How to Handle it All
When I was 20-years old, I got pregnant with my first son. I know that many women picture their futures including a husband, kids, and the house with the white picket fence, but for me, this was not the case. At 20, all I wanted to do was live my life and be free to do so. When I found out that I was pregnant, I actually went to the doctor for a completely unrelated reason, so shocked would be an understatement. And then, they had the nerve to tell me that there was a possibility that it could be twins!
I remember walking out of the doctor’s office like it was yesterday. My head was in a fog. I wasn’t happy or sad, but tears quickly fell down my face because I knew that I was going to have to tell my mom. At this time, I was a college student still living at home, and my mama didn’t play that. Being that she had her first child at the age of 16, and my oldest sister had hers at 18, I knew that she wanted something different for me. I was supposed to be the exception, but I felt like I was letting her down by keeping the tradition going. Although I was in school, I didn’t have any of the resources needed to take care of a baby. How was I expected to be somebody’s mother?
I sat in my car for like 20-minutes before slowly dialing my mom’s work number. I figured that she couldn’t act an ass at work, and to my surprise, she was actually happy about the news, confused but happy. Without even having to ask, she told me that she was going to be there for me no matter what, and I knew she meant it. I had never felt so loved and supported by my mother than I did that day.
One down, one to go. I knew that next it was time to tell my boyfriend that he was going to be a father. We hadn’t been on the best of terms, so I wasn’t too convinced that me being pregnant was going to make much of a difference. After I told him, he seemed okay with it, but what he said next caught me completely off guard.
“Either we’re going to get married, get a place, and raise this baby together, or I’m not going to be there at all.”
A few months before finding out that I was pregnant with my son, my father passed away at the age of 46 from cancer. It was expected but unexpected at the same time. I loved my dad so much, so I took his death pretty hard. As anyone would, I expected my boyfriend to be there for me in my time of need, but that was not the case. Because of this, I began to question why I was even in the relationship to begin with, so when he hit me with this ultimatum, I called his bluff and ended our relationship. I knew that we were done, but I never expected him to turn his back on his child. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he did. This caused me to have to muster up strength that I never knew I had. My siblings and I had a really rough childhood, and I didn’t want my son to have to experience anything even close to that despite what me and his father were going through.
After my son was born, he became my inspiration for everything. In 2011 when he was only 2-years old, I graduated from Sacramento State University with my Bachelor’s Degree in English Studies, and I had just completed my first book “Counterfeit Dreams”. I felt like I was on top of the world, and I owe a lot of that to my now husband Ian. He came into my life at a time when I wasn’t even looking for a relationship. I was just concerned with being the best mother I could be, but he was a blessing in disguise. Immediately, he took on the role as a father to my son and supported me in everything I wanted to do. By the end of 2011, we decided to move away from my hometown of Sacramento, CA and move to the Bay Area. When I was really young, I actually lived in San Francisco, but being back in that area again as an adult was a whole new ballgame. Looking back on it, I was able to draw a lot of inspiration from the change, which allowed me to self-publish “Counterfeit Dreams” in the beginning of 2012.
After releasing my first book, I caught the writing bug! Writing was all I ever thought about, and I knew that I wanted to take my career to the next level, which was not easy at all. Needing the money to fund my dream of becoming a successful author, I worked on-call at Kaiser Permanente in the Admitting Department for 2 ½ years. I worked all shifts but mostly the graveyard shift because, of course, that was the one nobody wanted. From 10 p.m. – 6:30 a.m., I was on the clock. This was so hard for me because I had to be away from my family so much, and even when I was home, I was dead to the world. Despite all of the inconveniences, I decided to use my time away from them wisely. When I was at work, all did was write, write, write! I knew that one day it would pay off and that my family would be in a better position because of it, but that didn’t mean that life stopped. When I wasn’t at work, I still had to be a mommy, a partner, and a business woman. It seemed like my days never ended.
In 2015, tired of being signed with others, I decided to branch out on my own, and as a result, Black Eden Publications was born. Being an author, I knew that I was the only one who would be able to take my career to the level that I envisioned myself being. But owning your own company comes with its own set of challenges. Luckily, I had transitioned to a regular 9-5, so I wasn’t as exhausted by having to stay up all night, but I was still strapped for time. It took me a few months to learn how to juggle my business life and my personal life effectively.
Fast forward to today, I’m married, I had another baby, my oldest just turned 8, my company is thriving, and I still hold my day job. Some people ask me if I’m pulling my hair out yet, but it’s actually the complete opposite. My family, my business, and my job all serve different purposes in my life. They are all needed and deserve to have my undivided attention.
When I’m at home, I’m bonding with my 2-month old, doing homework with my son, as well as spending quality time with my husband. I make it a point to put my family first because they are truly the most important things to me, but at the same time, my business has to be nurtured as well. Once my kids are fed, bathed, and put to bed, I’ll spend a few hours working on tasks that need to be accomplished for the week, and luckily, my husband owns his own catering business, so most of the time, he feels my pain. A good tool that we use to keep us on track is an app called Asana. I live by this thing. It helps me stay so organized that I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. Because I have so much going on at all times, I know I would go crazy if I tried to remember everything on my own. I definitely recommend using Asana, but more importantly, I recommend finding a tool that helps to keep you organized and on task. Find something that works for you!
A lot of people ask me why do I still work for the company that I do when I own a business, and my answer is that even though I don’t plan to work a 9-5 job forever, I actually love what I do. I work as a Marketing & New Media Manager, and before that, I was a Project Manager. Everything that I do at work I essentially apply it to my own business, so I don’t see it as doing anything extra. It’s just an opportunity for me to keep my skills sharp.
My life is hectic to say the least, but I don’t think I would have it any other way. So to all my ladies out there, never let anyone tell you or make you feel like you have to pick between being a mother or a wife or even a business owner. In today’s world, you can truly have it all…that’s only if you want it of course.