I have two beautiful kids. I’m a 17-times published author. I´m Editor in Chief of Mamiverse, a fantastic online publication for Latina moms. I love my career. I’ve run a half marathon. I have a wonderful crazy blended family. I met the most compatible life partner in my 40’s. Three years and three arguments later, we’re convinced we’ll grow old-er together.
My kids are successful at school and very well-adapted. They enjoy a flexible and amicable co-parenting situation with their divorced parents.
Anyway, the point of this post is not to gloat, but to tell you the top 5 things people have told me over the years and which I’m glad I turned a deaf ear on. Had I listened to them, none of the above, and a long list of other fine things I now enjoy in life, would have happened.
1.- Don’t work more than you´re paid for.
I still hear that! More than I’d care to, by the way. I don’t agree with that philosophy, never have and never will. If you want to go places, or simply sleep well at night knowing you did your very best, I suggest you do way more than you’re paid for … Not only will you learn as you go … but will eventually reap the benefits. It may scare or piss off colleagues but I’m ok with that. I’d rather not mingle with slackers anyway. Like attracts like. Ask any successful person if they work barely enough, and see what they say. It’s easy to be mediocre. As a manager, I notice those who go the extra mile. The people who matter to your career usually will.
2.- Don’t work on spec or for free.
Well, if you love what you do, you just might have to! When I wrote my first few books, they were all on spec. I’ve never self-published and I have nothing against it, but I’ve never had to consider that route. I don’t live off of my books, but I have always been paid to publish.
I will also write for free for a friend, for a cause or because I want to. And it’s a good feeling. The best part? I have a network of likeminded colleagues who will do the same for me!
3.- It’s very risky to have a kid after 35.
Both my pregnancies and deliveries went fine. My second baby kind of popped out, 45 minutes after I walked into the hospital. Unfortunately I know many younger moms who’ve spent days in labor … days! I cannot imagine labor longer than a couple of hours.
4.- Don’t have a second child.
I’m so glad I didn’t listen! I cannot imagine life without my little monkey, now 8. Having a sister is priceless, and I know both my kids are really better off having each other. My own sister is one of my best friends.
5.- Take your ex to court and make him ante up.
I didn’t, even when I had to sell my belongings and then some, to pay rent. I got food stamps for the kiddos but not for me, as I would not pursue child support. We have 50/50 custody and I figured the kids would be fed and dressed on their days with him. I remember saying to someone in response to this advice: “I´m going to make enough money that I won´t ever have to ask him for anything,” and I made it.
Even when the judge ordered a measly child support, I didn´t want it. Why not, you may ask. Because the emotional toll of having to ask or battle for that money every month wasn´t worth its value.
I divorced for a reason – well, several – and any kind of tie to my ex husband that isn´t our kids is a tie, and a negative one at that … So I severed it from the start. My kids have never gone without and, albeit with a titanic effort, I got back on my feet in record time, really. My girls have learned from me what it means to be a strong and self-sufficient woman and they enjoy two parents that can spend time together without having a fight every time!
Well, these are mine … what are the top 5 things you´re glad you never listened to?
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