My name is Brianna, and I’m a chronic overachiever. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. From single-handedly taking on entire group projects in university (my teammates wanted to help, I just didn’t let them!), to becoming the top Enterprise Sales Representative at Shopify Plus while 7 months pregnant, I’ve never been able to feel accomplished until I’ve walked the line between extreme productivity and complete nervous breakdown.
After giving birth to my son, I waited patiently for this part of my personality to fade away. I resigned myself to the fact that I was now a mother, and braced myself for what I was sure would be an inevitable lapse in motivation. After all, I was about to spend an entire year immersed full time in the oldest, worst paying, and arguably most grueling profession in existence. If that wasn’t enough to kill my compulsive need to bite off more than I can chew, what would be?
However, a few months into my leave, something really weird happened. After the fog of the 4th trimester finally lifted and I emerged from a sea of chronic fatigue, puke and poopy diapers, I found myself...bored. I was strangely desperate for a project that would scratch a growing itch but was terrified to tell anyone for fear that they would label me clinically insane. After all, wasn’t being a mom supposed to be 100% fulfilling? Wasn’t I supposed to spend every waking moment thinking about and attending to my child’s every need?
Society, for the most part, says yes. We’re made to believe that after giving birth we are moms first and people second, and that our aspirations should take a hike until our kids are out of the house. For me, this wasn’t an option. I had an idea, a teeny tiny amount of spare time, a supportive husband who thought/probably still thinks I’m crazy, and some useful career skills, so I said fuck it. After all, what did I have to lose except more sleep?
Fast forward 6 months, and my little idea that could is all grown up. I’m not just a mom, I’m also the the proud founder of Dope Moms of Ottawa, the largest and fastest growing mom community in the National Capital Region. Thanks to my wonderful team of volunteers (who, by the way, are all moms too!), I have planned and executed tons of events, including a 200-person holiday party that sold out faster than a Beyonce concert. I’ve used my honed sales skills to negotiate discounts for our members with almost 30 baby-related businesses, and have had an absolute blast growing our Instagram page which has amassed almost 4k followers organically in just 4 months. I’ve also given back to the community more than I ever thought possible by partnering with a local mompreneur to design and sell merchandise with proceeds going to CHEO, raising over $4500 to date.
So mama, if you’re currently on maternity leave and you’re feeling melancholy but you don’t know why, I’m here to tell you that ambition is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is missing your old career or even wanting to explore a new one. Your dreams will stay dreams until you have the courage and tenacity to bring them to life, so trust me when I say that if you can give birth to a human, you can abso-fucking-lutely start a business on maternity leave. Or change your career. Or go back to school. Or achieve just about any seemingly impossible goal that you set your mind to. You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.
Brianna is the founder of Dope Moms of Ottawa, a social enterprise and rapidly growing online community of almost four thousand moms located in and around the National Capital Region. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, or at DopeMoms.ca.