How I transitioned back to work postpartum as a second time mom with minimal stress and guilt
I’ve witnessed how different the experience is within and between nurturing two children, let alone the differences in life circumstances, obligations, and values developed along the way. With my second child hitting the milestone of 1 year old, there are a few things I’ve learned about myself and the role of mother in general that are giving the transition new meaning.
1. Practicing new routines helps me feel less overwhelmed; at the same time, I do not put too much pressure on following through with such routines.
It's been a fluctuation of waking up around 5 a.m. to craft, prepare food, and read – and not doing so.
A fluctuation of keeping up with those fuckin’ dishes that give a yucky sensory experience AND a sense of accomplishment for putting my mind to it – and not doing so.
I’m acknowledging the calm it's been bringing to my life while recognizing I will benefit from being more consistent. No shame in this game.
2. Providing care and patience to my ever-evolving identity.
The identity dilemma stemmed from my closet (you can witness this in a short video clip of one of my latest Instagram reels). I learned a little trick about shopping in my closet.
Seeing the outfits I could create out of what I already had was exciting. The commitment to wearing these outfits fell flat as I tailored these outfits according to the “2023 fall fashion trends”.
I started over again, flexing my creativity skills to create outfits that feel like ME, not what I think the working mom of 2023 should be wearing. Again, with the goal of not adding any shame or pressure when this closet shopping practice fluctuates (newsflash, it already has :p).
3. Recognizing a lifestyle I assumed would bring balance and well-being was doing the opposite.
Having a home office nook during this season of life was not in the cards for me. I assumed I would be in my absolute element working from home.
This element just turned out to be an unorganized, sensory overload that was a goldmine landfill for my 1-year-old to forage through and a haven for my 3-year-old’s puzzle pieces, crayons and trinkets.
This is okay. I am relieved to know I have an office outside of my home to make into a productive “me” space and that I can turn the nook of my house into the crafting/art space me and my kiddos will adorn during the holidays.
4. Radical acceptance of the push and pull of time.
There were times when I felt guilty about building a business during my maternity leave. There were times when things felt like they weren’t moving fast enough.
This experience created two paths I were to choose from: feeling shame about what I was doing and not doing, or being as present as I could be in that moment, working, playing, and cuddling alongside this baby that is having the absolute time of her life regardless.
Overall, it felt like I was going down my path. Not the “right” or “wrong” path, but the path that was developed according to the values of authenticity and creativity that I made a goal to live by at the beginning of the year. I feel true to myself, honing the skills I want to strengthen in unique and flexible ways.
With 2024 around the corner, what values do you plan to cultivate and use as a guide for living with minimal guilt?