If I had f#cks to give before, I have zero to give now.
I remember coming back from maternity leave to the job I had with the City of Boston. The staff meetings felt different to me. I definitely had a new calmness and confidence about me. One of my boss even asked what had gotten into me because I was speaking so freely. Nothing had gotten into me; I had a baby come out of me!
It’s true that motherhood might just be one of the most difficult things you ever do. Especially when it is new and you are new to it. Sleepless nights and a tiny human sucking the nutrients from your body (if you are breastfeeding) can drain a person. I tried desperately to get my child to take formula. I tried to get her to take a bottle or even a pacifier! My baby refused. And I was too tired to fight it. So, she is breastfed.
However motherhood happens for you, it is exhausting and soul draining. Bless your hearts for enduring! The good news is when you get to the other side (the other side meaning whenever you begin to feel comfortable in your mothering skills), or at least get to a place where you don’t feel like you are drowning anymore (that’s a better way to describe it for me), you are met with a shiny new confidence like you never experienced before.
The very first time I got on the treadmill again (no I do not run regularly – that first time back did not turn into a routine of any sort), I remember thinking “if I can survive a c-section, c-section recovery, and the first six weeks of motherhood, I can survive anything.” And so I ran for the next thirty minutes even though I was almost positive I was going to pass out or die. I knew I could handle it. Because when you handle motherhood, well, you can handle anything.
Then when I went back to work, I was definitely tired, but I no longer cared what people thought about me. I knew way more instinctively that the job I did and the work I produced was fantastic. There was less doubt or insecurities about my abilities or who I was as a person. It was/is awesome!
Oh and I have to tell you this, I felt comfortable speaking up for myself. My boss started speaking to me in a demeaning way and I brought it up at one of our meetings. When the behavior was repeated, I told my boss I was going to leave the office if my boss was going to continue speaking to me in that way. Some women did stuff like that before kids; I did not, so it was a big step for me in claiming my own dignity.
In other respects, I am more organized than I have ever been in my entire life. Taking care of a human means that I have to make sure all of my time is used appropriately or I get no time for myself. I started planning the dinners I would cook each week (and I made sure all of those meals could be cooked in less than 30 minutes!). I set aside time to investigate a business I wanted to start (you are looking at that business right now). I made small steps to start that business (I’m talking about Oh My Motherhood). Even my finances got organized. I tracked my finances each month and watched and continue to watch my debt decrease. I took a first time home buyers workshop and have since begun to prepare to buy a house (when more debt is paid off, of course). Getting organized and accomplishing dreams gave me even more confidence.
Even if you don’t feel confident within the first year, when you do start feeling like your head is above water, there is confidence waiting for you. Some will feel it sooner than others. There is this liberation that comes with motherhood. It feels as though I have received way more authorization over your personal and professional life.
Is my life perfect? Far from it. There are still days I count down hours until bedtime so I can breathe again. Maybe it is because my priorities have changed that I have more confidence. I am not crushing dreams I had before children, I am crushing the dreams I have set for myself now, as a mother, with a full-time job. Maybe it is the shift into motherhood in general. I don’t know. What I do know, is I am crushing my dreams with a new confidence and determination I’ve never been able to muster before.
In conclusion, shout out to my baby for the zero f#cks I’m giving these days!