As I sit down to write this post, I feel like I have taken to motherhood like a duck to water; but has being a mum changed me?
I first noted this down as a post idea when cutie was only a few months old and I was still on maternity leave. I found myself asking this question silently one day as I was out power walking with the pram! The short answer I gave myself then was yes……. and no!
On the surface the question seems quite straight forward but as I began answering myself I quickly established it was anything but. I am now back at work and finding the old me again but also finding out that yes I have changed and yes I quite honestly think it is for the better. I am less stressed for one.
I am still the highly driven person who is most definitely ambitious, hardworking and motivated, however when I look at what motivates me now, I can see my reasons for it have changed. Before cutie arrived on the scene, my motivation was to exceed the expectations that others had set for me, to prove people wrong, to live the dream and to gain the appreciation and recognition of others.
Nowadays my driving factor is to set an example to cutie, to show him what a good work ethic is, provide him with the best quality of life he can hope for and to give him everything he every wanted (without creating a spoilt brat in the process). However there are still some motivators that remain the same yet with a new and/or deeper emphasis.
- Making money; not because I am greedy, but because by doing so I will be able to afford for him to do all the different extra curricular activities he will enjoy.
- Having a nice house; not to keep up with the Jones, but because its more than just brick and mortar, its building a home, a safe environment that provides him not only with shelter but with sanctuary, love and warmth; a place he wants be in and to come home to.
I still hold a highly pressurised job which is demanding and yet rewarding all at the same time. However gone is the highly stressed woman who struggled to sleep at night, would be on call to anyone 24/7 and who would be emailing at 2am. Instead a calmer new me has replaced this old version. One who understands that whilst the business decisions are important and often time critical, they are not the end of the world. That things go wrong; they just do and all the control in the world cannot stop that eventuality from happening when it does. So now I take a deep breath, often a step back and check things with thought and logic as opposed to jumping straight in with my sleeves rolled up and watching as I sink in the quick sand up to my knees.
I am a working mum yes, I am a director, I am a business woman and nothing gives me a thrill like a business deal does; that will never change. However I have learnt it is not my entire world, my priorities have shifted.
I value my family, I value taking the time to make the most of the little things. Those little feet and hands will not stay little for long and if I don’t stop and take a moment now, it will be too late and once it is gone I will never get it back again.
I now see that spending quality time with my husband, just the two of us, is hugely important to all the other areas of my life. If we are on the same page, then I know I have his support, that he will be there to take cutie off my hands when I need to focus on business, house, home or anything else (he is taking a stroll with him to enable me to get this post ready – See it really does work!) Equally it enables me to have time focused 100% on cutie, where it is just the two of us and nothing else matters. Where I turn the phones to silent and the email ignored. It has most definitely created a better work-life balance!
Now reading this may have many thinking that I have swapped out the success of a high-powered career to become a caregiver. That my business, staff and clients will all be suffering as a result. But quite honestly that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am no longer on burn out, with a million things fighting for my attention and only giving a small slither of myself and my consciousness to those who need it. Instead now I am 100% focused on the individual and the task at hand, as I have compartmentalised my life and can now dedicate sections to each element.
“ My mother drew a distinction between achievement and success. She said that achievement is the knowledge that you have studied and worked hard and done the best that is in you. Success is being praised by others. That is nice but not as important or satisfying. Always aim for achievement and forget about success. ”
— Helen Hayes
I realise now having become a mother that not only have I gained a wealth of new skills I have also honed and perfected some of my old ones too!
I love organisation! Spend a fortune each year on planners and various apps that allow me to manage my time the most efficiently. Since becoming a mum I have ramped up this old skill to a whole new level now that I am a mum, as I am now able to plan in time for all elements of my life, the baby’s needs, my husbands, the businesses, and even my own!
I have stopped giving time to worries that I am powerless to control and trivial matters that don’t matter, I have some how become a lot less highly strung and as a result the small stuff and perfection I was seeking no long cause massive melt downs. I still strive for perfection, but now I only allow it to consume a predetermined amount of time. If I can’t fix it in the allotted time then its rescheduled to another free space, rather than it taking over my entire life until it is right.
Whilst this may seem like I never get anything done, it has indeed had the opposite effect as I now find I waste less time on the worries and that I am not tired or fed up with working on the item as I have allowed myself a break and to walk away, returning with fresh eyes.
Ultimately I am still the same person underneath, becoming a mother has simply added an extra layer to me, a bit like learning a new language. There is part of me that has been changed forever, of course and part of me that has disappeared for now, but I know that as cutie grows into a proper little boy over time I will get back the elements of the me I miss and enjoyed. However the resulting person will be better, stronger, more skilled and less stressed!
Everyone should review their life goals every year anyway, and whilst longer term goals still hold value and relevance becoming a mother has meant some of the timelines have changed and in fact has presented me with a whole other level of goals I want to do.
So whilst it has taken motherhood for me to make changes in my life, having looked back over all the areas I wanted to cover in this post, I feel there are valuable lessons that anyone can take away and begin putting into practise.
It would be very interesting to know if other new mums have experience any life alternations since their little one’s have arrived and whether you view yourselves as changed for the better or the worse?