From The Vault: The Sacrifices We Make For Our Kids? Totally Worth It

Me and my little girl when she was 1 month old!

Growing up, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you that I wanted to be editor-in-chief of Essence magazine. Like, that was the only goal.

For a young black girl, seeing the beautiful covers featuring beautiful black women gave me a reason to smile and celebrate being me. I wanted to be the person who put it together every month, who crafted the direction of the magazine and gave other little girls and young women the feeling that they are awesome and they can do great things with their life.

I wrote all through elementary school and middle school and high school. I worked hard for the school newspaper and yearbook. I majored in journalism and wrote for the daily paper in college. I was the editor of one of our campus magazines by second semester of my freshman year. I contributed to all the others. I told anyone who would listen that I wanted to run Essence.

So when junior year rolled around, I applied for a few summer internships. One was the ASME internship, one of the most competitive in the country. I also applied (of course!!) for an internship with Essence’s parent company, Time Warner. My professors pushed me into applying for the ASME internship, and I only got excited about it when I saw the Essence was indeed one of the placement spots.

But then I got pregnant. It was March, about two months before I was supposed to leave.

I got offered the Essence internship. That was the best phone call I’ve ever received. I was beaming from ear to ear, jumping up and down. This was what I had been working for.

The details, however, were not so good. The internship didn’t pay much and they wouldn’t be paying for my room and board.

If I was a regular ol’ college student, I would have sucked it up, ate my Ramen noodles, and slept on the floor of my friend’s already overcrowded NYC apartment.

But I had a baby coming. I did the math, and it would have cost me more money than I was willing to spend to do the internship, which wasn’t a guarantee of anything.

So I turned them down. And I cried. I was trying to do the responsible thing, but it hurt because I felt like I was basically saying good-bye to my dream.

But then I got another call. I got the ASME internship. The pay? About $350 a week. And they gave me the option to work from home on Fridays. It wasn’t Essence, but for a mom-to-be with a jones for writing, it was perfect.

So I went. And while it wasn’t a cakewalk, I had a ball.

And guess what? The highlight of my summer was meeting Angela Burt-Murray, the editor-in-chief of Essence, at one of the ASME luncheons. I waddled my butt up to her, asked her to sign my copy of her latest book, and then hit her up with a request to interview her for a parenting website I was writing for at the time. She graciously agreed and told me to come to her office in two days. I spent an hour with her that morning,  talking about life, love and balancing responsibilities. She told me some things I really needed to hear and I still draw strength from that conversation even six years later.

I may not be working for Essence, but I’m a full-time writer, which, if I really think back, was my goal underneath the goal.

I guess I’m writing all this to tell you that it all works out. All these sacrifices we make for our kids come back to us three-fold. Yeah, it sucks that you can’t buy something nice for yourself right now because the kids are sucking up all of our money. Yeah, it sucks that you are perpetually tired from staying up waaay past your kids’ bedtime because it’s the only time you can get stuff done. Yeah, it sucks that you haven’t been on a vacation in years.

But eventually, kids grow up. Your wallet is (somewhat) your own again. You don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to check on someone. We will have done our jobs and our kids will be smart, capable adults who can stand on their own two feet. We will have done it. And that makes the sacrifice worth it. Trust me on this.


  1. LOVE this post!!!!