There is no question that having a baby changes you. It is an experience like none other. It provides an opportunity for more joy than you have ever imagined and at the same time, may be one of the most challenging experiences you will ever encounter. Making room for a baby and all that comes with it can be quite a shift from organizing life around work and career advancement.
As a new mom, you will be confronted by circumstances that let you know this little person can be one of your greatest teachers. We often approach parenting, thinking we know “how to,” however, the possibility of being humbled by the birth of your child is one that can move you forward into a new place of self-discovery and personal expansion. In becoming the parent, we are signing up to be both teacher and student.
This is the stuff that helps us identify exactly how little control we have in our lives. If you are used to being in charge, you may find yourself experiencing a course correction, while learning about yourself as a new parent. It may resemble what you know from your own childhood experience, but more than likely, much of that will provide a potent context for what “not to do,” rather than something more inspired and aligned.
There are many lessons to be learned and you will make mistakes, lose your temper and experience frustration that is like none other. Along with that, the heart opening that occurs from loving and being loved by a child makes it all worth it. Shifting from a position in the workforce to sharing your time, energy and resourcefulness with the needs of a new baby is in itself a huge adjustment.
Tips to Help Make the Transition to Working Mom a Little Easier:
Practice Self-Care: Remember to create time for you and for your partner. It may seem almost impossible; however, self-care, rest, exercise, time out from the demands of being a new parent balanced with family time or mommy time is essential. This is new territory and if you try to fit your baby into the life you had before, you may be setting yourself up for even greater challenge and struggle down the road. Feeling as if you are never quite fully present either at home or at work can eat away at a sense of satisfaction resulting from a job well-done. It just never quite feels as if anything is ever complete.
What Matters Now? Identifying the source of what’s important to you and attempting to make decisions as a new parent aligned with your core values can create greater ease in this time of transition. Rather than aligning with what might be missing from your life, ask yourself how this experience is opening doors for you. What might you discover about yourself that you didn’t know? Could you approach this time as a process of learning, of wonder, of focusing or refocusing on aspects of life that you may have missed before your child was born?
Discovering Your Passion Takes Time: There is nothing like having a child to remind us that time is a precious commodity. What if you shifted from focusing on shortage, to focusing on the abundant opportunities to discover something new, to network with people you might never have met, because now you have a shared experience? There will be a point at which all of this feels like a luxury because the details of being fully responsible for another human being can be overwhelming. Most new parents feel like they have too little time and energy for much more than the basics. Be kind to yourself. Drop the judgment and expectation and focus on what feels good.
Be in the Moment: What about using this time as a chance to practice being fully present? Along with the confusion, the learning curve, and the lack of sleep, is joy, love, discovery of some part of yourself reflecting the opening of your heart. This is the stuff that passion is made of. It is the little moments of grace you share with your child and with your partner that inspire creative thought. You will become a better problem solver, a more determined, fiercely protective person.
In the beginning, your emotions may be all over the map. This is the training ground for whatever is coming next. You are changing, expanding, learning and sometimes confused, full of worry and doubt. Think of it as a time of exercising a new set of muscles. There is time to “figure out” what will come next. Rather than being consumed with finding the answer, plan to spend as much time as possible living in the possibility of each moment and enjoy! Commit to living passionately and notice what happens in your life.