Welcoming a newborn and the postpartum emotions that followed were a hard adjustment. An adjustment I never saw coming. I pictured my first weeks of motherhood to be a fairytale with a beautiful sleeping newborn, plenty of time for myself & husband, and a routine that would make itself. Boy was I off. As I mentioned in this post a few weeks ago, postpartum caught me off guard. I had a case of the postpartum blues and it took a good eight weeks to get over them.
During our pregnancy, my husband and I had spent a lot of time making plans for how our lives would be with a little one in tow. Last Fall, we made the decision to partner my business with another company, eliminating a lot of the work. This would allow me to stay home with our little one. But a few weeks into motherhood, I started to question myself and our plans.
I felt trapped. I felt unsuccessful. I felt like a slob. I felt like I wasn't meant to be a mother. I convinced myself that a daycare would be more fit than I was to take care of Brody. That I couldn't possibly spend all day at home. That the extra money would allow Brody to have a bigger yard and more clothes and more toys. That my time away from him would make me a better mother. So one afternoon after a frustrating morning with a cranky baby, I went online, found a job that sounded like the perfect fit and applied.
Little did I know, this would become a key moment for me to overcome my postpartum blues. The process of applying for a job, going through the extensive interview process, and eventually receiving and declining an offer helped me realize I already had my dream job and it was right in front of me.
Here's how applying for a job helped:
It made spend time on myself.
My overgrown eyebrows, un-showered body, face that hadn't worn makeup in weeks and hair that had not been styled in months were just a few contributing factors to my post-baby funk. With an interview on the calendar, I had to look the part. This meant shopping for a few new outfits that actually fit my postpartum body. It meant making that hair appointment that was months overdue. It meant taking some "me" time away from the house to start feeling like my old self again.
It forced me to make a list of what was important.
Through the process, I had to do a lot of reflecting on what was important to me. One night I made a physical list. My husband, Brody, extended family, travel, blogging and fitness took the lead. These were areas I didn't want to make sacrifices in. Things I had to be sure to have the time for. Seeing this written on paper helped remind me that I needed to be making the time for these things that meant so much to me even in the chaos.
It forced me to put a price on my time with Brody & my husband.
Expected salary is a go-to question in any job interview. Knowing that this was going to be asked, I had to put a dollar amount on my time away from Brody. Thinking about it this way helped me realize that my time and flexibility were priceless right now. It might mean eating out a few times less or shopping the sale section a few times more, but at this very moment in time, it is worth it for our little family.
It helped me realize that you can still be successful staying home.
There are so many different ways to measure success. At some points in life it was all about career success, job titles, money and notoriety. But interviewing taught me that those same feelings associated with success could be found at home. The feelings that come when you get the laundry all put away. The feelings that come with watching your little one learn to giggle. The feelings that come when you meet a new mom friend. These highs are hard to beat.
It brought me peace for where I am.
I don't know what the future holds for me career-wise, but what I do know is that right now, I am right where I need to be. I get to spend every day with my little guy. I get to experience every milestone right by Brody's side. I get to keep all his sweet little smiles to myself. I get to be a mom and it's becoming better than I ever even imagined!
The decision to stay at home, work from home, or work away from home can be a difficult one to make for any mother. There's no right or wrong choice. We all just want the best for our children.