a true woman to move out of a job that has caused you complacency.

4) You receive a better offer somewhere else. If you have been stuck at the same job, for the same pay for a very long time, and what seems like a great offer is blown your way, CONSIDER IT. But beware, the grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence. And only you know if that salary increase means taking on more responsiblity, which you might not be ready for right now. But, if your skills are being underappreciated where you are, it may be worth an interview.

5) Work is interfering with home life. If you are being forced to travel weeks on end. Night meetings until 10PM. Your daily lunch hour is as long as a pee break. It may be your time. Naturally, if you are single, and this feels ok, then go for it. Reach for the stars. Save up as much as you can before you settle in matrimony bliss, if that’s your long term goal. But if you’re a mom, and you’re not waking up with your kids, or tucking them in at night, it may be time to re-evaluate your priorities. Just a thought.

So, whether you’re a career woman thinking of “throwing in the towel,” as I did, or just want to change jobs, always think it through. It’s a major decision either way. Whatever you decide, I wish you happiness, peace and success in your next endeavor. And remember, a winner is always a winner. Even if it’s covered in an apron and whole wheat flour!

xoxEDxox

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It’s Saturday morning. Right now, as I’m writing, the Wii is going strong in one room, another child  is climbing on me, and my husband is calling out some order down the hallway. And guess what… I just don’t feel like it all today. I just feel like sitting on a secluded beach, aqua blue water, waves crashing, sun shining, sand and ipod, and me, lovely wonderful me, ALONE. Silencio.

Naturally, I don’t feel like this all the time, but I can be honest with you readers, I do feel like this sometimes. This feeling of needing more alone time came when I sold my business and started a new career as a “full-time mom.” That is actually why I started this blog. I know that, for me, I need something to occupy my mind beyond my children.  I need a purpose to my life beyond my wonderful family. I need to use my brain again. It was starting to go soft on me.

But all back to the point of this blog. Experts do say that for a woman to stay mentally happy and healthy, everyone needs personal time– time just for themselves. I know this. If I go too long without a girls night out, a fast getaway with my hubby, or even a long walk alone, I start to LOSE IT! I mean lose it. I do.

And I know I’m not alone, cuz many of you have written in complaining about the lack of personal time. The inability to even go to the bathroom without a little person at your feet. The laundry, the bills, your work, your children, your responsibilities… it all takes its toll, that by the time the kids finally get to bed, who even can appreciate that alone time? You just wanna kerplunk on the floor.

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In fact, in the book I mentioned a few blogs ago, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” Dr. John Gray explains the notion of men needing time in “caves” in order to relax and cope with stress. His explanation of this concept gives all your husbands, fiancés and boyfriends across the world permission to have time alone to decompress after work. Now, while I agree with Gray that men need time to decompress, my argument is that women need it too. Women need “cave” time too. Most women I know would love to hide out in a cave for “me” time, if not just for a little.

I encourage you, if you are one who is desperately craving for alone time, or even if you’re someone who might feel lonely or bored being alone, take the time! While you’re at work, go for a walk alone on your lunch time. If you’re a stay at home mom, read a book on your porch or balcony while your child naps. Turn off you cell phone. Zone out. Be alone. Close your eyes and meditate. Turn off your ringer in your bedroom. Regroup. Rejuvenate. Reenergize. It often doesn’t take much to recharge the battery during the day if you’re feeling depleted.

And ask your husbands after they have had their cave time, to let you take yours. Be it on a Saturday, like right now for me. Or on any other day. In fact, all hell is breaking loose right outside my door, but I’m off duty right now. I have my coffee, the sun is shining in my office, my cozy bathrobe is on, and I’m recharging. Come to think of it, I’m feeling better than when I started the blog entry!

So, take some “me” time when you can.  I’m telling you, you’d be surprised what a little time alone can do for your spirit.

I gotta run now ladies. I think my “me” time is officially over. My husband is calling. So are the kids.

Till next time,

xoxEDxo

ps – How do you escape for some “me” time? Can you suggest some tips for our readers?

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How many of you lay awake at night, tossing and turning, unable to sleep? How many of you flip flop around like a fish out of water, and check that clock… 1:17Am, 3:27Am, 4:49Am, 6:30AM…..BEEP BEEP BEEP. Your alarm is ringing, time to wake up!! I am getting tired just writing about it!

