By Lucy M. Pritchett
A promise that Anitra Durand Allen made to herself in college got lost in the ensuing years of her engineering career. Fortunately, a gentle reminder from her husband brought her to her turning point.
Her promise? “I would pursue my engineering career until I was 35, and then I would stop and raise a family,” Anitra says.
“At the time I was asked, ‘You don’t want to do anything with your life? Why would you waste your gifts?’ I was good at math and science and heading toward my engineering degree on a full scholarship, but the thought was planted in my mind that perhaps I would be wasting my life by not working until I retired. It was an internal struggle for many years.”
She had long ago shared that notion with her husband Harold. The couple had moved to Louisville in 2005 for his job and for awhile Anitra stopped working.
“I almost went crazy,” she recalls. “I had two kids and realized immediately that I needed a life outside the children — that having no adults to talk to was not for me. I went back to work and eventually became a project manager for a large company in Louisville.”
|Photos by Patti Hartog|
Six years later, in 2011, Anitra says her life took a turn. “It was a tumultuous year. I lost three close family members including a sister. My bonus son Trevone turned 13, and that teenage thing started happening. I wasn’t prepared for that shift. I was in a challenging job role and I contemplated taking a temporary position with the company.
“That’s when Harold asked me, ‘What happened to quitting when you were 35?’ And you know what, I walked away from that job six months after that conversation.
“I was a mom with three children. I took what I had learned in college and work as a project manager and applied those same skills to what I do at home. Money management and budgeting, scheduling and time management, and meeting delivery deadlines — I carried them over to my home and family life. A lot of working moms approach family differently than they approach their job, but it really is the same skills.”
Eventually Anitra started a blog — The Mom on the Move — and a parenting and relationship coaching business. They both have grown, she says, based on what she’s discovered makes her successful. “I’m using my gifts and talents to invest in my family. It is worth it.
“Now I’m over 40 and the decision to leave that job and focus on family has turned out quite well. I have flexibility and freedom, and I travel the country with my children as they pursue their dreams and aspirations.”
Olivia,12, is the founder of a girl’s conference, and she attends speaking engagements about being confident and giving back to the community through her foundation Girls Giving for Good. Alexandra, 10, is an athlete, and her dream is to become an Olympian. Trevone is pursuing a life in music.
“I don’t see myself going back to the corporate world. I’ve built an online presence, I have a coaching practice, and I help run the nonprofit.
“Family is my primary focus. Sometimes we miss opportunities to enjoy moments with our families because we are stressed out about what we think has to be done in the next five minutes. I help other moms enjoy more meaningful moments by showing them how to get more done in less time with less stress.”