Editor’s note: International Women’s Day theme for 2021 is Choose to Challenge. We asked our leaders to present their personal views and share stories of challenges they have undertaken. Meet Anca Green, Sr. Marketing Manager for Rizing’s Consumer Industries business. These are Anca’s personal experiences.
In my 20s, my career was my identity in many ways – I spent more time at work than I did at home – spent more time with my work colleagues than I did with my husband. It was the heyday of Silicon Valley – start-ups were popping up overnight, stock options were thrown at you as one of many incentives to join a company; free food, chair massages, huge parties, and a constant go, go, go environment were the expectations of life in the Bay Area in the 90s and early 2000s.
Then came the realization that my husband and I wanted kids, a home to fit a growing family, and one of us at home to care for those kiddos until school took over. When our first daughter came along, I shockingly and with great difficulty left my job – my career – to be a stay-at-home mom (SHM).
When our second daughter was around two and the older was four, we began looking at pre-schools. By that time, our older daughter was reading voraciously. The schools we interviewed were only going to be teaching the little ones colors and letters, things my daughter was way past knowing. I had just read an article on homeschooling and the positive effects of keeping your children at home, and I tentatively approached my husband about this possibly being the solution to our dilemma.
Even though both my husband and I were traditionally schooled, we embarked on this new path, deciding to homeschool our girls, vowing that we would take it one week at a time. I figured that even if I screw them up terribly, I can always pop them in school, and they wouldn’t be too damaged!
Twelve years flew by. I had taken my two girls through their formative early years; mummifying chickens, keeping nature journals, diligently practicing our cursive, and having poetry teas every week (reading our favorite poems while sipping hot chocolate and eating our fresh banana bread). Through the middle school years, we studied the Industrial Revolution, building mannequins in full gowns and wigs. We studied the aristocracy before the French Revolution of the 1790s. And we traversed through high school, where the hard sciences, advanced mathematics, and more philosophical discussions came in. I loved so many moments of this time – forging a real bond with my girls, learning anew with them, being there for so many moments that I would have missed had they been in a traditional school setting.
By the time my older daughter was in 10th grade, she decided she wanted to go to a more traditional school to experience school dances, clubs, theater class, and even prom. We found a school specially designed for homeschoolers – instruction for two days and homework for three days each week. This setting and schedule worked well to prepare the students for college. Two years later, my younger daughter started there as a freshman.
And that’s when I realized, with my husband’s help, that my time as a homeschooling SHM had come to an end.
I won’t lie and say I was excited. Being a mom and a homeschooler had become my new identity, my LIFE for over a decade – leaving it and starting a job outside the home was absolutely terrifying. And the identity I had carved out after leaving my “career” outside the home, the one that I thought would be so hard to recreate, was now what I didn’t want to lose.
Now looking back, after four years back in the corporate world, with my older daughter at Baylor University in Waco, TX and the second one about to graduate high school and head to Texas State, I have realized that my role in a particular moment in my life does not define me, or my identity.
I have come to maybe not wholly embrace the changes that life throws at me, but at least try to lean into them a bit more. I am grateful for the strength I gained by homeschooling my daughters for over a decade and for buffering that decade with substantial work experience on both ends.
Who knows what’s in store for me in the coming years, but as a somewhat newly minted career woman, with a lifetime of amazing memories with my daughters, I am ready for what’s next.
To learn more about this year’s IWD21 campaign, #ChoosetoChallenge, visit internationalwomensday.com.
About the Author
Rizing’s International Women’s Day 2021 Series:
- Choosing Change – Understanding our biases, challenging our beliefs, and creating new norms for women in technology – by Kimberly I Sharp
- On Hearing Each Other: Pause, Relate, Understand and be Authentic by Sherryanne Meyer
- Inspiration, Growing up in Ireland by Joanna Murphy
- A Seat at the Table by Donna Hahn
- I Choose to Challenge Corporations by Adam Greenberg
- The Challenge of Being a Challenger by Hannah Hale
- Adventures of a Homeschooling Mom by Anca Green