As far as life lessons go, this has been one of my biggest so far… It’s possible to miss something without wanting it back.
It can apply to just about anything. From ex-boyfriends, to kids that are staying over at their grandparents, to your pre-baby career. I remember that inner wrestle I went through when my first baby was little, and I know that many others experience the same.
A part of us sometimes misses that validation that we got at work. At work, you get the satisfaction of getting something ‘right’. As a parent, there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong. There’s no performance review. You never really know how you’re doing at it. People tell you that you’re doing a good job, but then the things you see on Facebook tell you that you’re not. It can be confusing and exhausting.
It’s also common to miss that satisfaction of having money in the bank that you earned for yourself, by giving value to someone or something. There is something to be said about that feeling of getting up and putting on something nice. Of going somewhere with a specific purpose, other than just getting through the day.
At work, you get to have adult conversations, sit and eat a meal alone, drink a hot coffee and even pee in peace. Generally, there’s no one crying at you. You can sometimes even go the whole day without someone wiping their bodily fluids on your outfit!
But at the same time, we don’t necessarily want all that back. The thought of leaving our babies with someone else can be heartbreaking. The idea of squeezing our post-baby bodies into those old work clothes and slipping back into our old position somehow seems impossible.
Something about becoming a parent changes the very fabric of who we are. It can bring up so much of our own ‘stuff’. Being a parent often makes you look at what you really want in your life. Sadly, some relationships don’t survive that period of time. Mine didn’t the first time around. And often, it’s the same for many a well-planned career path. You can have all the plans in the world to go back to work, assuming your baby will just fit in around it all, but then this tiny person comes along and somehow the world is a different place.
When I was pregnant, I was in my dream job. There was no question as to whether I was going back. But then my baby came along. Everyone had told me it’d happen and I didn’t believe them. But they were right. I didn’t want to go back. I just couldn’t process the idea of missing out on so much time with her. I put it off as long as I could but eventually I had to resign from my position. I loved being home with my baby but I also had to go through the process of grieving my previous career.
It is ok to miss your previous life without wanting it back. It is ok to have different priorities and desires now that you’re a parent. It is also ok to have days where you wish you’d done things differently. As parents, a lot is required from us. We tend to give and give and give and it’s very easy to lose touch with our sense of self.
So often I work with mums who are feeling quite lost. They’re looking for the stimulation of using their skills, and the validation of contributing to their family financially. They want to do something, but often not what they were doing before.
What you did before might not suit your life now. It’s perfectly ok, and very normal to grieve that old life. It’s ok to be thrilled that it’s over at the same time. That old job might have felt safe and the idea of doing something different probably feels scary.
It can be easy to forget how capable you really are, when you’ve been so focused on raising tiny people. Mums often don’t realise that they have a whole new skill set that they didn’t have before. Being a mum to young kids requires patience, problem-solving, negotiation and some serious time management. Those are skills that apply to just about any job or business.
I’m happy to say I’m again in my dream job. But it’s not the same job as it was before. Now I work for myself, from home, with my kids around. I have total flexibility and I earn more than I did working full-time. And no, I’m not selling fruit and veggie pills, essential oils or Tupperware.
When I resigned from my office job and started my resume writing business, I doubted myself every day. But I’ve learned that if we never do anything that scares us, we never find out what we’re capable of. If you let your fear drive you’ll never leave the driveway. The thought of starting something new might be terrifying. Or perhaps it’s a little thrilling. In my experience, it’s usually both.
Carlie Maree is a resume writer and career coach for mums. She’s passionate about the value that mothers have to give and loves to empower women to chase their dreams, whatever they might be. She’s the founder of Resume School, where mums can learn how run their own thriving resume writing business from home. To find out more head over here.