I had to turn it down. A media trip that I would have moved mountains to go on. The interview with the A-list star, the trip to my favorite city in the world, the opportunity that would make me the envy of coworkers and the pride of my friends. But I couldn’t make it work.
Gone are the days of having another adult in the house to rely on so that I can explore my entrepreneurial dreams. Now I am faced with coordinating out of sync schedules, dealing with the pain in the ass “my life is more important than yours” lecture and the uncertainty that a commitment to help may go away a matter of hours before I board the plane. I am a single mom and beyond thrilled to be one. But I often wonder if being a single mother is hampering my success.
This is not the first time I’ve had to turn an opportunity down because I had no help with the kids. It’s gotten to where I’ve simply stopped asking. Single moms, by definition, are single. So anything we do — whether it be traveling for work or going out with friends to dinner — takes coordination. Sitters, ex-husbands, parents and friends are all on the list of who to call. But after the second or third call, the desire to drop everything so that I can grow my business becomes a little stale. Add to that my guilt of even asking and I am at the point where I just don’t ask anymore.
I was bitter about this for a while. I can admit it. I wanted it all. I wanted to be single, away from the shackles of a loveless, toxic marriage, raising my children the way I saw fit, growing a business to it’s ultimate success. But along the way I’ve learned that I can’t have it all. Something has to give. So I’ve chosen to let my business be just OK for now. But it bothers me. Because I am told that I can have it all. I have been told many times that my only hold up is me. That there is always a way.
I can finally admit that, after three years of trying to say yes and saying no, I — personally — can’t have it all. I can’t go on the media trips, the evening dinners with brands, the special vacations that leave my kids out or blogger conferences that land on the days that I have my kids. I have children and I am the sole parent to them 80 percent of the year. So, they come first and I am OK with that. I really am. They are amazing kids and I am extremely blessed to have them.
But I am also an ambitious, curious girl who would love to say yes to everything, take all the opportunities offered and be one of the “big bloggers” who can get it all done and done well. For now though, I think I have done what most single moms do. Realized that my kids are only here for a little while for me to raise. Once they hit those years where mom is not needed as much, I can turn the attention back to myself and growing my business to what I yearn for it. And to be honest, my business is doing what it needs to do now. It is supporting me and my kids in a lifestyle that we all love.
So in the end, maybe single motherhood is hampering my take-over-the-world success. Or maybe it is simply putting it on hold for now. But if saying no to an opportunity that could catapult me to the next level means that I have to sacrifice my kids, then the answer will always be “no.” And I am totally OK with that!