A convoluted path.

After the Daily Mail article yesterday and some of the comments made I was struck by how many people assumed that any woman who blogs is a stay at home mom spending all her Husband’s hard earned cash.  The comments were obviously made by people who didn’t read the article in detail as Beth was a lawyer and now works as a stylist, and Avril used to work in banking so earned her own money – and I’m sure she’ll be earning more of her own money given her business savvy and the success of her blog.  More to the point though why is staying at home seen as being less of a commitment than working out of the house?  The time I have spent at home during my maternity leaves has only demonstrated to me that staying at home is the hardest job in the world and not one for me.  Working is easy in comparison.

These days I am lucky – I really feel I have struck the balance between time at home and time working.  I spent years trying to climb the corporate ladder and as the offices got bigger and the titles got grander neither the compensation nor the satisfaction increased proportionally.  “More responsibility and time in the office please, but you’re only going to get a small bump in pay as you were already being paid a lot.”  What???  No thanks.

The key thing I learned during my PhD was that I no longer wanted to work in a laboratory or academia.  I yearned for the ‘glamour’ of travel and business meetings.  In 1997 I started work as an IT Consultant for PwC.  I loved it – we were all new graduates embarking on our first ‘proper’ jobs.  We had money at last and 20 of us spent about 12 weeks together on a coding crash course – it was like being a student again but I was actually getting paid!  Of course there was no glamour involved whatsoever.  We sat in our office in London Bridge waiting to be assigned a project, bored then deflated that we’d be working around the corner in Holborn, not Barcelona.  I soon realized though that being London based was quite exciting and I loved the thrill of being in the City.  I jumped ship and went to work as a Business Analyst at an investment bank.  It opened a world of opportunity to me – one I never knew existed.  For a while I felt like a fish out of water surrounded by spread collars, Windsor knots and cufflinks but I soon found my bearings.  I would have stayed there – I had good friends and I was having fun – but MM came home one day and told me we had the chance to move to Atlanta.  Of course I was going to go – but I wanted to work too which back then meant that I needed a job that would provide me with a visa – so off I went back to PwC.  I was taking the risk that as a global company they would transfer me to Atlanta – and they did.

Moving here was far more of a culture shock than I ever imagined.  My first project was in Manchester, New Hampshire so every Monday I was commuting via a 4 hour flight.  I hated it.  I hated the travel and the work culture was far more disciplined than I had experienced in the past.  Plus everyone seemed to have an MBA – my PhD suddenly meant nothing.  After getting out and starting my MBA I knew I had to get out of IT all together – jobs were plentiful and it paid well but it just wasn’t for me.  My MBA allowed me to make a career change into strategy and marketing but it seemed that with every job I started something happened – Mirant went bankrupt and then at The Home Depot the VP who hired me left and the team was dissolved.  I soon became disillusioned with corporate America.  I contracted for a while as a consultant which was fabulous especially while I had my daughter – I relished the flexibility.  After a while though my ambition drew me back to a corporate career and I worked in brand management for IHG.  It was brilliant working for a British company over here.  Everything suddenly seemed more comfortable and more familiar and for the first time ‘the World’ was not the 50 States, and my accent was just one of many European accents.  As with all companies though changes came and I was struggling with the fact that my children were getting older – I wanted to be around them more instead of dropping them at daycare from 8 till 6 every day.  Fortunately MM’s business was going from strength to strength and, as reluctant as we were to put all our eggs in one basket, I quit IHG to work with him almost 2 and a half years ago.

Yes it’s a bit weird sometimes being in the office with MM – I felt like an intruder to begin with – but we keep out of each others way.  I can now work four days a week and be home for 3pm when my daughter gets off the school bus and best of all Friday is My Day!  It took a few risks and a convoluted path to get here but I have reached my personal utopia when it comes to work/life balance.

