If I had to do it all over again

Was your dream to be a stay at home mom? Didn't want to miss the school plays, the calls from the school nurse, drop in to have lunch with the kiddos on a whim, be a volunteer. Wow, I was busy in my children's school days and decided to volunteer nine years as a Girl Scout Leader and co-Leader, joined mom playgroups, ran committees and kept my home business building and growing until eventually I decided I wanted to take on even more and open a brick and mortar business. Through these years, my vision remained the same. I wanted to be a stay at home/work at home mom.

Girls, let me tell you something,

- I wish I had done something different.

- I wish I had truly understood the consequences of what I was giving up.

- I wish I had someone to mentor and share their experience of the mistake they made by being a work at home mom.

Twenty five years ago, I decided I wanted to be a work at home mom! I was a single parent and I worked while my son was growing up, but I decided he needed me at home at the roaring age of 16 and left a secure job to become an entrepreneur. Two years later I married my soul mate, moved and our families of two, became a family of six in three years.

Here is what I have learned!

- I should have worked while all of my children were in school.

- I should have saved money every day towards my retirement.

- I should have had a savings account.

- I should have put money into a 529 plan for my children's college education.

- I should have spent less on the unnecessary fun gadgets and clothing.

Now don't get me wrong! I miss many of the things I loved.

- I loved being at my children's plays, parent teacher conferences, mom on the road when the nurse called and would brag about it.

- I loved the trips and incentives I earned while I was team building my direct sales business.

- I loved the morning coffee chats and shopping trips and coaching sessions and networking.

- I loved the days when I could visit my family in Pennsylvania during the summer vacations and school spring and winter breaks.

But here is where I was blindsided 20 years later.

- I now have to work a full time J-O-B, that I truly love, because I didn't save for retirement.

- Instead of having a 529 plan for my children to have for college, they are paying for college and I am helping them with books and other resources they need.

- I always had and still have the security that my husband's retirement would be all we would need.

But I didn't plan for any of the what if something happens to one of us. We have talked about it, but while he was planning, I was being a work at home mom.

My future is my husband and we are becoming empty nesters, But I am playing catch up because I played with my income instead of investing income from my work at home business. My brick and mortar business paid rent that was increasing constantly and the repairs were eating any profits, so there was not any extra money to save.

- I did not think about the importance of having life insurance for my children.

- I missed the opportunity for my employer to match my retirement contribution and the many raises I could have had over the past 25 years.

- Even though I had 25 years of home business and leadership experience, I missed some of the most important leadership experience a company offers for professional development opportunities.

- I was always paying for growth opportunities out of pocket.

If I need to make a suggestion to a mom who thinks being there for 8 hours a day for your child who is in school, I would say work while they are in school. Take the few hours of vacation to attend their events, lunches, school plays and work closer to home. Save for retirement, start a 529 plan, get permanent life insurance while you and your children are young so you can enjoy the time when you are ready to wind down and ease into retirement. Plus the cost of life insurance is significantly less.

My husband travels with his job and as he travels, I get to kiss him goodbye when he leaves to catch a plane and I am getting ready to go to the office. If I had worked while my children were in school, I would be able to take a trip or two with him.

Two and a half years ago, my life took a dramatic change and when I realized what I done, I knew I needed to change my life and help others change their lives. I have learned to not only think about the now, think about the future too. Even though I truly love the opportunity to enjoy my life, my employer and my mission, I am missing some of the most incredible opportunities. Traveling on a whim with my husband, wedding planning with my daughter, ladies retreats with my church friends, coffee with my friends, quick trips to visit my son and his family, helping my mom as she ages and so much more.

Think twice about being the yoga pants mom, wearing pajamas while you are running your direct sales business and having fun coffees with the girls. From experience, I now know - Retirement comes quick when you don't have a plan and it is really much closer than you can imagine.