From Corporate America to Homemaker and Business Owner — Transformative and Liberating Womanhood
I often wish that I could travel back in time and ask myself some serious questions. I think I already know how those conversations would unravel. More so than asking questions, I wish that I could go back and just have very frank conversations with the old me. I wish I had an opportunity to keep it real with myself, since clearly everyone else in my immediate circle was either too ashamed or unaware themselves to speak up. I could have saved myself a lot of confusion, frustration, time, all-nighters, soul-searching, and debt. The transformation I have experienced the past 4 years is truly beyond anything that I could possibly summarize in this article, but I have given it my very best shot.
I recently turned 26 years old. I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Biology a mere 4 years ago. All throughout high school and college, I longed for what many millennial women have been conditioned to believe leads to happiness and overall good old American excellence for the “modern woman” — a high GPA, college degree, killer interviewing skills leading to a job in my field, and a high salary.
Then, something happened that I did not expect to happen so fast — I met the love of my life, my soulmate, shortly after graduating. A year later we got married, and about 9 months later I became pregnant. Thus, my journey into holistic womanhood and radical thought began.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would WILLINGLY choose to be a stay-at-home mom. The issue is that like many of my peers, I had been conditioned via corporate feminism to believe that this role was outdated, sexist, problematic, unfulfilling, no longer relevant, and a sign of weakness. I was robbed of getting an early education on the pure strength, importance, and potential significance of this role — not only for myself and my family, but for my community at-large.
I had been conditioned by the capitalistic system that values clocking in over the health, safety, and development of its next generation. I was conditioned by a system that shames women and their bodies upon entering motherhood. The system that applauds job promotions over mental health, strong immune systems, good nutrition, high self-esteem, and spiritual growth. Yup, that system.
I had a well-paying job in healthcare HR prior to giving birth to my daughter. I THOUGHT I was going to be going back to work after my 8 weeks of paid leave. I quickly realized how very crucial it was that I decide against that. My daughter clearly needed me from a bonding and nurturing viewpoint. In addition, I hit 6 weeks postpartum and had a total emotional breakdown complete with tears as I was on my laptop going through work e-mails while I prepared for my return. My boobs were still leaking milk everywhere because my milk supply/demand hadn’t balanced out yet. My hormones were still trying to balance, and my nutritional stores were still being built back up. I was still healing, and sex was not 100% back to normal yet. At this point I could make this piece all about the lack of postpartum villages and dehumanizing parental leave policies in America, but there is already plenty of information available on those topics.
You see, it is nearly impossible in our culture to understand the enormity of what it truly means to become a Mother prior to actually doing so. It is an entirely new world, and it is not just the baby who is born in that moment — the woman herself is re-born again as well, marking the transition from Maiden to Matriarch. Our society’s individualist structure does not adequately expose us to the reality of birth and child-rearing as do many other cultures.
What’s even more absurd is how we are expected to sign ourselves into thousands of dollars of debt and choose a “major”/life track for the rest of our lives at the tender age of 18. You know, that age where the majority of us just completed our mind-numbing, one-size-fits-all, miseducation/indoctrination training (public school) where we had very little to no say in the material we had to partake in. The one that emphasizes test scores over original thought. The one that distorts, whitewashes, and erases/ignores historical atrocities and shoves these biases down our throat and into our subconscious. The one that praises logic and demonizes creativity, and where we are taught to conform rather than to question.
I now understand how the world works, especially for women and particularly as a Black woman. Had I known even 5% of what I understand now — I would have made some VERY different decisions. I would have invested a lot more in myself and my interests/skills than I did in my college debt, resume writing, and interviewing skills. I would have learned about the realities of motherhood sooner. I wish I would have challenged myself to think beyond individualism; beyond thinking that professional success is of central importance to my existence; and beyond the enamored image of climbing the corporate ladder — an image that has been pushed down the throat of so many of us.
It is amazing to see that so many other women are starting to speak out against this issue, and make decisions that work better for them and their families. Women are realizing that more often than not, this standard American work structure is not working for our bodies and our children. It isn’t working for our work/life balance or our natural postpartum biology. It isn’t working for breastfeeding, or for keeping our children and ourselves healthy. Our rates of postpartum depression also show that it isn’t working. Sorry mainstream feminists — but this is the truth of it.
I am now teaching childbirth classes, writing, and building my brand and businesses from the ground up at home while still being able to be there for my daughter full-time. I do this work blissfully and passionately while she is sleeping. When it comes down to it, I personally refuse to let my enemy (the capitalist, individualist system), strangers, and the public daycare system raise my child if I can find ways to make ends meet otherwise.
I’m not working for someone else all day while they make a fortune and I make pennies in comparison. I’m not dragging my breast pump with me to work. I’m not leaving my baby or my house all day when they clearly need me. I’m not stressing over paid time off and deadlines if my child is sick and needs my full-time care and attention. I’m not staying late at the office to catch up on work when I should be at home preparing for dinner with my family.
This lifestyle is not perfect by any means — but it is beyond worth it. It requires a lot of budgeting, patience, and accountability. Even on the days where it’s hard, I will always be grateful for leaving corporate America behind. I am needed and celebrated at HOME. My husband, my baby, and my pregnant clients need me there too.