Susan McPherson, like all the guests on my Disrupt Yourself Podcast, has a story to share of personal disruption.

But in addition to her professional and career journey, she has insights from disruption in her personal life as well. And personal lives are part of the equation; what goes on in that sphere greatly impacts what we are able and motivated to do in the more public realm.

“I grew up the youngest of three and I had a mom who went back to work when I was seven. So I was definitely in the early 1970’s one of the original latchkey children…I was very much alone for many years because my brother and sister were many years older than I was…they were in high school when I was still in elementary school. And it wasn’t until I was probably 16 or 17 that I finally really gained an appreciation for the reason my mom had gone back to work: number one, so she could pay…help my dad pay for our college education, but also appreciate the fact that she was a professional woman at a time when most moms didn’t work.”

To be the child of a working mom in the 70s was to be a little different than most of your peers. It was far more uncommon than it is today.

And even though there is still room for progress, it wasn’t nearly as well supported in those days as it is now.

Women in my generation—Susan and I are nearly the same age—don’t always have the model of a working mom to illuminate this path, or to help us visualize how the home-and-work puzzle fits together. And if our moms did work, Susan rightly characterizes it as more typically part time and/or non-professional employment.

In Susan’s case, her mother died, tragically and unexpectedly in a hotel fire, when Susan was 20.

It took a while for her to make peace with the loss and the pieces she felt were missing, not only because of her mother’s death, but because of her work-related absences during Susan’s childhood and adolescence. It took Susan a while to not feel robbed.

“Within a span of 24 hours [my] entire life changed. I guess if you’re going to talk about disruption? This completely disrupted my life and obviously everybody else close to her…I think it started me on this road of resolve, resiliency and making things work, because that was all that I knew how to do.”

Disruption comes in many forms and Susan McPherson has experienced several of them. You can hear more of what she has to say in the player above, or by subscribing on iTunes.

Resources Mentioned in the Show and Transcript

Susan McPherson

Modern Loss

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner

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