“One day as I was trying to prepare a meal, I couldn’t find anything. For years, my husband and children had been helping to take care of the kitchen and the rest of the house because I didn’t have time, but they didn’t know where anything went. I vividly remember standing there that day, saying, ‘This is my kitchen. This is my house. And I can’t find anything.’ That may not sound like a major realization to anyone else, but I knew at that point how out-of-control my life had become.
“I told my husband, ‘I want to quit this job.’ He said, ‘If you quit, you know what we’re looking at.’ I had the bigger salary, but I told him I was willing to adjust. It is easier for me than for my husband to get a high-paying job because I satisfy two requirements for minority hiring: I’m African-American, and I’m a woman. He can only satisfy one, so hiring an African-American man is not as attractive to employers. If they can satisfy two requirements with one person, then that makes sense to them. But what does it do to the family? When I would come out of my power job at 7:00 at night, I’d look around and see the parking lot full of luxury cars that belonged mostly to African-American women, and I’d think, ‘If we are here, then who is at home raising the children?’
“I had been with the company for 18 years, but I gave a 2-week notice and quit. People thought I was crazy because I had no retirement, but the corporate pressure was not worth the paycheck.
“I pulled our children out of school and home-schooled them for a year. During that year, I was able to catch my son up in the areas in which he was behind and reconnect with my daughter and get her back on track. Both of them are doing much better now. My son is planning to join the Air Force, and my daughter was valedictorian of her graduating class and is in college. My children can call me any time of the day to say, ‘Mom, let me tell you what happened,’ and I don’t say anymore, ‘Not now, I’m in a meeting.’
“I’ve changed the way I eat, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. The stress is gone. My husband is great; he’s been supportive all along, but he was definitely happy to have his wife back. My house is in order, my kitchen’s in order, and my life is in order. We don’t have the money we used to have, but we have so much more. We have relationships with each other.”