Let’s stop calling it a career gap. And don’t ever call my children career-enders! Taking time to raise a healthy family should be one of the proudest accomplishments of anyone’s life. It is for me. Not only should parents — and employers! — be proud that people make the decision to prioritize family, they should revel in all they’ve learned and accomplished in the time spent raising the next generation of curious minds.
I made a big mistake when I left my career. Putting my career on pause wasn’t my mistake – far from it. The mistake I made was thinking everyone would champion my choice to stay at home while my children were young.
I remember one of the first times I revealed my plans to leave CNN to another working mom.
“We’ll see how long that lasts?” she chortled, “I give it six months.”
I played along and smiled back, giving her the knowing look of a mom who’d rather put on a pantsuit than change a poopy diaper. But deep down, I hurt. Her six-month deadline rattled my confidence, reminding me of my first maternity leave and the pressure I felt to return to work and act as if nothing had happened.