The truth is for many, sleep deprivation is a major issue.  We all know how it feels when you’re lying awake in bed trying to fall asleep, and your mind is racing. Thoughts are coming from everywhere, and although your body is lying quite still, your mind is running an iron man marathon.  It’s almost as if you’re thinking 100 times faster at night than you do during the day.

This is the way it may play out for you. You’re laying in bed, frustrated, forcing your mind to not think. “I just need to get to sleep… If I fall asleep in 10 minutes, I’ll have 4 hours left… I better get to sleep now… Tomorrow I can’t forget to make a haircut appointment for the three kids… I hate my job… How I’m going to tell my girlfriend she disappointed me…” and the list of worries goes on and on. So how do you stop it?

I have to say for me, I thankfully do not suffer from this problem. And, I’m not bragging, cuz I have a list of other wacky things I suffer from… anxiety and neuroses being two of the top ones. But, for some reason, when I actually get into bed and close my eyes, it’s for the night. And unless I’m awoken by a little person living in this house, it’s all pretty good here on my end.

My husband, however, is an entirely different story. I feel terrible for him. He suffers with sleep deprivation a lot of the time. It sort of goes something like this. We get into bed together. Watch a little TV. Maybe a little “you know what.”  We both fall asleep. Starting 1am, he awakes, usually for he night, and starts with the flip flopping. The bed is shaking. He’s moaning and groaning he can’t sleep.  I will not let him watch TV in our room in the middle of the night, as I find it “disruptive.” So he leaves for the den. Is that selfish? Maybe, but I’m a mom, and I need my beauty sleep! Then, we two reunite somewhere around 4am, and our bed really starts hopping at 6:15am, when the 2 hoodlums come and take over. Our day begins.

I love it though. For me, my favorite part the day is when the four of us are snuggling in bed at 6am. This does not bother me one bit. I don’t like it at 5am, but anytime after 6, no problem.

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So, before going over how to calm your mind for a restful sleep, I’m gonna tell you the bad stuff that you probably already know. These awful symptoms of your sleep deprivation. It’s no joke ladies. And it has physical and mental repercussions. Besides the lack of sleep effecting our ability to think, to handle stress, and to maintain a good and healthy immune system, it actually kills! I’m not trying to scare you. Sleep is so important to our overall health, that when a study was conducted on rats in a laboratory,  the lab rats that were denied the chance to rest, died within two to three weeks. Yikes!

More scary statistics; all your lack of shut-eye time can be causing you, depression, heart disease, slurred speech, hypertension, irritability, tremors and slower reaction time. It’s also making you age, ladies.

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Before I cause you to jump off a bridge in panic, here are some useful tips to getting a restful sleep.

  • Try and maintain somewhat of a regular sleep pattern. Our bodies have a natural clock and a regular sleep schedule, so a regular wake time in the morning strengthens the cycle. It helps the onset of sleep at night.
  • Your bed is not an office. The only purpose of bed is for sleep and sex. DON’T use it as a workspace for sorting out your papers and projects. You should get into bed with the feeling of calm and relaxation. Not with a feeling of anxiety.
  • Exercise regularly. But don’t exercise late at night, as it raises your body temperature and makes you more alert.
  • Diet. This is really true. Eating a good diet and drinking plenty of water help regulate your body. Feed it the green leafy stuff, and NO DIET COLAS OR CAFFEINATED TEAS OR COFFEES BEFORE BED…. HELLO! Obviously. I would even hesitate having that decaf cappuccino at a restaurant, as even decaffeinated coffee contains traces of caffeine. Opt for hot water and lemon. It’s an acquired taste!!
  • Try and work out your issues in your head beforehand. Try and make a conscious effort to unplug from your office or what’s consuming your head when you walk in the door. I know this is difficult, I’m not saying it’s a walk in the park. But if there’s still things that worry you, or that you must get done tomorrow, keep  a “worry list” on your nigh table. If you panic, jot those things down. They’re off your mind, and on your worry list waiting for you tomorrow. This really helps.
  • DO NOT WATCH THE CLOCK. A good family friend Ricky told me this 8 years ago. Stop being a compulsive time checker. If I happen to wake, I NEVER look to see what time it is. That’s because, if it’s 4:30am, I simply will not return to sleep. I’ll think “hey, I only have 90 minutes left of sleep, what’s the point of returning.” When in reality, those 90 minutes are crucial.  Every extra ounce of sleep counts. Don’t watch the clock.
  • Get out of bed if you really can’t sleep. Studies do show that if you truly cannot fall asleep, it’s best not to force yourself. According to experts, if you do not fall back asleep in 15-20 minutes, you should get out of bed and go to another room.  Try something relaxing like reading a book or listening to music.
  • And finally, SEX. But that was my husband’s tip. He says it works like a charm.

