This weekend my littlest one Naomi turned a year old. And what a glorious year it was.
Today marks the beginning of her second year, and the end of my maternity leave.
So at this very moment I should be packing my lunch and making my first drive back to my full-time job at Microsoft. I should be jumping back into my Corporate Marketing shoes, ready to propel my career forward at one of the best companies in the world. A place I’ve worked and loved for the past 7 years. I should also be kissing my two girls goodbye, then saying hello again to my team at Microsoft Canada.
But today I’m not doing any of those things I thought I would.
While I was off this year raising my second daughter, Naomi, something unexpected happened. I may have been sleep deprived and sick of diapers, but I met the happiest woman I’ve ever known.
Not only did I have a baby who quite possibly was the happiest (and easiest) child ever born. She was also the best sleeper.
During those marathon naps, I had the chance to dabble in my other love, nutritional consulting. Despite earning my Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP) designation a few years ago, and my passion for helping people become healthier and happier, nutrition was merely a neglected passion project.
It was also a tool that did wonders for my first daughter Sienna (who was underweight, developmentally delayed and a horrible eater). It also did amazing things for myself (knowing that I had to take care of me in order to take care of Sienna).
Three years ago, my first daughter Sienna was born. She was (and still is of course) a special little girl who encountered more challenges then some people do in their entire life. It was a long and dark year; no matter how hard I tried, the light at the end of the tunnel was distant. Happiness seemed unattainable.
Three years later, happiness is all I know. Sienna is everything I never expected she would be – on par developmentally, eating well, growing within her potential, and happy.
I wish I knew then, what I know now.
I wish I had someone to tell me it was going to be OK, and show me the way.
I didn’t want other moms to feel as alone as I did a few years ago. I want them to know the light at the end of the tunnel is closer than they think.
As other moms heard our story, the phone started ringing. I’ve since been helping other children and ‘picky eaters’ thrive. And ultimately helping their emotionally exhausted moms feel energized and alive.
It was a great year. The best year.
Being able to dabble in nutrition, support other moms like the ‘old me’, and spend quality time with my girls. For the first time in my life I felt fulfilled. I had truly achieved a ‘balance’ that many strive for. I was doing something I love, while spending more time with my loves.
Isn’t that our goal in life?
So as the end of mat leave neared, I had to make an unexpected and incredibly tough decision.
Do I go back and give my time to a company that has given me so much?
Or do I walk away from the only life I’ve know – the 6-figure salary, comfortable lifestyle – to create a new life full of unknowns?
After many conversations with my amazingly supportive husband and internal debates with myself, my decision was made.
I chose risky, unpredictable, and scary as hell.
More importantly, I chose love, passion and no regrets.
As my husband put it so perfectly the night we decided: “No one ever regretted doing what they love”. That’s when I cried, and then I called Microsoft to say thank you for 7 great years.
But as someone else once said…
Today I will be the type of person I would like my children to become.
That person is someone who follows their dreams, no matter how unachievable they seem. Someone who puts love and happiness first and doesn’t fear failure.
I can’t be sure what this year will bring. Or the next. But at least I (and my girls) will know I tried to do what I love. Just as I want them to do one day too.
CREDIT is owed to:
- Your Shop Girl – Thanks for showing me how to be comfortable and colourful at the same time.
- Nikki Leigh McKean – Thank you for working your magic behind the camera and in the kitchen with 2 crazy toddlers.
- Binns Kitchen + Bath – Thank you for making beautiful kitchens and the perfect space to shoot our family.
- My husband, Keith – Thank you for letting me take you down this crazy path and for being my biggest cheerleader. I wouldn’t and couldn’t do it without you.
- My Father, Dino – Thank you for quitting your job at the age of 38 (coincidence?) and showing me that you CAN find love in your day job.
- My Mom, Lucy – Thank you for always being the first person to step up and step in to help when motherhood was kicking me in the butt. I couldn’t have made it through without you.
What a beautiful message of optimism! I can totally relate to your internal struggle and risk! We’re part of the same club! Women who take control of their own lives and the health of their family, while leaving stable careers, salaries and benefits! Crazy? No! You put it best Danielle, HAPPY!
From my Kitchen to Yours,
Thank you Kristine! There were many dark days a few years ago, so we had to try really hard to see the bright side when things were looking bleak. Today it’s a little easier knowing that it could always be worse. Really appreciate your note:)