So you graduated from college, got a fantastic corporate job, and years later found the love of your life and got married. As a couple, you started building your dream life, a nice car, a beautiful house, and amazing vacation trips.
But then, for some reason, you still feel something is missing. You realize your 30tish-year old friends are getting pregnant, and although motherhood hadn't crossed your mind with that strength before, it seems you're approaching that portal.
An imaginary portal, where a family is waiting for you and the feeling that you can have it all: the life partner, the job, the house, the car, the trips and.... kids!
You're scared from the inside of your soul, but the clock is ticking, and it's time to start facing it: mother nature is waiting for you but not for so many years anymore.
You decide and embark on the motherhood journey, not really ready to cross that portal but certain about the timing. You opt-in for raising new life to your existence, either from your own body or from the adoption of a child. It's now or never.
That could be the beginning of a journey for any working mom. A journey with no map, full of surprises and mixed feelings of love and hate - almost simultaneously.
I'm writing about working moms with all gained authority of being one over the last 6.5 years. Motherhood has changed the way I see things, how I think, and my values.
I used to be very work-oriented. The Fabiana you see today is nothing like my old self from 7-10 years ago. I thought it would be much easier to reconcile work to motherhood, probably because I had no role models.
My mom stopped working after she gave birth to my older sister. Her mother and grandmother's life purposes were to get married, get pregnant and raise families.
But on my side, that's not exactly how I was raised. My parents took great care of my education and access to knowledge, trips, and the world. I was raised to have options and decide what I wanted in life.
I remember the day I decided to have my first baby. Actually, it was a bargain as my husband was trying to convince me to have 5! We negotiated that maybe 2 or 3 would be a half-way number :)
I thought it would take several months to get pregnant, just like it was happening to some of my friends. But it was not the case. I got pregnant exactly 2 weeks after I stopped taking birth control pills. From a spiritual perspective, mother nature was very aware of my timing.
I confess that during pregnancy, I thought that everything was going to be super easy after the baby was born. After all, in my (naive) imagination, kids were just kids, right? Nothing would change in my life, I would hire babysitters, and my mom was there to help me as well.
What happened after my first baby was born is something I still cannot explain. It was like my life was just upside down. The maternity leave passed as a snap. I went back to my corporate job, at an entirely new reality. My boss was dismissed during the time I was away. I came back to a different hierarchy. My dog died. I wanted to breastfeed my baby and lived 35 km from my home. How did I survive it all?
From my perspective, the people you have around you are an essential thing in motherhood. Your supportive network can be formed by paid help, family, friends, and neighbors. I surrounded myself with people I trusted and that I could rely on any circumstances.
I was able to breastfeed my 2 babies while holding corporate jobs because of technology. None of the companies I worked for had special rooms for pumping milk. It meant that I often had to connect my equipment in my car or look for inappropriate places to do that (including bathrooms, laundries, and meeting rooms).
I never regarded it as a sacrifice, and neither complained about my choice of extending breastfeeding for over 2 years for each kid. Instead, I adapted myself and used technology to enable me to complete my mission as a mother.
It took me more or less 5.5 years after my first kid was born to understand that there was no turning back. I tried so hard to go back to myself before motherhood for many years. I learned it the hard way: fighting anxiety and depression on many levels. It was only after a complete mindset shift that I understood it was ok not to be ok. And that motherhood is something I would never be ready for. I accepted I was not perfect and that multitasking was not the solution to raise human beings.
It's easy to say to be present. But that is ultimately what worked best for me. I decided to be with my kids and stay in the present when they needed me. I completely changed my working identity because of that decision. It didn't make any sense to keep feeding my ego anymore. I wanted my kids to be inspired by my true self. I wanted to serve others at my full power and not only to get a paycheck at the end of the month. I wanted more flexibility and to be there for them as well.
The fun fact about my story is that there is no better or worse path. I choose my path every day. I change and adapt my calendar and reality according to my kids and their needs. I suffer sometimes, and I feel guilty. This guilt is from either not working in the afternoon and staying at a playground with them or working an entire weekend and not having time to be with them. I'm still learning to balance and to accept that I can have it all, but probably not at the same time.
If you read until this point, there is the last thing I can share with you. Your kids just need a healthy and happy mom. Go for what makes you feel fulfilled, and you will inspire your kids. In the end, we all just want to be happy; we only complicate it a little bit in our motherhood journey ;)
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