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Motherhood- Navigating a Career Path You Can’t Quit

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Motherhood- Navigating a Career Path You Can’t Quit

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Motherhood is not for everybody.

Many of us simply weren’t born with the predisposition ideal for raising children- patience, selfless-ness and the ability to completely overlook peanut butter finger smudges adorning the sofa- just to name a few.

Motherhood requires the endurance of a marathon runner, and I have always been more of a sprinter.

I am impatient, OCD, moody AF (perhaps even bipolar), and value my freedom above all else.

Vaguely aware of this premise, I avoided conception as best as I could. That is… until I was told by an ER doctor that the appendix I suspected to be bursting was actually an embryo implanting into my uterus.

Knocked up at 27, I decided to repress all of my fears and preconceived notions about being a mom. I was going to commit to motherhood and I was going to be hopeful about it all.  Fantasies of being a stay-at-home mother began to entertain my imagination.

Fearing the dead-end reality of my mediocre marketing career, I postulated that traditional, domesticated motherhood would fill some sort of void. Acknowledging , deep down,  that I hadn’t found my calling in the business world,  perhaps homemaker could be “my thing”.

Still needing to maintain the cash flow however, I was able to negotiate a re-structuring of my Marketing Manager position. Leaving my employee status for contractor status, I could work from home with my little bundle of joy.

I felt so damn lucky . I got to have the best of both worlds!

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When you realize motherhood is making you miserable..

Once the sleep-deprivation of the newborn phase had somewhat subsided, stay-at-home motherhood was proving to be pretty freakin’ awesome.

All of that being said,  I was blessed with a super chill baby. In fact, he didn’t cramp my style too much at all. Taking him shopping with me or to nice restaurants, I was still able to maintain some semblance of a social life. This motherhood thing was a piece of cake!

I was so smug with my parenting experience that my husband and I actually decided to have another shortly after (in addition to purchasing our first fixer upper home to renovate). Life was good, and I felt fully in control and expansive.

AND THEN CAME THE TERRIBLE TWOS…..

I am not sure if it was the hormones from my second pregnancy (talk about major depression) or the fact that my two-year-old truly had it out for me, but as soon as my son started walking (and talking , and throwing major tantrums), all of my old fears regarding parenthood, began to surface.

Increasingly isolated from long-time friends and unable to make mom friends, all I could do was stew in my misery..alone.

Scrolling through social media to numb the boredom and loneliness only compounded the pain.  With my Facebook feed full of happy mommies with their happy children, doing all sorts of things I couldn’t muster up the energy for, I felt like a worthless failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my children so freaking much it hurts, but I began dreading each waking day.

From dressing my child to feeding him (or even putting him in his car-seat), every simple task was an overwhelming battle. I was f*cking miserable, and I knew something had to give. But how do you alleviate or solve the overwhelm of motherhood-a job you can’t simply quit?

Going back to a corporate job was out of the question. With now two daycare tuition fees required, I couldn’t afford to have an office job (not with my mediocre career accolades).

Giving Yourself Grace

I’ve often heard “encouraging” stories of mothers who decide stay-at-home parenting is not for them, so they simply make peace with this realization and return to their career. But what about those of us who didn’t have much of a career to begin with? What about those of us who haven’t yet found ourselves or our divine gifts?

To emerge from the hole I had dug for myself, I first had to forgive myself. I had to give myself grace- releasing my expectations of what I thought motherhood (or life in general) should look like.

I had to accept that I wasn’t helping anybody by being a martyr – allowing myself to stay in a situation where I was utterly miserable. Remember? If mama ain’t happy, aint nobody happy. 

I also had to accept that working and staying at home with my children 24/7 was becoming detrimental to my mental health (which could easily pose as a threat to my family).

By releasing unrealistic expectations and shame, I was able to see my life from a more objective stance.

From a more loving, less self-condemning perspective, I was able to think “outside of the box” for solutions and was ultimately inspired to start this blog.

Through prayer and meditation, I was guided to take a leap of faith and invest in part-time childcare (even when finances were painfully tight).

Looking back over four years later, I can say that investing in childcare and starting this blog (as a means to pay for said childcare), was the best decision for my family and I. It was a risk that proved to be a great investment. Even better, my blog generates more income than my lackluster marketing career ever did (yes…i eventually got to quit my main gig for my “side hustle”).

