Going Back To Work After Babies Is Harder Than I Thought
I will be honest, I never related to the word “mother” or “wife.” I am a businesswoman, an entrepreneur, a hustler.
I never understood a stay at home mom. In my mind the craziest thing a woman could want to do is stay at home with her kids. When I got married I told my husband, “if you’re looking for a stay at home mom who cooks and cleans and watches the babies I am not that person.” That was not going to be me, no way, no how.
The story I had going on in my head before I had kids was that I’d be able to totally handle work, kids, husband. I will pop out these kids and get right back to work. We will get a babysitter or daycare and everything will go back to the way it was. I will go back to running my fitness business, teaching classes, blogging, doing social media, write a book, giving speeches oh and go on dates with my husband and play with my kids. I will have it all because I can do it all.
HOLY S*!T WAS I WRONG!
First of all, being a mom is hands down the hardest job in the entire world. Nothing can prepare you for those first four months. You are exhausted, hormonal, resentful, crying all the time and living in a complete fog. You question everything you’re doing from napping schedule to pooping, to the toys and the tummy time, to formula, boobs, bottles. You’re constantly googling how to do everything and overloaded with information. Amazon becomes your safe zone and best friend. You start every mom conversation with, “So when did your kids start sleeping through the night?” And you are in complete shock when they say, “Mmmm I don’t really remember.” You think how do you not remember? This is my living hell. Or when they say “two years,” and you think HELLLLLL NOOOO. Every book, website, YouTube tells you to do it all differently and in the end you realize you just figured it out without all the advice, you got through it and now you’ve moved on to the next phase of your baby’s life.
I started my own business before I had children and I have an incredible staff of co-workers and a business partner who all allowed me take extra time off, and although I am beyond grateful for this I am also struggling more than I ever have. I now get why moms decide NOT to go back to work. I was shocked to find out… I really love being a mom! I was even more shocked that I’m good at it and I really enjoy being with my babies.
As I moved into this new mom role I started to feel more and more left out in my work. The business is running well without me, I don’t feel needed at work and while everyone was trying to help me by give me my space it just made me feel more isolated and like I was losing respect for wanting to be present and at home with my babies. I was so scared to lose the businesswoman (my identify) these were the things going on in my mind! I built this amazing company that gives me the time and support I need to raise my kids as a working mom and I am so thankful for this. Yet somehow I felt insecure, lost and afraid.
It made me over promise, over commit and under deliver. I would promise to have emails answered, projects done and would say, “yeah I can handle it!” But in return I would not hit deadlines, forget meetings and not answer emails. Let’s be honest having babies (especially twins) you have a valid excuse and can get out of everything and so I did. And then I would have guilt and shame over it. I felt confused, exhausted and slipping deeper into a hole and here’s the craziest part: No one asked me to do these things. I put them on myself so I was promising things that didn’t need to be promised because I was to scared of losing who I used to be.
Before having babies I thought I would be at home with my girls getting all my work done, writing a book, blogs, IG posts, answering emails in a timely fashion. I quickly realized being at home with babies (especially in those first four months) you get nothing done. NOTHING. So, sidebar: If you’re in these first couple months here is my advice. Commit to nothing. Not one thing. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. As hard as it is, no guilt and shame around it. You are doing the most important thing in the world. You are raising a human. I wish I would of taken my own advice on this one. You feel like you’re doing nothing but actually you’re doing everything!
(This was me two months in trying to do it all, exhausted and overwhelmed.)
We all have stories going on in our own head. This is me being authentic, open and raw about how I am struggling to get back to where I once was. As my twin girls approach eight months and after many meltdowns, I finally feel I am getting a schedule I can maintain and moving in a forward direction. As I move forward I can’t help but look at what I would have done differently and what I am going to do more efficiently in the future.
After sitting and wondering, “Now where do I belong, what do I want to do with my life, career, children? Does my opinion even matter anymore? Do I want to stay at home with my babies? Can I even do what I used to do? Who am I?” I have now come to some clear answers. I am going to focus on ….
1. Stop overcommitting/overpromising.
There is no quicker way to lose respect from people than to overpromise and underdeliver. This is just a fact in life whether you’ve had kids or not. When people realize they can’t rely on you or there’s a 50/50 chance you will actually get it done, show up or follow through, they stop relying on you. Your co-workers, family, friends, spouse would rather hear the truth, that you just can’t make it or for you to be honest and say, “NO that is not going to happen. I can’t commit to that,” rather than you flaking on them.
2. Own my bandwidth
Instead of overcommitting, I am going to be upfront and honest in what I am capable of doing at this moment. I will only say yes to the things I know I can do. I will stop trying to live up to who I used to be and own who I am today. Everyday I am going to own my bandwidth, which means being honest about what I can accomplish today or this week or this month. I can NOT do it all and I no longer want to do it all.
3. Done trying to find balance.
I’ve come to find out on a day to day scale balance doesn’t exist for me and once I let go of that everything changed. There will be days where I am more focused on work (like today and writing this blog) and days my focus is entirely on my family, my babies and husband. This doesn’t mean on days I completely ignore the other it just means I am OK knowing that some days are work heavy and some days more family heavy and their doesn’t always need to be balanced because I do not need to be doing it ALL everyday.
4. I am not who I used to be.
I have finally accepted I am not who I used to be, I AM BETTER. I am more emotional, loving, caring, raw. My feminine side has been broken open and it’s a beautiful thing. In order to grow we have to go through the hard stuff, but we also need to evolve. I am returning to work and going to make an impact in this world by telling the truth. None of us have it all together, no one knows how to do it all and the expectation we put on ourselves and each other to have the perfect life has to change. I am not perfect and it’s what makes me an awesome mom, real woman and business person.
5. I am a mom, wife, AND businesswoman.
Thank you for continuing to let me share my story with you, I am grateful for all of you. I am so excited for this next adventure of life, motherhood and business.
Alive, Living and Loving,