When I was pregnant with my first, I heard the same saying over and over again.
“You have no idea how much you can love something until you have a child.”
It seemed like such a cliché.
I tried not to roll my eyes—mostly because this was usually used as some kind of punctuation to a long list of sacrifices and complaints shared by those wise parents who had gone before.
And then March 10, 2014, happened—and I knew exactly what everyone was talking about.
My love for Eleanor is indescribable and immeasurable—and somehow it keeps growing.
I knew having a kid would forever change my life, but I didn’t know by how much and how.
After having her, I never thought that less than a year later I would, uncharacteristically, quit my job with no real plan in place. After all, my adult life had all been perfectly orchestrated career moves.
However, after returning to work following my maternity leave, I kept thinking I would get used to being away from my child and only being able to see her for a few hours a day. But it never felt right.
In fact, everything about it felt wrong.
My boss scoffed when I resigned, and said I was making an irreversible mistake. Even my parents questioned my decision.
Thankfully, I found encouragement in the successful women who reached out to me to say they wished they had done the same—kids grow so fast, and that time is irreplaceable—and women who said they did the same and were able to continue their upward career trajectory after their kids were school-aged.
Lucky for me, within a month of leaving my job, I was introduced to Becky Robinson and her genius business model of Weaving Influence.
At Weaving Influence’s core is the understanding of the importance of the ever-elusive work/life balance.
But with Weaving Influence, work/life balance isn’t elusive. It’s attainable. Why? Because flexibility is one of its core values.
People can use their talents to help others and continue to grow their careers, all in the comfort of their own homes.
And, I dare say, everyone (workers, clients, and team members) involved with Weaving Influence benefits from the value of flexibility. Here’s how.
For the Worker
Happiness. Well, let’s start with the obvious. Being able to spend quality time with your family and loved ones while still growing professionally and helping others grow professionally is pretty great. I have to say I’ve never felt more balanced and happy since working a flexible job. And, it’s worth mentioning, that happier workers are more productive ones.
Family. I’m not the only one in my family that’s happier. I dare say my kids and husband are, too. Eleanor and Cal get the attention they need from their mama. And Jake and I are better able to work as a team because my schedule can bend with the needs of our household. The same goes for most others on the #WIteam.
For the Client
Greater access. Being in a flexible work environment means that our services aren’t confined to the 9-to-5 work clock. We answer emails at night and take calls on the weekend. Being flexible means that we shift our day to meet other’s needs and schedules too.
Better efficiency. Working during nap times or when grandma comes to visit means you have no choice but to be efficient. There’s no lollygagging when Weaving Influence work begins. It’s go time with a razor-thin focus. You never know when that kid is going to wake up.
For the Team
Communication. Because we have team members scattered around the globe and working all different hours of the day and night, the #WIteam knows the importance of communication. We can’t assume people overhear news in the hall, so we’re sure to share and document everything in our project management system. Emboldening these communication skills carry over into other parts of our lives, too. I’m way more organized since joining the virtual workforce.
Understanding. I have an admission to make—and I’m not proud of this: before I had kids, when co-workers would leave early from work for a family obligation, I sort of thought they might be slacking. I know, I know. It’s terrible.
Now, as a work-from-home/stay-at-home mom, I’m way more empathetic and understanding that people have other things happening in their lives than just work. This understanding is ingrained within the #WIteam and it makes meeting people where they are easier. We aren’t intractable in meeting times and modes of communication—and this makes ideas a reality faster.
Not to sound cliché (or maybe I should, because after all, clichés turn out to be truths), the flexibility of Weaving Influence has made my (and others’) dreams come true.
Sure, it’s not all skittles and sunshine—there are times when I’m on a conference call while trying to calm a crying baby and satisfy a demanding toddler.
But I have the opportunity to be present in my family’s life while still doing what I love professionally and, well, that is pretty darn amazing.
Whitney is the public relations director at WI. She started her career in communications as a TV news anchor/reporter in Virginia and Tennessee before switching to public relations. Whitney earned her bachelors in government at Georgetown University, and masters in PR from the University of Tennessee. She enjoys spending time with her family in Knoxville, TN, and running competitively.