What sleep tips work for you? Share it with our readers!

And, Happy New Year to all our Jewish readers. May it be filled with health, happiness and lots of good things.

xoxEDxox

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So, I received a call the other day to teach a weekly course (4 hours a week) on entrepreneurship and mentoring… for free.  Everything I do, by the way, be it giving sales and marketing seminars in October, to the stuff I describe below, I do it all for free. Cuz I love it.

The old me;  “Of course I’ll do it.”

The new me, “No thank you. Not right now.”

I always volunteer. I’m a serial volunteer. I do it because this community supported me many years back when I started my own business. And, I truly believe in giving back. I do. I help out whenever I can. I run to a ton of meetings. I mentor a group of individuals each month who are trying to collectively get a business off the ground. I leave my kids at supper time and homework time to do this, because I believe in charity and I love business. I mentor another woman in my community starting an online business. Besides being on the board of director’s for my son’s school, I just started the school’s marketing committee. I love this stuff. I come alive for this stuff. But, becoming a human pretzel is just not where I’m at these days. I have reached my threshold, my saturation point. And I know it. I’m starting to get short-tempered. I’m starting to lose it. We all know our breaking points, or at least we think we do. It’s that last thing we agree to take on, that is going to make us collapse like a house of cards. So, I decided my new motto is, “not right now.” And it’s a skill, I tell you. It doesn’t feel great to say no. Our egos are attached to the yes, and so saying no, and letting go is difficult. It’s definitely a process I’m getting better at.

And when I say, “no thank you right now is, ” it doesn’t mean I won’t be interested in a couple of weeks, months, or next year. It means for today. And when I keep the door open, I feel good about that. I read somewhere once that “SAYING NO TO SOMEONE, IS SAYING YES TO YOURSELF.” Just let that soak in. It’s really true. Saying no to someone else, means saying yes to yourself. It means freeing yourself up to do more of the things you love… read a book, go for a walk, take a painting class. Whatever.

As working women, as single moms, as wives, as friends, we’re asked and pulled every day in a thousand directions.”Do you think you can do my carpool?” or “Do you think you can stay late tonight at the office to get some extra filing done?” and “Do you think you can just drop off my dry cleaning?” I’m not saying we all don’t have responsibilities we are unable to escape in our daily lives. All I’m saying is, if you feel like your plate is full, it ain’t the time to pack more on it. And saying no takes practice. Saying no to friends, no to husbands, no to charities, no to someone asking you for a loan, no to a bothersome person, no to an incredible opportunity because now just may not be the ideal time for you.

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So, if you feel you’re becoming the human pretzel, just a word of advice. (Now I would like to reiterate, I am not saying you should be selfish and never help people out. However, it’s just that many of us are running around stressed out because we’re saying yes to everyone).

  • We have all been turned down in our lives. Johnny couldn’t come to our son’s birthday party, you were denied a favor, someone didn’t reciprocate your crush, it’s a part of life. So, did you die from it? Of course you survived it! Don’t assume you’re going to inflict serious harm by saying no to someone.
  • Learn to accept no from those you love as well. “No’s” are a part of everyone’s life. Take it all in stride. If you do, you’ll be more easily able to say no to others, which means YES to yourself.
  • Stop being a pleaser. Saying no without any guilt is very common, but say it when you need to say it. To your children, to your spouse, to your boyfriend, to your boss. What’s your human pretzel threshold? Are you there yet?
  • Don’t instinctively say yes. Think it out first. It’s okay to not answer on the spot. How about something like, “can I think it over and get back to you?” If anything, you sound mature, professional, and if it really ends up being no, the “no” will sound like a better no. And may I also note, you don’t have to be rude when you say no either. You should say it politely, thank you very much!
  • Saying no truly does come with confidence. The more confident you are in your abilities, the easier time you will have to say no to people. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
  • And finally, if you do say yes, and then you feel resentment, it means you SHOULD HAVE SAID NO!

