Rasha Rushdy has been a stay-at-home mom for more than three years, but last week, she got an email from a recruitment company that sent her on "a trip to a parallel universe in which I wasn't one," and she's still trying to come to terms with it.
The email included "rough ranges of likely salaries in your line of work," and out of curiosity, she scrolled through it.
"My eyes widened incredulously at the numbers in front of me — what I could have been making if I hadn't become a stay-at-home mom," she wrote in a relatable Facebook post. "My mind started racing down that path a little further: the title I could have held by now; the places I could have traveled to with my job and the experience I could have gained."
She started thinking about what her life would look like without kids:
I wouldn't have that gap in my resume, on which, although it is the greatest and most important work I have done, society has yet to place the right value.
I wouldn't have the worries and anxieties that I do about re-entering the workforce — have I forgotten everything? Has my brain turned into mush? How will I ever balance it all?
I wouldn't have any of that.
Of course, she also realized that if this alternative universe were true, she wouldn't have her two kids, "the ones I'm responsible for raising, nurturing, and loving." So for all those other stay-at-home moms who wonder about the "could and would haves," Rasha has a realization:
"My children have not limited me," she concluded. "Giving up my former career, for now, for them, has not limited me. It's changed things, sure, and it'll influence the curves and bumps in my path going forward. But I'll take it."