So in general many of us bloggers have lots of other stuff going on too.  Blogging in many cases is something we make time to do because we enjoy it – just like going for a run or watching a football game.  Many of us started it with no expectations and so like me we are thrilled and a little overwhelmed with the great positive feedback and comments we receive.  I am very happy if I can distract you for 10 minutes or so everyday with my little post and outfit of the day.  Thank you xx

Today I had to dash to the dentist with my daughter before work so threw on my Hudsons and this cute top from J.Crew from a couple of years ago.  The shoes are Sam Edleman from Zappos.com. The black beaded bracelets are H&M and the earrings were dirt cheap from Target.  (Sorry for the poor quality it was dark at 7am!)

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11 Comments

  1. I think you’ve really explained a lot here… as bloggers, we are only known for what we put within the blog. I don’t think you owed anyone an explanation, but if you had any detractors, maybe it made them feel better?

    My mom had stints as both a “work outside the home, 40 hours+ a week” and a “stay at home mom,” even a “work at home mom” when she started teaching piano when I was a teenager. She always said the stay at home job was the most difficult.

    I think we are all carving out our paths and doing the best we can. Thanks for sharing your journey.

    • Thanks Anne! I wasn’t really trying to put the record straight but it did become apparent that we’re just a bunch of words pictures sometimes so it’s quite nice to share background – also I like putting some of my history down in words too – it puts things into context for me!

      I’m probably not done yet – someone once told me we have at least 5 different ‘job descriptions’ in our lives…

  2. Wow – you’ve been a busy girl. I love hearing about what all my mum friends did before kids…it’s always so interesting and often never what you expected!
    Yes, staying at home is difficult and blogging is a lovely way to steal some me-time when the kids are sleeping or at playgroup. Certainly beats hoovering! But work does have to come into the picture…I’ve got something (non blog related) in the pipeline starting this month as the twins are in nursery from Sept and I can’t SAH any more from then…boo 🙁
    You look lovely today – I adore that top! Have a great day Joanna x

    • How exciting for you – I remember being SO ready to go back to work after having Hugh, though now I really enjoy not having the constraints of a 9-5 office job.

  3. I remember that J. Crew top. One of my favorites!

    This is a great post! I was talking with a friend recently and she was saying the same thing. People don’t realize that blogging is work even though it’s fun and they assume I’m just sitting back spending hubby’s money. So many of the people I follow are smart and educated and for me and my husband and I decided I’d stay home because it was better for our family (if I had gone returned to teaching my entire salary would have gone to daycare). Blogging has opened up a world of new opportunities for me as a stay at home mom and I hope to develop it into a new career. I don’t think there’s anything convoluted about that. It’s actually more like an evolution.

    Maybe some of our critics should try evolving as well :)!

    • I love that – it’s definitely an evolution – I sometimes wonder what I will end up doing later in life! Maybe just sipping rosé by the Mediterranean – and that would be fine too:)

  4. I read the Daily Mail comments & it was obvious many of them hadn’t bothered to read the whole article! I can’t believe some of the nasty comments, perhaps I am naive? Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog & Beth’s and will now be checking out the others mentioned in the article. Good luck with your blogging!

    p.s. you look great as usual!

    • Hi Claire! All the other blogs are great – I only became aware of a couple of them after the article but SchoolGateStyle is one of my favorites – it makes me excited to go shopping back in England!

      How short is your hair now and how is the color introduction going in your closet?:)

      • My hair is similar to how yours used to be but I’m having the full pixie crop next time I go to the hairdressers.

        I’m wearing a lot more colourful pieces than I used to and have been living in my cyclamen skinny jeans from Boden! The weather is awful over here at the moment, my little girl had to wear a woolly hat & ear muffs for a walk on Monday! Can’t wait for it to warm up as I have lots of colourful summer outfits waiting to be worn.

      • Oooooh can’t wait to see you new do! I bet the jeans look fab – I looked at them and now they’re all sold out!

  5. I know so many people who write blogs, to stereotype any of them is just ridiculous. A recent injury, followed by surgery, followed by complications to said surgery has brought me to blogging as a hobby and as “therapy” in place of the running that I am not able to do until I heal. I have a job, and don’t have kids, so I definitely do not fit the “stay at home mom” category.

    P.S. You have fabulous fashion sense!

I love hearing your thoughts and I will reply as soon as I can if you have a specific question! If you prefer email you can contact me at Joanna@Poppys-Style.com. Thanks for taking the time to comment xx