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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

biz momagement book business entrepreneur goals mompreneur working mom Sep 12, 2022

Remember when you were a kid and you'd get the question,

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Like many kids, I definitely changed my mind once, twice, thrice, ok maybe 100 times. Now that I'm older (and wiser), I think while that question is great to get kids thinking about their future and goals, it also creates labels and constrictions--two things I really dislike. In fact, when I started blogging back in 2016, my first ever post was entitled, "Don't label me" aka, don't put me in a box of what you think I am because I am SO MUCH MORE. 

If you're reading this, chances are you are also multi-passionate. You feel called to do more than one thing. It excites you to have diversity in your work, hobbies, interests, whatever makes up your life. It's why you're a mom and a professional. It's why you might also be juggling or thinking about juggling a side hustle. It's why when people ask me what I do, to this day, I have a hard time answering because, well, I do a lot of things. I coach, I write, I speak, I create, I consult, I mom, I wife, I bake, I cook, I even sometimes have my shit together and create cute, themed birthday parties. 

And, like most kids and likely you, I changed my mind A LOT when I was deciding what I wanted to be when I grew up, even in college, even after college, even now, I'm always evolving. I hope you are too.

In fact, years ago, I even contemplated becoming a fashion designer. I actually wrote about it in my new book, Biz MOMagement: The Working Mom's Guide to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur. Here's a short story I share about that journey and how my parents' opinion mattered so much to me (even though I didn't think it did) when I decided to ultimately quit my successful corporate career. 

I know this sounds weird, but even as a grown woman, your parents’ opinion likely still matters to you. I have two very different parents. My mom would probably sell everything she owns if I told her I needed a million dollars to buy a cigar shop in Cuba because it was my dream to live in Havana. She supports anything and everything I want to do.

As a multi-passionate individual, I can tell you my ideas of what I have wanted to do with my life have changed drastically over the years. At 21, I was obsessed with the show Project Runway and thought I wanted to become a fashion designer. I was ready to apply for The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and pursue a whole new degree in Fashion Design after earning my dual bachelor’s degree, when part of the application process involved creating an original piece of clothing to present. I found a pattern of a skirt and some fabric I thought would be awesome to work with. One major problem: I couldn’t sew.

My grandma had been a professional seamstress, yet I literally had no idea how to stitch anything and was so impatient in front of that machine that I would have rather died than sew that skirt. My mom offered to do that part because she saw how passionate I was about the creativity and design behind my project. She sewed the skirt just as the pattern had said. When it was done, it was the ugliest skirt I’d ever seen. I wouldn’t have worn it, and I’m pretty sure no one would have, even if they got it from a donation bin, even if it had a Dolce & Gabbana label on it. Let me clarify, it wasn’t ugly because my mom had done a bad job sewing. It was ugly because I designed an ugly skirt. Needless to say, my life ended up taking a turn for the better as I contemplated my next steps and decided a master’s degree in teaching might be more of what I wanted. Plus, I would have had to learn to sew and sew a lot if I went to fashion school, and that wasn’t for me.

My dad, the immigrant parent, had a very different belief system in careers. His advice? Choose something stable, that pays well, where you don’t need to work that hard. Or if you do need to work hard, you better get paid damn well for it. Unpaid internships were a foreign concept to him. Why would you ever work for nothing when you could go wait tables at a restaurant for six hours and come home with a few hundred dollars in your pocket?

And, why would you leave a stable paycheck or career for one that you couldn’t depend on, making only a fraction of that to start? This was the parent I dreaded telling I had quit my job. This was the parent I didn’t tell until after the fact because I was scared his opinion would sway me—smack me across the head and bring me back to a practical reality of stable paycheck, stable job, good title, paid time off.

I remember my heart racing the day after I had quit my job, equally as nervous to tell my dad what I’d done than the conversation I’d had the day before of announcing my resignation to my manager. I hadn’t felt any regret about my decision. Would that change with this conversation? Would he snap some sense back into my crazy self? It had taken months of agony to convince myself I could do this, and now I felt I had to convince him too.

In the end, my dad understood. I was either very convincing in that conversation or he wasn’t about to argue with a 37-year-old mom of four who had just done something nuts in his mind because you don’t argue with crazy. Either way, having that “approval” felt like I’d finally been able to drop a 50-pound weight I’d been hauling around with me for the past, I don’t know, lifetime? Having that approval felt like something I’d needed, but never actually recognized I did.

As you likely know by now, parents aren’t always right. And while their approval can still feel good, even at nearly 40 years old, it may not ever happen. I got lucky in this example. Some people might not have that type of result or even opportunity if their parents are gone. This isn’t meant to make you feel like you must be on the nice list in your parents’ eyes with your decisions. This is a personal, eye-opening experience I encountered that may make you think about an invisible weight you’re carrying around. If that weight has something to do with your parents’ approval, remember you can drop it anytime you want. You don’t need to carry it around with you. There are lots of highly qualified therapists out there who can help you do that if this is something holding you back in pursuing your dreams or living your best life.

To read more highly personal and vulnerable stories about me and also get awesome advice about ditching your 9-5 to follow your entrepreneurial dreams, be sure to pre-order a copy of my newest book: Biz MOMagement: The Working Mom's Guide to Go From Employee to Entrepreneur (release date 10.6.22). 

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