I got a promotion, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself.  Turns out it’s a new year, with the same challenges.

The night I found out I was being promoted, my husband told my kids because he wanted them to pick out flowers for me as a surprise.

When my daughter handed me my flowers she said “does this mean you’re a boss?”  I didn’t know how else to explain it, so I said “kind of.”  Her response, which still replays over and over, was “I don’t want you to be a boss.  I just want you to be a mommy.”

It cut me to my core.  It made me question every decision I had made professionally and personally.  Why am I doing this to myself?  Why am I stretching myself so incredibly thin, if all my kid wants is for me to be home and be her mom?  Should I just quit now, go out on top?

I sat on this story and her words for days.  I couldn’t say them out loud or admit them to anyone for fear that all they would hear is a child who misses her mom.  I was sad and guilty and feeling anything but excited about my professional success. 

A few days later, Brielle was teaching her brother, Leo, a song.  “Clap hands, clap hands, ‘til Mommy gets home, Mommy has money and Leo has none.”  She then told him, “Mommy goes to work so she can have money to buy us food and barbies.”  

She was right, sort of.  I work so I can make money and provide for my family.  (Just doing my part to keep Mattel in business).  I work so my kids can have all the opportunities I want them to have.  I work so we can have a little flexibility in our lifestyle.

But I also work because I like it.  I like being dedicated to a cause.  I like putting my passion and energy and focus into my profession.  I like teaching my children that we can all grow up to do anything we want to do.  I like the feeling I get from helping clients.  

I finally found the courage to tell some of my friends about Brielle’s reaction to my professional success.  One of my friends said it to me most concisely: “Don’t worry, in 15 years when she’s writing her college essay about who inspires her the most, I would bet anything it will be about you.”

I hope she’s right, because I’m not quitting any time soon.  You’re welcome, Mattel.