'The 'What Now?' Stage of Motherhood'
So... in a very welcomed change to my usual posts, let me introduce you to fellow boss babe: Naomi Benjamin (@mrs.benjamin16). She is a Wife, Mother and Owner of Naomi Deru Dressmaking and Sew in Kent (Creative Space for Sewing Enthusiasts and Fashion Students) and this post is in collaboration to share and start up a conversation on what we call the 'what now?' stage of motherhood.
So you’ve bought the house, had the fairytale wedding, had the baby… What now?
As a young girl, I always fantasised about growing up, finding the man of my dreams and having a lovely little family whilst living in a house with a white picket fence - you know, the kind of picture you see on a cereal commercial. So when my dreams became reality all within the space of a year I couldn’t understand why what was supposed to feel like a fulfilled dream felt like limbo to me. Why was I feeling totally confused, like I had lost purpose?
As a business woman I always knew that I was going to face challenges with juggling both business and baby quite early on in motherhood, questions like “How much time should I take off for maternity leave?“
“Will I be able to manage all these new hats simultaneously?”
“I now have this huge responsibility - Do I even want to continue with this business?” All these thoughts flooded my mind.
With my new joy and motivation for my home, husband and baby I started to shy away from anything work related and most importantly I started to lose myself! It’s already bad enough that I had gained a lot of weight and couldn’t even recognise myself! The things I used to indulge in that made me feel myself was also pushed aside.. things as simple and having my nails done almost became like a selfish act in my eyes.
So question is, how did I get get out of the ‘What Now’ Stage?
- Communication Speaking to family and friends allowed me to put my life and priorities into perspective. They reminded me of the person I used to be before my baby came. I was reminded that I am a Strong, Talented, Creative, Business Minded, God-fearing woman which was so easy to forget as I went through the ‘What Now?’ stage.
- Create a Vision Board Creating a vision board was an excellent idea which helped me to visualise my goals and ambitions and my personal aspirations such as what kind of mother and wife I wanted to become, my body goals even down to the healthy food choices I wanted to make, this helped as motivation when I felt lost.
- Ease Yourself Back To Normality A big part of easing back to normality for me was getting back into running my business, this had me doing less days in the week but fulfilling my purposes of creating dream dresses for my clients. Easing myself back to normality helped me to find myself again. This encouraged me to see more than just the four walls of my home, rekindle friendships, travel, socialise and explore the world as a new woman!
The uncertainty of what comes next after having a baby can be daunting. Trusting this 'greater plan' for your life – when you have no idea where you are going or how you are even going to get there – is even scarier. I definitely experienced this after having my son. It sounds quite ironic right? Having a baby is meant to fill you up with all this purpose. But what if the contrary is how you feel?
I've always been a hard worker; to give you a little idea, I can remember being in primary school and crying to my mum for getting 9 out of 10 in a spelling test, which sounds silly I know, but was the beginning of this 'rat race' to succeed. In all honesty I've pushed myself academically and physically ever since and, sometimes, if I'm honest, I'm very tough on myself; my own worst critic, I'd say.
Of course there are benefits to pushing yourself but, when you get to this crossroads of motherhood it can be lonely and unfulfilling. Flash forward about 20 years, life... well, motherhood to be more specific, posed to me this very question:
"What next?", so you've had a baby but, again... "What next?"
Days, weeks and even months went by and I found myself caught up in the busyness of motherhood (playgroups, sensory classes, kiddy parties) and when the day would end I would ask myself, "Is this it?".
I think it is important to mention that it's not a constant feeling but is one that does creep up on you now and again (well that is true for me at least). Of course my son is such a blessing I am eternally grateful for and my motivation to keep going on most days but aside from the 'mummy duties' sometimes your passions and aspirations sit on a back burner and leave you wondering what life has next in store for you, if anything at all.
I'll find myself looking at those around me going after that new job or frantically saving for that house, but, without me sounding ungrateful, when those things have been checked off 'the list' or perhaps have no care for those things anymore, life can feel stagnant.
So I'm sure you're asking, 'Do you still feel that way?' and 'Deb what are you doing about it?'
My answers respectively: "Sometimes" and "This"...
- Remember motherhood is probably the most impactful and rewarding job you can have. So when you feel unfulfilled, remind yourself of your power as a mum.
- Take up a hobby completely unrelated to motherhood that can keep you stimulated. I exercise and sing in my down time. It's therapy for me.
- Talk to God about your worries and anxieties, or journal about them and pray on it. There is no comfort like the Father's love.
- Know that you are NOT alone! There are other mothers that feel the exact same way. Find a mum that you can relate to on what you are going through. This collaboration is a great example of that very fact. ___________________
We hope this reaches you mama, right when you need it!
Simply Deborah xo