WHAT'S MY NAME? LEI NORWOOD
ENTREPRENEUR / BUSINESSWOMAN
My name is Lei Norwood, a devoted wife and mom to three boys. Before I even had the privilege of introducing myself that way, I was Lei — independent, motivated, creative, and carefree, building a marketing career with a global, multinational firm with a role that involved a lot of traveling all over the world. Work kept me on my toes, and finding myself based elsewhere for a couple of months at a time (Dubai), or even uprooting myself for over a year (Singapore) was normal. For someone in their early twenties, this was ideal. I personally have a passion for travel, and was intent on pursuing my career so this combination was the best setup for me.
Life eventually puts us on a path of progression that we do not immediately foresee. Therein lies its beauty, in my opinion! Met the love of my life and later on was pregnant with our first child. We mutually decided for me to put my career on hold as soon as I gave birth, to make way for the biggest, most challenging (and scariest!) role of my life so far: Being “Mom”!
Prior to becoming a mom, my aspirations were hinged on a career that had a continuous upward trajectory. Now, while I feel that I’ve found my purpose first and foremost as a wife and mother, the career fixation has faded away. My new sense of identity has been defined, and I am thriving in it.
As women, we have the ability to put on many hats. But what I extremely find to be one of our strongest suits, is our ability to adapt. We bring life into the world, and in a way, we recognize that our sense of purpose immediately gets rearranged. Sacrifice and selflessness are two words molded into what it means to be a parent — a mom— and we must adapt immediately. We put our bodies through a lot, to be able to fulfill the new role. We give it everything we’ve got emotionally and mentally, too. It is natural, yes, but nonetheless an adaptability test. Every woman who goes through this new life stage knows.
We may all respond differently. Some may experience setbacks like postpartum depression, disillusionment, and just a sense of being overwhelmed all the time. Some may even have a different approach from what I have done — they will choose to return to being career-driven women as soon as their maternity leave is over. I’m here to say that there is no right or wrong path. We are all called upon to adapt and define our self-identity the way that best appeals to us.
It does not matter what mothering approach you take. No one does it better than you. You may be a hands-on, highly involved mom that chooses to personally homeschool their children. You could be the CEO of your own company, running a busy schedule but doing the best you can. You might be compelled to work because you are a single mom providing for your child. Maybe having children is not in your future plans — and that is totally okay. There is no norm that we have to box ourselves in. No need to compare stories with anyone. What is a breeze for one might be the biggest struggle for another.
We should remain steadfast and be proud of how we have adapted to the challenges that come with being a woman. It is not easy, but it is infinitely rewarding. And the best part is, you do not have to stop being who you are.
I am still Lei, still motivated and creative. I am an entrepreneur. But the new me is driven by faith and my purpose is defined by my family. I am happy with who I am, and trust my own unique path. Growing, thriving and evolving into my best self.