Were you a successful person before you had kids? Did you forge a path through school and into the workplace that you were proud of and excited about?
Next thing you know, you suddenly acquire a new identity. You’re going to be a mom!
Then everyone stopped asking about you and started asking only about the baby, your pregnancy, the nursery and, weirdly enough, when you’re going to have your next child.
Fast forward to being at home with your precious baby! You feel the sudden clash of all of the amazing, motherly, loving emotions toward your baby and getting to care for them and….the you that you used to know.
Now your body is not longer your own, your time is no longer your own, your sleep is no longer your own. And while you’d gladly give it all up for that precious baby, you can’t help but feel like something’s missing.
We get it.
We want to talk about why the transition from the workplace to being a stay at home mom is so difficult. We want to call it out! Let’s dive deep. Then, we want to talk about how to manage that transition in a way that serves you and serves your family!
First, let’s jump into why it’s so hard.
1. Your identity has been tied up in work.
Culture conditions us to define a person based on what they do. Isn’t that one of the first things you ask a person upon meeting them? This is true as an adult but it’s the culmination of the same sort of affirmation when you’re in school. The work you do in school, whether it’s academic or extracurricular, is how you’re defined, understood and labeled. This system also allows you to know that your’e doing well or not so well because there are very specific metrics, goals and expectations for each of these areas of life. And you probably got pretty good at living up to those expectations. And, hey, that’s also how you knew where you stood in life.
2. Before & after.
Sticking with the identity theme, you might find that you had an identity before children that is hard define once they’ve arrived. If you’re not careful to cultivate who you are aside from mom, it can lead to problems.
3. You lack confidence where you used to have lots.
Again, in school or at work, before kids, the expectations were clear and it was pretty easy to figure out how to improve or learn new skills. There’s no such thing as mom school or mom class though. Or, at least, not for the everyday, million decision making moments that you’ll encounter. No, it’s all brand new situations and circumstances and there’s really no manual. Instead, it’s all intuition. That can be unsettling.
4. You might not feel as valued.
As much as you know motherhood is important and valuable, culture doesn’t always celebrate it and sometimes it can feel that careers or work outside the home is put on a pedestal.
5. You’re probably lonely.
It’s just you and the kid(s). You’re busy, you’re pouring into them, you’ve got a million to do’s and you can never clock out. In the haze of busy-ness, you might not realize that you’re lonely. You might not realize that baby talk is well and good, but you need to talk to other adults. Just like you might’ve met coworkers at the water cooler to commiserate about the report you’re working on, you really could use someone to talk to about the challenges you’re facing as a mom, wife and woman. This can be especially difficult if you’re the type of person who loves people and chatting with others!
6. Your new job can be tedious.
The work you’re doing is important. We can’t stress that enough. But, let’s be real, it can be tedious. Endless dishes, lunches, laundry, baths and bedtime routines can all string together into Groundhogs day at times. Moreover, the energy you put into gently correcting the same behavior over and over again or even reading the same book day after day can seem like it’s not having an impact. Unlike more traditional work tasks, there is not much instant gratification when it comes to motherhood. Obviously the long-term gratification is amazing and unbeatable, but in the day-to-day, you might feel frustrated.
7. Finally, this new job is one you can’t clock out of.
You used to be able to clock out and put work away if you wanted to. Now you can’t. That takes a toll. It’s hard. There’s nothing wrong with that, but acknowledge it.
Okay, so now that we’ve talked about some of the reasons this transition is hard, let’s talk about some tips to make it better.
1. Don’t stay home.
Seriously, whoever invented the phrase “Stay-At-Home-Mom” should regret it! Under no circumstances should you stay at home! Go out and join the world. Join mom group, go to the park, go on adventures, see friends, do all the things! Obviously a lot of your time will need to be at home between chores, nap times and whatever else. However, make it a top priority to get out of your home and with other people as often as you can. Schedule it.
2. Reframe your brain.
Ask yourself-what other job in the world is more important than what you’re doing right now? Also, just so you know, no one else can do what you’re doing the way you’re doing it. Your intuition is right. You are made for what you’re doing. What you’re doing matters.
Those are some of the things you can say to yourself to get your mind right. Think about some truths you can speak over yourself everyday and jot them down in a notebook you can read each morning.
Start there and then continue to work on your mindset. You’re the boss now, you get to make the rules! If that means music is always on or every Tuesday is sleep in day, make it happen. You can create the life and schedule you want, you just have to take ownership.
3. Own it.
Take this job seriously. It can be easy to think, “PJs all day” and you’re just trying to keep a human alive. There is much more to it. If you want to do it well, it’s a lot of hard work. So, treat it like the very important full time job it is. Create yourself a schedule, plan your projects and tasks, have family meetings, maybe even make yourself a mom uniform.
4. Take time to remember who you are.
So many times we’ll ask clients, “What are your hobbies?” or “What do you do for fun?” and they’ll look at us with a blank stare. But! Before you were a wife, before you were a mom, you were you. Who is that? Who are you? What do you believe? What do you enjoy? What are your goals? Who are you when no one else is around? Be sure to connect with who you are and how that identity comes with you even as you become a wife and mom. Then, as we talk about in the next tip, make sure you make space and time for that identity.
5. Give yourself permission to be a person other than mom.
Schedule regular “you time.” Pursue your own passions, do things that you want to do just because you want to do them. Don’t allow the incorrect mindset to seep in that says it’s selfish. That’s wrong. If you don’t allow for you time, you will become burnt out and the very people your’e trying so hard to serve will suffer. In addition, taking you time will set the right example for your children to do the same.
Hey, if you need help with any of these topics, will you consider reaching out to see how we can work together?
Ideal Balance is The Life Coaching Facility in Navarre, Florida that focuses on Fitness, Family & Finance. We help our clients create the discipline & habits they need to strip off what’s holding them back from living the life God created them to live. We work with clients in 1-on-1 sessions in person, virtually and in small groups. We offer life coaching, financial coaching, health coaching. We also offer personal training and home organization locally here in Navarre, Florida. Fill out the information below if you’re interested in our help and we will contact you.