Having children changes everything. I was enjoying a successful career as a teacher whenever I had my first child. I returned from maternity leave with a new perspective on life and what mattered to me at that point in time. The death of my maternal grandmother made the emotional shift all the more real. I notified my place of employment that I would not be returning for the upcoming school year.
My stay at home mom status unexpectedly transformed into work from home mom status within a year. While chasing a toddler around the house and carrying another bundle of joy in my belly, I founded Mom Talk with Denise LaRosa, LLC. Nearly 3 years, 2 kids, thousands of followers, half a dozen sponsorships, and a successful children's book later, I made a conscious decision to go back into the classroom. Now this decision didn't mean I would abandon my entrepreneurial pursuits - much to the contrary! Instead, I would have to find a rhythm in life that would afford me the opportunity to experience all of my passions in an effective way. Easier said than done, right?! RIGHT!
Here are 5 steps I took to make this journey a smooth transition for my family and me:
1. Establish a routine. According to Ahaparenting.com, "Structure and routines teach kids how to constructively control themselves and their environments." My girls were used to me being with them 24/7. I knew that this change in our family structure would have a strong impact on our girls; I just wanted to be sure that the impact was positive, healthy and as smooth as it possibly could be. I made sure we had established our new routine before going back to work. The first few weeks were very challenging. My oldest daughter's behavior at school changed, but thankfully she went to an amazing school that kept the lines of communication open between us. Her teacher contacted me to inform me that my oldest was more emotionally fragile and sensitive. This news helped me to equip her with some social skills and important lessons on how to feel her feelings and address them in a positive way. Go into this new season knowing that there will be bumps in the road, but it will smooth out in due time.
2. Fine ME time. This is perhaps the most important piece to the puzzle! My oldest daughter attends the school where I work, which makes finding ME time extremely challenging. I am "ON" from sun up to sun down and there have been days where I feel like everyone is pulling on me and I am going to fall apart into a million pieces! Whenever I have those days, I realize that's my body and spirit telling me I haven't had enough ME time. I don't care if it's 5 minutes in the bathroom, mamas, YOU HAVE TO FIND ME TIME! It's a nonnegotiable! It is essential to your well-being and overall health. Get a massage. Read a book. Meditate. Lay down and close your eyes for a few minutes. Sing at the top of your lungs in the car. Whatever it is, do it for you and it will benefit everyone around you!
3. Establish boundaries. I cannot be everything to everyone all the time. Period. That doesn't make me inadequate. It makes me human. Here are the facts y'all: I am a 36 year old mother of a 2 year old and 4 year old. I am a teacher. I am a business owner. I am a wife. (These are not in a particular order.) I will ALWAYS be a wife and mother 24/7 no matter what. My family will always come first, and I have learn to embrace and celebrate that fact. Business and work, however, are areas that I can turn "on" and "off." It doesn't mean that I don't care about teaching or running a business. In fact, because I care and want to be my best, I do what I have to do to avoid burn out and resentment. I try to establish specific times in the day and night to do teacher stuff and business stuff. I encourage you to do the same.
4. Lean on fellow working mom friends. Before I went back to work, I reached out to a dear friend of mine who is a successful working mother, entrepreneur and author. Nicole Narvaez Manns of Nikki's Magic Wand, had these powerful words to share with me...
We have to stop and be thankful for everything that you do have on your plate because many, many people wish they had the smarts, time, drive to create something from scratch as you have (MomTalk). Many people want to bear children and many want to teach. You are blessed in every aspect of that.
I encourage you to lean on your fellow working mom friends for support while offering the same love and support to them. Nikki's friendship and mentorship has motivated and inspired me on days whenever I thought I was trying to do the impossible. Your working mom friends understand your journey because they are traveling the journey with you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
5. Get your mind right. I have adopted affirmations to get me through the day. Statements like, "I am enough," help me to embrace who I am and where I am on this journey. There will be people and situations that will put your self-worth to the test. The beauty of life is that you can control how your respond to these people and circumstances! When you hear yourself saying positive affirmations that affirm who you are, you truly embody those words and this serves as amour that protects you from the storms of life.
I want you to know that YOU'VE GOT THIS SISTER! You CAN have it all, just not all at once. Find your rhythm, follow these steps and trust that everything will work out in your favor!
What else has worked for you as you transitioned from stay at home or work from home mom to working mom? Please share in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you! xoxoxo