Not only am I a happier, more-fulfilled individual and more compassionate mother,  I have finally found a career I am truly obsessed with.

While I do still occasionally yell at my children (I did plenty of that on Christmas break), and I am still susceptible to depression, I wake up every day thankful for my miraculous transformation.

My life is now better than I ever could have f*king imagined.

Moral of the Story

Whether you are a stay-at-home mother in desperate need of this message, or someone who is simply feeling “stuck” in a miserable situation, just know that everything is “figure-out-able”.

Self condemnation or martyrdom is not doing anyone any favors.

Remaining in an unhealthy predicament because your preconceived notions led you to believe your life is supposed to look or be a certain way, is a slow death.

Get honest with yourself, release unrealistic expectations (or fear of judgement) and step out in faith!

There are so many blessings waiting for you on the other side of fear and uncertainty.

And if you like mantras, here ya go…

I love myself.

I forgive myself.

I release myself of unrealistic expectations.

I know I am doing the best I can.

Through small steps of faith and action, I will be guided to my solution.

Sending you all my love. You deserve to be happy!

And if you found this post helpful, please do me a big favor by sharing with friends or on social media. Thank you so much!

 

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Michelle

Wednesday 22nd of January 2020

Just read this post and love your honesty! I can totally relate to everything you just said. I decided to start a blog last year because I needed something for myself outside of motherhood! I missed working, making money, having career goals but also wanted to be here for my kids (even though it’s so freakin hard). Maybe I should look into childcare like you did because I am finding it so hard to make time for my blog. I know it will eventually get easier once the kids are in school but they are 4, 2 and 4 months old! It’s gonna be awhile till that day comes haha.

Designing Vibes

Thursday 23rd of January 2020

Even if it's just mother's day out once or twice a week, I highly recommend it. In fact, that's what i started off with, and it made such a difference. Remember...you can't fill from an empty cup. Hang in there, beautiful lady. xoxo

Anna Jennings

Wednesday 15th of January 2020

I knew that I wasn't alone in how I've been feeling about my family life. But it's nice to actually read it. I have an 8 month old, and I feel guilty, but not guilty at the same time that I've put him in daycare at the young age of 4 months. On the weekends, I have him all day, and it's very challenging. There are days when I think that I'd rather stay home with him, and then there are days that I'm glad I work a full time job. I know I shouldn't feel guilty. My sanity would be at stake. So thank you for this post!

Designing Vibes

Thursday 16th of January 2020

It sounds like you are doing the right thing, Anna. Stay at home motherhood was definitely not conducive to optimal mental health (for me at least). Wishing you the best! xoxo

Mary

Friday 10th of January 2020

Erica some things never change. I went through the same situation with my little ones. I think it is hardest when they are in the tender years. As they get older it gets easier because they have school and you get some more breathing space. Kudos to you for thinking of yourself and hiring someone.

Designing Vibes

Friday 10th of January 2020

Thank you so much for the encouragement, my friend. You are the best.

Julie S

Thursday 9th of January 2020

Love your realness! I'm a SAHM with an almost 4 and almost 7 year old, now *non-intensely* homeschooling for the last two years, and fairly ok with it all - but yeah, after my high achieving school/college success I was shocked to find out how NOT into the business world I was! Like, I didn't care very much and couldn't make myself look like I did for very long. Not successful! My last job pre-kids was undemanding in terms of team spirit but not stimulating or lucrative enough to want to go back after having a baby. I now think of myself as a sort of creative homebody, content with her own company, who most likes to pursue her own interests, and while I'm home with the girls all day I have lots of boundaries with them and carve out plenty of alone time without feeling guilty! Homeschooling is not my strongest skill or most adored thing at all, but it's right for our family and I mentally frame it it as meaningful work with people I care about, so that is huge :)

Designing Vibes

Friday 10th of January 2020

I can totally relate with the whole excelling in school but struggling in the real world situation. I praise you for homeschooling your children....you are one brave woman. I really wish I had what it takes to do the same, but I know it would be a disaster for all involved. haha! I hope you enjoyed your holidays, my friend.

Monica

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Love the honesty and vulnerability. A great post and a help to anyone struggling with a similar situation. I know it was the perfect read for me today. Thank you for sharing.

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 8th of January 2020

Your words have truly brightened my day, Monica. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me your feedback. Wishing you a fabulous week.

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