Katie Pinke
Katie Pinke and family. (Submitted photo)

Pinke family. (Submitted photo)

As a farmer's daughter living on the North Dakota prairie, I wanted nothing more than to kick up the dust and never look back. I had career goals that involved designer power suits, heels and a corner office. Though I wasn't exactly sure where my career path would lead, I was confident it would have nothing to do with agriculture or advertising, my dad's two passions. Above all, I most certainly wasn't going to college only to end up staying at home with my kids like my mom.

Then I had a baby at 18. With my dreams intact, I headed to the University of Georgia on a track scholarship. Within two years, I half-heartedly returned home to live on my parent's farm and to attend the University of North Dakota.

With a college degree in one hand and the other clutching a busy toddler, I had the momentum to begin a career in agriculture and advertising. Yes, you read that right. It turns out home was exactly where I needed to be in college to realize my professional calling.

I moved to Fargo, 100 miles from my parent's farm, to begin my career. Much to my liking, suits and heels were required -- but so was a crazy travel schedule, which didn't complement my role as a single mom. I was racking up frequent flier miles while my son was being cared for by everyone but me.

At 25-years-old, I met my prince charming on an airplane. After we married and were expecting our first daughter, we decided the time was right for my husband to transition from his cushy corporate job to his family's lumberyard business. We moved 180 miles to his hometown on the North Dakota prairie.

In yet another attempt to be home more, I switched jobs. A 196-mile round-trip commute by car seemed more manageable than a plane ride. I was gone from my kids, who now totaled three, from 6 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. five days a week.

At my wits end one night, I sat at the end of our bed and told my husband I had to quit my job for the sake of our marriage, our kids, our growing family business and much more. At 34-years-old, once again, home was right where I needed to be.

Today, I work as a marketing consultant, speaker and writer. While it certainly could be a full-time job, I have learned to say "no" in light of my commitment to be home. Striking a balance requires discipline, flexibility and the ability to extend yourself grace. Just because I'm at home doesn't mean I keep up with the laundry, the dust and meal prep. I have found it's best for my youngest to go to daycare when I have conference calls or a presentation to prepare. I also have a cleaning lady who helps out every other week. Being home doesn't mean I can do it all.

For you, being home might mean working from home one day a week to re-energize your family life. Or, maybe working through lunch and leaving an hour early is enough to alleviate some of the hustle and bustle. Regardless of my season of life, I have found genuine contentment comes from being home.

Katie Pinke writes The Pinke Post, a prairie perspective from the heart of rural North Dakota. You'll find her blogging about family, food, farming and the chaos of being a working mom at thepinkepost.com.