As Beyoncé proudly proclaimed in her 2011 feminist anthem, Run the World (Girls), we’re “strong enough to bear the children, then get back to business.”
And while I’m all about claiming our fierce strength as women, getting back to business and returning to work after having a baby can be a lot easier said than done.
Where Did Your Pre-Mom Life Go?
If you were to think back to the life you lived before becoming a mom, there are probably a ton of things that you left behind in your former life. But, it’s okay, it’s part of the natural shift that takes place when you step into motherhood.
Some pieces of your pre-mom life got left behind for practical purposes, such as staying up late, sleeping in, carrying cute handbags over the more functional diaper bag, and not needing a babysitter for date night.
But there are also those more meaningful parts of your pre-mom life. Like, your career or passions – those things that made you glow, like curling up with a novel, dancing, playing or singing music, running, or yoga. Consider even those things that make you who you are (laughter, creating art, spending time in nature, or your spiritual practice).
They don’t disappear into thin air when you become a mom. But they also don’t revert back to their default programming. Rather, your career and passions stick around waiting to be assigned their new place in your life. Think of them as old friends eagerly waiting to be invited to your new mom-life party!
As you learn more about who you are as a mom, one of the best things you can do is give yourself permission to redesign your life space as you blend in those meaningful pieces from your pre-mom life.
So, instead of a “business as usual” mindset, think of it more as a redecorating process. You can stop trying to force an outdated mindset into a space that is calling you to redesign it, and in a way that’s unique to you.
How Does It Fall Into Place?
A 2015 research study by Shireen Kanji and Emma Cahusac found that women continue to struggle with reconciling their professional identities pre- and post-baby. Kanji and Cahusac looked at women who left professional work environments after having a baby and the identity changes they cycled through.
One of the important things this research highlights is a “sensemaking” process new moms experience – whether returning to work or “giving up” professional work.
After having a baby, there’s a huge conflict moms face in bridging the gap between the two very different worlds of work and home. And through this natural (but not seemless!) sensemaking process, we’re eventually able to make peace with where we need to be.
But the catch is accepting, and even embracing, it for the complicated process it is. By no means is it a “one-size fits all” approach!
And there may also be grief for your past life — and that’s ok too! Part of the conflict you may struggle with will include a sense of loss over your simpler, more carefree pre-mom identity and life that was once all yours.
So, really the whole idea of getting back to business after having a baby ends up being a process that you negotiate on your own terms and makes most sense to you.
I’ve had to work through my own sensemaking process after having all 3 of my babies. Getting back to business has looked and felt different each time depending on where I was in my career before and during my pregnancies, and what felt right to help me live my best life for myself and my family. And, as I write this I am navigating through my most recent sensemaking process, and let me tell you there’s good days and bad days!
Trust that you hold the key to redecorate your new mom life however way you desire. You have total control to deck it out in a way that suits you best. And, allow yourself plenty of time to get things settled to work through your sensemaking process.
Rest assured mama that you will get back to business – whatever that needs to mean for you!
If you’re a new mom struggling to make sense of your new life and fit all the pieces of yourself together again, contact me and let’s chat about scheduling time for you to come in and see me.
All the best to you in getting back to business!