So many professional women struggle with work-life balance and guilt for leaving their kids in daycare while they work, that more than 10 million decide to stay home for a while. This provides a break from the pressures of their careers and allows them to have a solitary focus on their children and family. Many moms who heed the call to stay home are very happy. Others are very happy for a while. Still others, while feeling good about their decision to spend time at home, bide time until they feel comfortable returning to work.
So – what happens when your career pull begins to reawaken?
How do you shift from spending all your time focused on family and home and begin to make room for work?
When you’re thinking about going back to work, there are common emotions that tend to show up.
You may feel ambivalence…
Your decision to put your career on hold for awhile is deeply rooted in your core values and beliefs. You made this decision based on what it means to you to be the best mother you can be, and to support your family’s needs. Your core values were the ones calling you to take a break from your profession so you could fully engage as the awesome mom you are.
So, when you start feeling that pull back to work – you may also start feeling an equal pull away – and that may cause you to feel emotionally ambivalent.
What you may be experiencing is what I call an emotional values clash inside of yourself.
How is that possible??
Likely because the definition of who you are as an adult is strongly linked to your career success and the person you became as a result.
After all, your career is where you likely grew, embraced and learned to enjoy your adult wings.
Because of this internal values clash you’re likely not going to find the perfect job until you go within to create your path forward based on the new, fully-integrated you.
Now is time for deep work.
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This may be a good time to begin a journal, talk to others, and spend time working on yourself; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
You may feel fear…
It’s likely that when you left your career, you were motivated by other things… and it is NOT likely that you were motivated by your business success at that time.
As a result, you may be filled with questions and fears of the unknown:
- Will I be able to get a job?
- Will anyone want to employ me now?
- Will I find flexible work hours?
- What if my child gets sick?
- What if they ask me to travel?
There are literally so many unknowns at this point. And, when we face unknowns, most people’s trained response is to be afraid.
BUT, I’d like to invite you to really observe those fears and instead of turning away from them – turn toward each one, and see it as an area where you need MORE information. For instance, if you really are afraid that your job will make you travel – this is exactly where you need to begin to explore your own boundaries and rules when it comes to your new ideal job.
Again – I’d write a similar prescription: This may be a good time to begin a journal, talk to others, and spend time working on yourself; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In addition, you may want to look into Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) & Tapping. There are hundreds of resources available on line and via a quick search.
You may feel guilt…
Ah – the grandest of all the mommy emotions… GUILT. It’s as if you get a free – backstage pass the moment you become a mommy… Someone magically opens the door to Motherhood, to be greeted with: “Welcome to motherhood… Here’s your back-stage pass to everything you’ll DO WRONG on behalf of your children.”
Well, here is the scoop on guilt… somewhere down the line, someone likely taught you about guilt.
Unless you’ve committed a real crime, then guilt is something someone else TOLD YOU about, or you experienced in some way, and it’s likely got a DEEP and STRONG hold on you. (Believe me, it had a hold on me somethin’ fierce!) I had a stay-at-home mom… she worked, she had a private piano studio and directed a choir, but – she ‘defined’ herself as a MOM… always there for me ! (Regardless of whether she was or not, that was the ‘story’ in my family!)
That’s my story, and, if you really search back in your memory, you may find the golden moment (or moments) when the subliminal message “mom is always there” resonated as well…
Guilt is what I call a “thrown” emotion in this case…something that you’ve likely ‘caught’ from someone or something else. Until you see it for what it is, and see where it might have initiated, it will serve as a weight around feet, even as you’re growing your wings.
When you DO begin to see guilt more clearly, it will help you create appropriate boundaries around your work life so that you can create adult/me/career time, and a place for your time as a mom.
Now there may be a boat load of other emotions going on, but those three are likely some of the biggies.
What You Need Most Right Now
Because of where you are, and because it’s very important to honor both your mom-self, as well as your adult-self, it’s critical for you to take the time you need to get some clarity here. It’s time to shift from letting these emotions stop you, to letting the emotions serve as your navigation tools to what is next!
Your Breakthrough Assignment
To set yourself up for success and happiness in your life, you need to begin the arduous process of re-defining your life day by day!
Here are some easy ways to begin the process:
- Define your ideal day.
- Write out a dream plan of what your ideal job would be. How often would you work? With whom? Where? When?
- Define your ideal ‘you’! How would you eat, behave, think, act and respond? Where would you exercise? What would you wear? Where would you go?
- Now, define your ideal time with your child(ren).
- Then, focus on how you define what is ‘enough’ time with your kids that will make you happy.
- And don’t forget to create a plan for how you’d like to spend time with your spouse.
Begin with a vision of what you want and what YOU call ideal is a unique process known only to you. One person may be happy with volunteering at church, where another may want to be the president of the PTA, while another person may want to kick back into gear and fully engage in a full time job again.
It really doesn’t matter what you net out with – but THAT you go through this process from the inside out. Because without clarity, you won’t take right actions (that align with who you are and what you really want), and you will feel the emotional consequences later on down the line.
In order to find clarity to move forward, you need to figure out where you are right now, accept it as ‘so’, and then use this experience (and all that has gone before you) to create the vision of what is next on your life’s adventure.