I’ve done a lot of soul searching lately, which requires a lot of reflection as well. It’s been hard to navigate some tricky life transitions, but let me give you a quick, high-level overview of the last couple of months:
October 2016: Our beautiful firstborn daughter was born
January 2017: Started attending Next Level Fitness, launched my own side-hustle consulting company, and went back to work after maternity leave only to get laid off.
March 2017: Started a new job part-time
I was stressed, sleep-deprived, and just trying to keep my head above water. It was a pretty intense way to start the new year.
I felt overwhelmed with what seemed like losing and gaining key pieces of my identity.
As I was navigating these job changes, body changes, family changes, and identity changes, this is how I spent my days at home:
Googling “What do moms do for fun?” Every article I found pretty much pointed to running errands alone. Are you kidding? That’s not fun; that just needs to be done. At the same time, as much as I wanted to go do something, what I truly wanted and needed is to just take a nap.
Working on my resume trying to identify and figure out what type of company I want to work for next. Which was especially difficult because my friends and family can’t even articulate what it is I actually do.
Nursing my newborn and wondering how moms get anything done being in a cycle of diapers, dishes, and general chaos. I wanted to be productive and pursue my passions, but had zero time to focus on anything other than the daily grind.
Asking myself questions like: Who am I? What do I like? Why do I want “me” time if I don’t even know what I want it for? Is this time simply now gym time with my husband? Do all new moms question how they spend their time?
My brain and hormones were screaming, “Devote yourself to your baby!” and I totally should (and want to), but there are so many other “shoulds” that our culture also places on our shoulders.
Was I selfish for wanting more when I should be cuddling? Was I lazy for cuddling when I should be getting work done?
I needed a mantra–something to re-ignite my spark. Being cooped up inside all winter with a newborn had me feeling especially antsy, and I was itching to get back into a routine and working again. I needed to feel productive, and I wanted to be mentally-stimulated again. I found myself jealous of my husband, his hobbies and career goals–he seems so focused.
This particular season of transition has been a challenging one. While I know that it has felt tough at times, I also know that everyone has their own struggles and mine are a drop in the bucket to some. Being a first time parent, there is so much to learn and so many ways you have to adjust and adapt your life.
Navigating any transition (new job, new kid, death, going back to work, deciding to stay home, etc.) you may experience a “funk.” The key is to give others, and ourselves, grace as we figure it all out. There will always be things that come up and change your routine and dynamic, so staying open and nimble is important. I try every day and have found the following strategies helpful in my quest.
5 Tips for Navigating Challenging Life Transitions
Lean on Other Moms
I have a great group of mom friends that support me and pray with me about all that life throws our way
Make Time for Me
I’ve been trying to set aside “me” time. I stopped waiting for my husband and others to tell me to take a break, I’m getting better at just telling them that I will be back and leaving (not feeling guilty about this is SO hard). Taking the time for myself is not only good for me and my mental health, but also for my family – I’m a better mom and wife when I take care of myself first
Systemize Daily Challenges
I identified two areas as our biggest daily struggles: 1) What are we going to eat? and 2) The house is a wreck. Rather than letting these two things continue to throw me off, I’ve been working on “go-to” recipes we like, and we enlisted a cleaning service 2x a month. Be proactive to streamline your efforts.
Set goals/create a vision board
It’s more important to have a general idea of where you want to go and who you want to be than exactly HOW it’s all going to happen. Start with a vision, and the details will work themselves out with time.
Make Time With Your Spouse
Lately, we have been having more impromptu dates, like lunch or ice cream during the work day. It’s easy to get consumed and exhausted with the routine and feel like you are passing out next to a stranger. Be intentional about creating time to keep your foundation solid.
I’m far from feeling like I have anything figured out, and I’m starting to accept that I may never feel like that. I think to a certain degree, we are all still figuring everything out. Even people we think have it down have people they look up to. Just be the best you can and try to stay positive about all you have going for you. Everyone is in a balancing act, just with different things.