When BlackEnterprsie.com sat down with professional black women from across the nation, the women’s common piece of advice for all women was to never place your dreams on the back burner. All of the women interviewed, from a former teenaged single mother to a woman who decided to prolong child-bearing until after reaching her career goals, have found a balance between motherhood and career ambitions that works best for them and have sound advice to offer to any future mother out there. Here are two of their stories:
Summer Alexander, market research consultant and CEO of Summer Alexander Research saw her life come to a standstill when she found out 16 years ago that she was pregnant. “When I found out I was pregnant at 17, I was completely shocked, terrified and extremely disappointed with myself. I thought I had ruined my life,” Alexander told BlackEnterprise.com. “While my peers were planning for prom and graduation, I was praying next to an incubator that was housing my tiny [premature] daughter,” Alexander continues. After having her baby, Alexander found that she had to drop out of high school to take care of her child, but her life did not spiral downwards after the birth of her daughter.
Instead, Alexander earned her GED, graduated from college, and became a successful entrepreneur. “Those first couple of years were filled with struggle,” the now-married mother of three tells BlackEnterprise.com. To other mothers out there who find themselves raising children at a young age Alexander offers this piece of advice: “Your children need you to pursue your dreams. It will be very important to forge ahead with your life’s plans because the desire to do so is never going to go away and if you don’t, you run the risk of pushing your dreams on your children or worse diminishing their dreams because you never pursued yours.”
Jennifer K. Davis, 28-year-old single mother, typist and founder of the P.I.N.K. Foundation, fills every day from 7:40 in the morning to 9:30 at night with business meetings and time with her family. “If business was on the weekend, I brought my children along. I’d tell everyone, up front, that I’m a single mother trying to make this happen, so from time to time I might bring my child with me…. Most of the people I came in contact with were very supportive, very empathetic and understood and loved my passion,” Davis tells BlackEnterprise.com. Davis encourages women who are trying to balance motherhood and a career to go with their gut and to implement an adequate support system for themselves. “Listening to your instinct is key and will make you ultimately happy. Also, it’s important to find your support system. So many times we think our support system is our family, but most of my support comes from friends, business associates and people I’ve met along the way.”