You’ve got to prioritize. We sometimes allow everybody to just drain us, and it’s not healthy for us or anybody else because it’ll burn us out. I think the key is just finding space for yourself, to be able to reset.
Mom guilt is a real thing. It is so severe sometimes, and it took me way too long to start getting rid of that guilt. It wasn’t doing any good. I mean, I was designing and building systems for millions of people around the world and creating positive change. At times, that meant I needed to take a 20-minute call, and my son would be screaming outside my door for a little while, and that was OK. Once I was done, I’d go snuggle with him, he would be content and life would move on.
We hear it a lot when our Tech-Moms students get up and do their presentations. They feel so guilty for taking time to study. Why? Why do we do that to ourselves? It’s OK to invest in ourselves and our careers. Sometimes work comes first.
I look back, and my son is now 20. He enlisted in the Marines, and he will graduate from Camp Pendleton on his 21st birthday this coming January. I wish I would have known back then when I was thinking, “Oh, I’m not doing enough. I’m not there enough. I need to be there 100% of the time,” that it’s just not true. There are things he’s learned from my working example that are enabling him now.