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Sabrina Priest quit her federal government job to take care of her autistic son and discovered a new career as an online entrepreneur.
Sabrina Priest checks homework of son Dorian. Priest was an accounting specialist for the Federal Housing Finance Agency before she quit to home-school her kids.
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Date published: 5/13/2012
If author Allison Pearson ever wants to write a real-life version of "I Don't Know How She Does It," she need look no further than Sabrina Priest for inspiration.
The 31-year-old Spotsylvania County mom not only home-schools her three children, she also runs a Web-based business selling designer diaper bags and is getting an accounting degree online through Western Governors University.
"Am I balancing it? To be honest, I have no idea," said Priest, who is featured in the May issue of Ebony magazine. "I do a little bit every day. I say, 'This is what I need to get done this week'; I don't say 'today or tomorrow.' Then I reflect back on the week to see if I've accomplished what I needed to do."
Priest used to be more like Kate Reddy, the heroine of "I Don't Know How She Does It." Priest, too, worked full time while raising a family with her husband, Paul Priest. In her case, she was an accounting specialist for the Federal Housing Finance Agency in Washington.
That changed when her eldest son, Xavier, then age 4, was diagnosed with autism and attention deficit disorder six years ago. Priest decided that being available to take him to doctor visits and other appointments was more important than her job.
Priest quit work in 2007 and began home-schooling Xavier two years later because she felt he wasn't getting the assistance he needed in first grade. She worried that without it, he'd get frustrated as his schoolwork became harder.
"I didn't want to be reactive, but proactive," Priest said. "They didn't feel he was at the point then that he needed more assistance. I didn't want to accept that answer."
Home-schooling Xavier, now 10, Dorian, 8, and 6-year-old Brianna has helped bring Priest's family closer together, but it also left her feeling as though she wasn't doing anything for herself. Her husband urged her to pick something she'd be interested in doing, and he offered to help.
Priest stumbled on the idea of selling designer baby bags while going through some old photo albums. Brianna picked up a photo of Priest, which showed her dressed professionally for work--except for the diaper bag she'd slung over one shoulder. It was decorated with bright yellow duckies.