My journey as a mother started 22 years ago. The day my first son was born, my life changed forever. I know many mothers say the same thing, it is true, there is no denying it. I was in my second year of law school when my son was born. I was blessed to have a great family and a wonderful group of friends who helped me throughout my last year of law school and while studying for the Texas Bar exam.
Thankfully, I passed the bar on the first sitting. I decided to move back to Houston, Texas as that was where my family lived. Being a single mom, fresh out of law school, I was afraid to be completely by myself. After working for a few small law firms and unsuccessfully applying for jobs; I realized that to do what I really wanted to do (practice business law), I needed to start my own law practice. So, I did.
Starting a business is not easy for anyone. It is especially difficult when you are a single mother. There are so many demands on your time. So many expectations. Not just from your friends and colleagues, but from the little eyes staring up at you knowing that their life depends upon you. The pressure is great and unrelenting.
It is hard to explain “how I did it.” I really don’t know, I just did it. I think that is how many single mothers feel. You just figure it out, you just keep going, you just make it work even when it seems like it is impossible. I managed to graduate from law school, pass the bar exam, and start a new business all in the span of a year and a half while having a young child.
After I passed the bar exam, I sat in a continuing legal education class that was geared toward young attorneys. There was a male attorney who was highly respected who discussed his life as an attorney. The only thing I remember about this class was what this male attorney said about his regrets. He regretted not spending more time with his son. His son was begrudging him for not doing so. This attorney reminisced about all the missed time with his son. He talked about how he missed tennis matches, school plays, and father and son time. He was trying to correct it now that he was older, but his son was still very upset about the missed time.
I left there saying to myself, I never want my son to feel that way about me. I don’t want him to say, you were never there for me. So, when I started my law practice, I knew that I could not have a business that would not allow me to be available for my son. So, I made sure that I always would be.
I didn’t realize the sacrifices that would mean. Being available meant saying no to a lot of things and people. I couldn’t go to the late-night networking events to hang out and chat. I couldn’t meet clients after work hours. I couldn’t travel to all of the latest and greatest conferences. Even now, 22 years later, I still face the same choices. Just recently, I had to take my eldest son out of state to start a new job. That meant I had to miss a conference where I was running for Regional President. Needless to say, I lost the election. Most likely due to my absence.
But if it comes between being at a conference and spending precious time with my son, there is really only one choice.
My youngest son has ADHD. If your child has ADHD, then you know that anything can happen anytime. Trying to manage yourself plus your kid can cause you to feel lost. Explaining to teachers and loved ones why your kid isn’t listening, sitting still, or having a giant meltdown can make you feel like a terrible parent. You often feel helpless.
Trying to manage my own schedule and keeping my youngest son on track is not for the faint at heart. I am blessed though; I have a great family that is supportive and loving. My youngest is a handful but is loving and sweet. He found his passion for coding and robotics and I couldn’t be happier for him. These are the things that make me smile inside and out, and why I don’t lament the hard times.
Recently, I had to make drastic changes in my business and my mindset. I read a book called Fervant by Pricilla Shirer that forever changed how I looked at my life. Sometimes, life is overwhelming and can send you into a sea of depression and regrets. As moms, we keep brave faces even when we are dying inside. Peace of mind is key to making it work as best you can.
For me, that means understanding that no matter what was going on in my life I was not helpless, and I could do something. That is changing how I looked and thought about things. It sounds simple, too simple. And when you are in the throes of discord and discontent, it can be difficult to see the silver lining. I realized that I did not have to just accept my current state.
Whenever I started to feel bad, panic or worry, I pray and meditate. I read books and listen to a series of mindset. I tried to find the good in everything that was going on. My eldest son (yes, the one I had in law school), graduated from college. I don’t know how I did it, but I was able to financially support him for four years. My youngest, while wild and crazy by most standards, is not a behavior problem at school. For the most part, his teachers loved him although they were frustrated at his refusal to do his schoolwork at times.
Life isn’t perfect. It never is. But I am grateful and thankful that my kids are happy and healthy. I have been able to financially support my children while being emotionally available. To me, this is the greatest challenge I have faced. I believe I have successfully met this challenge and will continue to believe so until their therapists tell me otherwise!
Shahara Wright is the award-winning author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and the creator of the CEO Collaboration Circle, Business Done Wright, and Single Mom CEO.
As a business strategist and business law attorney, her strategies and proven methodologies have transformed the way, small business owners, entrepreneurs and CEOs reduce legal liabilities and increase their bottom line.
Shahara founded The Wright Firm, PLLC 20 years ago when she couldn’t find a law firm that matched her schedule as a single mom. From a young age, she knew it was possible for entrepreneurs, especially single moms, to build a successful business their way.
After that humble start, Shahara quickly developed the Road 2 CEO Success to help CEO’s of small and mid-sized companies enhance operations and execute strategic change.
Shahara’s success was just getting started as her firm began assisting brands with product development, bringing products from mere concept to a fully developed and manufactured brand. Small and mid-sized businesses were seeing reduced operating costs of 20% and increased profitability by as much as 30%
Of course, Shahara’s strategies aren’t just for small and mid-sized companies, she’s helped entrepreneurs at all levels how to build a sustainable business, protect it, and make more money doing the work they love.
Shahara lives in Houston, TX, where she pursues her passion of helping single moms create sustainable businesses and build strong legacies for the generations to come.