I’m ready to go back into the workforce. Whether that means going back to my profession of teaching, pursuing a small business venture, or experimenting with a new career path, I feel ready for anything. Getting into this head space took more preparation and effort than I ever imagined. After three years of being away from the grind of preparing lesson plans, attending meetings, meeting deadlines and dressing professionally (ok that last thing is not really a grind), one can imagine how nerve-racking it could be to get back into that flow. Admittedly, I haven’t entirely gotten used to this lifestyle of spending a large part of my day in my jammies and not having the motivation to style my hair. Babies who enjoy wearing their food and pulling my hair don’t exactly give me the encouragement a mother needs to maintain her appearance! Nonetheless, I’ve made a conscious effort to get out of my stay-at-home mom funk and prepare myself for the “outside” world.
The following methods have really been working for me, allowing a significant change in my confidence and determination. I’m sharing these pointers in hopes that they can help you too!
When you have more than one child in the house, the plethora of toys, diapers, snacks, and clothes can be daunting. If tackling the entire home is hard right now, pick 1 room. For me that room is the kitchen, which is where I spend a lot of my time. When I have a tidy kitchen, I have a clear head and tend to be more inclined to cook or bake. If I de-clutter my bedroom, I’ll be more inclined to rest! Another good space to look after is an office (sometimes AKA the dining table!). De-cluttering a physical area simultaneously clears head space. When you don’t have junk to look at, it gets easier to organize your thoughts and get in touch with yourself.
2. Think out loud
In a household with a colicky baby, a tantrum-y toddler, a blairing television, repitive nursery rhymes, etc. – losing your voice is inevitable. I found my thoughts piling up in my head and overwhelming. Exhausting. I decided to just start sharing my ideas for personal and professional projects with my better half and some friends. I started to talk about new goals I found myself developing as my husband, my growing babies and other women inspired me. I asked myself, what am I passionate about? These conversations are ongoing, and so healthy.
3. Negativity is counterproductive
Surround yourself with positive vibes. Being a new mom, particularly to very young children that are close in age, has shown me how dark some days can get. It’s not always sunshine and buttercups! Buttons are pushed, patience is tested and my mental and physical state is constantly challenged (imagine a toddler elbowing you in the stomach or a baby girl’s high-pitched shriek at 2a.m.). You have enough on your plate. The last thing you need is toxicity, whether it’s in the form of a bad relationship or a bad habit. Kick it to the curb. Remember that above all, your little ones need you to be an intellectual, positive, and dignified role model.
Use the resources that are at your disposal. Once you’ve figured out what floats your career boat, look it up. If you’re going back to your job, have practices changed since you left? Are there new employees at the office you might want to meet beforehand? If you’re seeking something new, are you qualified? Is your résumé ready to face the competition? Dig into your network and see who can connect you to the right people and places. Make phone calls. Read. Keep learning, it will give you clarity and confidence.
Do it. Choose your return date and step back into that office (or classroom?) that you know so well. It won’t be as hard as you think because you will have your colleagues there to support you. Or, apply for that new job. You have nothing to lose! You never know what new possibilities await you unless you face them.
Sometimes the obstacle is not time, nor your family, it’s you. You have to break out of your mommy-shell and throw yourself back into the ocean of adults. You have to do this guilt-free. You have to redefine your priorities, and your purpose. Give yourself a chance. Cheer yourself on. Remind yourself that the world is your oyster.