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You probably think that, somewhere along the way, you screwed up. You shouldn’t have left the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. Or you wished that you did. Maybe you think that if only you stayed more current with your skills, you could re-enter the workforce at a higher level.

Nope. Nope. Nope. The conventional career path offers women false choices and promises. Young women are pressured to go to college, get student loans, and then climb the corporate ladder to success, only to be forced back to the lowest rung when they have children. And most moms think it’s their fault. LIke there is something lacking in them. Somehow, they aren’t good enough for the corporate world or the workforce.

I followed society’s rules to be a success: college, work, MBA in finance from Carnegie Mellon, more work, then a sudden realization that there had to be more to life than making gobs of money. Yeah, I already knew that but when I had my mid-life crisis at 30, I didn’t know how to define success on my own terms or how to move forward. I am grateful that I figured out how to be my own boss before I had kids. I waited until I was 35 to have my first daughter, and then had my second at 39.

As a single mom, I’ve guided my two daughters on their self-directed learning journeys without school while freelancing and building alternative education programs and schools. I’ve been able to set my own schedule and work as many hours as made sense for each chapter of my mothering life.

And I want the same for you. Design your life like it matters. Because you do.