It’s All About Choice

by

In my late 20s, I surprised myself when I discovered that I most definitely wanted to be a mom. When my husband and I decided to have children, I was clear that my career would remain at the forefront.

Mom holding smiling baby

When I walked into the room for the final presentation of my doctoral research, I looked around at the faculty who held so much power. Only two people were smiling, and they were women. The committee asked me why I had chosen simply to meet the university requirements for my research when I could have gotten an extension and developed it further. One said, “Lisa, this is so unlike you. I am disappointed you didn’t do more.” The committee pushed as they asked about my next steps for my research. I took a deep breath and asked, “Would it be possible to discuss this after you decide if I pass?” Shockingly, they said yes. As is customary I left the room so they could decide if I’d passed or not.

When I went back into the room, the committee briefly congratulated me for passing and asked again why I hadn’t done more than what was required. I responded, “I am pregnant, and I decided I am going to stay home with my baby for at least a year.” I heard a gasping sound and looked around the room again. There was only one woman smiling now. The conversation continued with well-intentioned warnings about how if I stayed home with my baby, I would not publish. And if I didn’t publish, I would never become a tenure track professor. I was beaming about the pregnancy and yet the tone was far from celebratory.  

That one year of staying at home with my first child turned into twenty years of fitting my career around my children’s needs and schedules. The committee was right — I never did publish. The committee was also wrong. Women should not have to choose between their career goals and mothering, but the fact is we do. I have never regretted my choice for a second.

I am not sharing my story to argue that my path is THE path to take but to suggest that there is NO right path for all women to take. Have children or don’t. Work full time and have your children in daycare or stay at home. Make choices that fit you. 

IGNITE was born from my desire to take all of what I know personally and professionally to help women define their goals so that they can live their lives on their own terms. Please look through the services I offer to see how I might best help you in your journey!