By Kathy Zucker • Thursday, December 26, 2013
My family thinks I am a failure.
Yes, you read that correctly. To be precise, my family thinks I am a broke, uneducated loser who wasted her potential and education (yes, there is a paradox in that statement) by staying home with her kids.
To be fair, my family has no idea what social media is. My parents and grandparents wanted the same for me that every Asian parent wants – top grades at top schools followed by a high-earning career in an established field. You know, the path my sister – the #1 ranked Asian woman at Google – followed. I think the thing that made my life choices so hard for them to accept was that I started out on the “right” footing. When I earned a coveted spot at Hunter College High School and then was accepted at Columbia University, my family doubled down on the pressure to become a doctor. As I veered off the medical path, they actually setup an intervention spearheaded by my 90 year old grandmother, the family matriarch who knew exactly what all 37 of her descendents were doing at any given moment.
Ah-Ma (Cantonese for father’s mother) asked me, “Why can’t you keep doing what you were doing? You were doing so well!”
I responded, “Because I was miserable the entire time.”
My family was somewhat reconciled to my career choices when I started working in marketing, although my dad kept telling me it wasn’t too late to do post-bac pre-med. But then I quit my job to stay home with my kids, and that’s when it all went downhill. Even though I work from home and earn money, they think I waste my time doing stuff for free. You know, holding networking meetings, blogging and social media.
So does my family accept my chosen career path? Yes, they do. What did it take to get them to let go of their dreams for me and accept that mine are valid and even – gasp – have tremendous potential? Winning a Shorty Award.
My family still doesn’t understand what social media is, except for Facebook (no, they don’t have accounts.) But they are trying to understand. And it helps that I can show them tangible results from my work – when my family went on the Today Show last year and again this year, every single one of my parents’ friends and relatives were tuned into NBC. And my mother has been shoving my Dove ad shot by Cosmopolitan Magazine at everyone she passes. Nobody recognizes me, but I think enlightening them is half the fun for my mom.
How do I know my family has accepted my career? My dad has stopped suggesting I go to medical school.
So what’s the lesson here? Believe in yourself. You may not be following a well-trodden path, but if you know you are onto something special, persevere. Fine tune your efforts as you go along and look for different channels to achieve your goals, but keep at it. Diligence is the key to success.
Kathy Zucker, CEO of Metro Moms Network and Managing Editor of Metro Mom Magazine, mother of three young children and New York Life Keep Good Going Shorty Award winner and judge, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. She blogs at MomCondoLiving.com, tweets @KathyZucker, posts pics on Instagram, gets down to business at LinkedIn, cracks jokes on Facebook and gets outdoors on Youtube. Email is Kathy@MetroMoms.Net but the fastest way to get in touch is Twitter or Facebook.