What other expectations did I have of myself that wouldn’t be aligned with reality? Was it even fair for me to assume I would act a certain way, instead of just letting life happen?
During my maternity leave, I spent my time on discussion boards reading about other people’s experiences with a new baby. I was mostly interested in their experiences after their maternity leave ended. I would say that 90% of women who posted said that they had the hardest time going back to work. That they cried that first day. This was reinforced by all my friends that had been through it as well.
So I prepared myself.
I prepared myself to cry and to feel the utter devastation of being separated from my child. The guilt trip I would find myself on.
What I forgot to do was to take myself into consideration – my ambitious and love of learning self. I’ve always enjoyed going to work and putting my skills to the test. I’ve always enjoyed being creative and standing out, and I’ve always enjoyed working on a challenge. I didn’t realize how much I needed to have my own separate life until I went back to work.
I realized that I wanted to be recognized in other ways than as a mom. This was crucial to my well being.
And with that, came a whole new set of beliefs.
While work is super important for my sanity, it isn’t important by itself. At the end of the day, regardless of what happened at the office, I no longer dwell on it. I leave work at work. A few years ago, I would come home eager to finish the next day’s deliverable so I would show initiative and dedication. Or I wouldn’t sleep the whole night because I put the wrong date on a report. Work took up a lot of mental real estate.
Now, I voice my opinion and I’m open with what needs to be done and how long it will take me to do it. I won’t feel bad for one second for spending time with my baby after work instead of working.
Another way motherhood has changed me is that I no longer sacrifice my time in order to please someone else. I refuse to go out or to spend time with anyone I don’t care for. I used to grind my teeth and accept social invitations because I didn’t want to look like boring for declining all the time. You know, the introvert in me.
Now I’m declining everything.
I realize my time is so precious that I can’t waste it with anyone that I don’t give two cents for. There’s no point.
If it makes me unhappy, I won’t do it. It’s that simple now. Refuse, refuse, refuse.
Lastly, while I’ve always been honest with myself and those around me, now that I’m a mom, I have definitely ramped up my honesty. Here are some things that came out of my mouth in the past few years.
- Why yes, my nipples have been bleeding for 5 days and 4 hours straight – here’s a picture of my tormented nipples
- I sometimes forget I have a baby when he’s quiet and sleeping
- If I don’t pump RIGHT THIS SECOND I WILL LITERALLY EXPLODE MILK
- I found it! *Pulls pacifier out of bra*
- I’m sorry I can’t focus on what you’re saying, I haven’t slept in days
- I am so happy my child is in daycare*
*I know what you’re thinking, but to be fair, the daycare was 1 minute away so I went to visit an hour (+) every day
There it is. The phase I’m currently navigating through. The phase that is opening up new doors and new avenues for me to wander down upon. Allowing me to be even more raw, honest, and open.