“I was on all the time before, I guess,” A long-time friend and client sighed when I called her about a missed conference call. “Now it’s different.”
Yes, it’s very different, as she now tries to include the life-changing role of mother with the challenging, evolving, creative role she has held in the many years we have worked together. It can certainly be overwhelming, trying to manage the changing facets of our lives.
Do I tell her how long it takes to find that balance, to work and parent? How it shifts just when we get into a routine, sometimes subtlety, sometimes glacially? How even a minor shift can throw off the pace, change the day’s goals? How I feel like maybe I have found it—a couple days a month—now that my oldest is 17? Oh, and we all have a different center, and what is balanced for you is confusing to me?
First, give yourself a break. Let yourself get used to your new routine, enjoy quiet moments with your baby—they really do slip by before you know it. After time, you will find a balance of work, baby, partner, extended family, friends, pets, home, illness.
BUT, one day you might realize that you lost a bit of yourself along the way. I know I did, as did many of my friends. I wish someone had advised me to within a year try to remember what you love to do–or want to try– when you are not working, mothering, partnering, cleaning, shopping, erranding, sleeping. Explore your mind, challenge your body,probe your soul and do not feel guilty for continuing your own journey through life. It will give you peace, relief, joy, quiet. A smile.
I think that finding something of your own is so important to happiness, whether you choose to work outside the home or not, once you have kids. We all know people who can only talk about their kids, their kids, their kids. Boring. Yes, I want to hear about their accomplishments, their tragedies, their amusing moments. But be able to converse about the world outside your home too.
“Don’t let your circle of friends get too small. Variety keeps life interesting,” that’s the advice I have given my kids since they were young. And I live by that myself. C