So, say NO, and let it be guilt free… except in sex… I say “go for it!”

Oh ya, and by the way, I’m not a night person. So, if the new blogs are not posted at night for early morning viewing, please cut me some slack. I’m learning to say no. Postings will be every day to every second day. I’m aiming for daily! I thank you kindly for reading. I’m writing for you!

xoxEDxox

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For those of you who are not big tennis fans, you don’t have to be to appreciate this story. Kim Clijsters, formerly the number one ranked tennis player in the world, had retired. For two years she left professional tennis, the game she loved, the vehicle of her income, to get married and have her daughter, Jada. How many of us can relate to that joyful feeling of maternity leave, only to reemerge back into the work force, dazed and confused. You come back like a rusty nail, worrying how your new child is fairing in daycare, or at home while you’re off trying to prove yourself to the world again.

“I didn’t understand fully how tricky retirement would be. Every athlete will tell you, when they stop at a young age it is tough to find the kind of fulfilment you want. Some need to come out of retirement to find it, people get bored, they want to play at the level they once enjoyed – but that wasn’t me. I was never in it for the money, or the limelight. I played to win.” Pete Sampras.

Pete Sampras was 31 when he retired, with 14 Grand Slam titles to his name and nothing left to prove. Kim Clijsters is 25 and proving her comeback after her two-year retirement.

Lots of people counted her out. When I heard she was playing Venus Williams, I thought like many others… no chance.  I watched an incredible match. “I’m not even going to tell you what was going on in my mind,” Clijsters said. “I was shaking.” Still, she broke Venus down. The new mom. The rusty nail broke No. 3 in the world.

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Then, after one of the biggest controversial matches in women’s tennis history, against a completely outraged Serena Williams, she reigned again. To keep you in the loop, in case you hadn’t seen or heard what transpired, Clijsters was just two points from victory when Serena was called for a foot fault on her second serve, which gave Clijsters match point in the process. Serena then proceeded to the line judge to argue the claim, where she yelled something to the note of  ““I’d take this f–king ball and shove it down your f–king throat,” which then of course led to a code violation for her misconduct.

But last night was truly triumphant. All her preparing had paid off again. The doubt she had probably felt heading back to the gym to train, back to the courts to prepare for her comeback, had all disappeared last night. The fear of having to prove herself and make her way back to the top of the rankings vanished last night when she beat Caroline Wozniacki and claimed the title of 2009 US Open Tennis Champion. She had overcome. She reemerged as a force to be reckoned with. And for that, I respect her. I’m always a cheerer of the underdog. All those naysayers that said once she had left the game and would never be able to return, have been proven wrong. And with this, I kinda chuckle. I root for women like this. I cheer for women like this.

That’s why this story touched home for me. I too left the workforce for three years to raise my family. I have been on the fence about whether or not to return. What to do. It’s not easy to re-emerge and reinvent yourself. Our priorities somehow shift after that first baby is pushed out of our wombs. And I don’t think we ever truly go back. I’m not saying we don’t reemerge strong and fighting, I’m just saying kids change us. The daily grind of life, but even more so, life with kids somehow cuts away our edginess. At least it did mine, and I was pretty edgy. The guilt, the phone calls to pick your child up at school, that she has fever, that she just barfed all over the kids in her class, that she just bit two kids in daycare… this all takes its toll on our ability to function as multi-taskers. I’m going to leave it at this, as I feel this is a whole other topic I will get into another day. The impossible juggle and balance of home and work.

So the picture at the very top of Clijsters is what truly brings tears to my eyes. Trophy in one hand, young daughter in the other. A picture which slightly resembles “a woman having it all.” What a moment. Kim Clijsters is not only the 2009 US Open Tennis Champion, she is every woman’s champion! And, in the words of my father, “one classy broad!”

xoxEDxox

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