Reflections from a first-time mother
by Natalie Henry-Charles
So, today I want to talk about working/balance/letting go/giving in to the process. I have not posted in quite a while. No excuses here just honesty. The truth is, I am still trying to find my footing when it comes to the whole, work-at-home mom thing. My struggle has been really real over at the Charles Residence.
As a business owner, I know exactly what to do. Pre-baby, I would wake up get to work, answer emails, take care of basic housekeeping and tackle my edits queue. As my day progressed, I would check in with my calendar and my trusty to-do list. I would always make sure I was on track and would keep ahead of my schedules.
Fast-forward to post-baby. I could not seem to get anything done. My lists were out the window, tasks and events never made it to my calendar, and my deadlines were getting more and more out of control. Why? Honestly, I was struggling with my new identity. Being a mom. Having a tiny human that depends on me all day. Also, said tiny human not being able to speak English!!
For the last 28 years, I have been me. A singular person. An individual. My life was mine and I, (for the most part) did whatever I wanted, when I wanted. In an instant, I became: We. I don’t count the almost nine months of pregnancy. When I really and truly realized that I became We, was during labor. I was no longer working on my own. I was working with my baby as a team. We were both working towards the same goal, to get her into this world. We have been a team ever since, and we will always be a team! (Read: Crazy attached mom for the rest of her life!)
The months post-partum were trying to say the least. Again, because I struggled with this new identity. I was not a stay-at-home mom, and I was not a working mom who left for hours on end. I was a mom who worked from home and occasionally went into the office. This presented a paradox. My two worlds were colliding. Home life + Work life. I was not, and still at times am not, sure how to balance the two seamlessly.
This is the part where I let go.
I recently decided to let go. Let go of the norms that I have in my head. I give up on trying to fit into one checkbox. I am only trying to do what works for my family. So, no that does not include up keeping the house during business hours. Or, even having set business hours. Or, cooking before my husband gets home. It means that I work as much as my daughter will allow (she is 7 months for crying out loud. I literally cannot demand that she play by herself.) It means that I sometimes have to give in for the day and not work because she needs me and only me.
I am learning that motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all journey. Motherhood is an individual journey that each mother must go on. It is an ever-evolving process and no two situations are exactly the same. We as a community of women need to support each other and listen to each other. What works for one mother may not work for another, and that is okay!
So right now, my process is still a little shaky. However, I will keep working at it. In the future, I hope to teach my little one how to sleep a little better. (Read so I can actually: get stuff done during the day and sleep at night!) I also hope to etch out a more solid schedule with her so we both know what to “expect” when we wake up each day.
Here is what I learned from giving into the process.
I am learning to be grateful in the moment. At times, I can get overwhelmed when I am on deadline, or need to get out of the house for business errands or networking. However, I have to be so grateful. I am seriously so blessed to 1. Take care of my baby 2. Have a job that allows me to do this 3. Know that she is safe in my care all day. I don’t have to wonder or worry. 4. It is a blessing to see all of her milestones firsthand! 5. We seriously bond. ALL. DAY.
What more can a mother ask for? I literally have the best of both worlds. Will it be a process? Yes, but I think it is worth the sacrifice and lack of sleep! How do you balance mommyhood + adult commitments?
Natalie Henry-Charles is the Owner of two Orlando companies: Pretty Peacock Paperie (Wedding and Social Stationery) and Henry-Charles Design Co. (Small Business Websites and Branding). By night, she blogs at Bossy Mommy. All day every day she’s a wife, daughter, and now mama to her beautiful infant daughter, Ella.