Losing Myself in Motherhood, Finding Myself in Business
I always knew having kids would change me, but I didn’t want it to change my whole identity. I had been in my career for 8 years, I loved my job, and connected a large piece of my identity to my role as a business woman when I had my first.
After having my first baby, I took a 4-month maternity leave (which is not common in Canada, especially now that we can extend to 18 months). It was a decision that made sense for our family for a number of reasons, one of which is that I felt like taking ‘too much’ time off would negatively impact my career.
Those first few months at home were busy obviously, but there was a very large part of me that didn’t want to lose sight of ‘being me’ even though I had a baby. So, in my spare time (I.e. during late night feedings) I worked on my blog; writing, editing, and connecting with other ambitious women. I started building myself a brand. I was a Boss Mom!
Now what does it mean to be a Boss Mom you may be asking? In full transparency, I had no idea at the time! All I knew is that I enjoyed writing, and I didn’t want to feel like my role as a mother was going to turn my brain to mush, so I poured myself into my blog.
Now that I am more than 2 years in, I have a better idea of what it means to be a Boss Mom. It means letting go of the mom guilt, and being proud of your career goals, or entrepreneurial goals. It is understanding your strengths and accepting that we are not all meant to be Pinterest moms (I have an incredible respect for moms who are crafty and creative, but I am learning to be okay with the fact that I will never enjoy that type of activity). Being a Boss Mom means supporting other moms as they follow their dreams and embracing the term community over competition at its core and not just on the surface.
To me specifically, being a Boss Mom means breaking the mould and involving my babies in my role as a business woman. Although this is not something everyone wants to attempt, it was and continues to be important to me to demonstrate that it is possible to be a mom and a business woman at the same time.
My oldest daughter has joined me at my office on a number of occasions, and now my youngest has attended every meeting and networking event since she was born.
It has taken two years and two babies to not only understand what being a Boss Mom means to me, but also to feel like I am starting to find my way as a business woman again. Although I didn’t take very much time off work after having my first baby, I was not prepared for how out of place I would feel at my office.
Returning to work, I never felt like I fit in with the team the way I had before. I was fighting for that piece of my life to stay the same, when in reality it would never be the same, because I wasn’t the same. My boundaries were different when it came to staying late or answering emails in off hours. My priorities were different, my day was structured differently (mostly because I was still pumping at the time). Everything about my life was different, so obviously it would feel different when trying to mesh with my colleagues.
Now on my second mat leave and starting to think about my return to the corporate world, where does this leave my career? At this point I don’t know. I may go back to my job and find a new way to fall in love with it, I may change jobs, or I may even change career paths all together, and that’s okay. The only thing I do know is that bringing awareness to the idea of babies in the workplace is the way I tie my two worlds together right now.
If you ever want to talk about babies in the workplace, or your own struggles to find yourself as a business woman after having kids, I am always happy to lend an ear (usually during late night feedings). You can find me at @MillennialBossMoms on Instagram, or Millennial Boss Moms on Facebook.