“I should have done X by [insert arbitrary age here - 30, 35, 40…].”
I hear this all the time. From clients. From mothers. From that annoying voice inside my head.
We feel this way because society has set up our world on a linear path - go to school, get a job, get a better job, make money, make more money. It’s a rising step ladder and the only way to feel like you’re ahead is to keep climbing all the time, always produce, always do.
The thing is, not one of us, and I mean any human, can climb, produce, and do all the time. We’re cyclical creatures. We need time to rest. Time to think. Time to plan. And then time to do.
As a mother, especially a mother with young kids, you might not being “doing” as much as you used to in terms of your career. You’re in a different season than the do-ers. This makes you feel like you’re behind because you’re not climbing.
Here’s something I’ve realized, all those current climbers are going to have to stop for a rest eventually. They may be forced through an illness or a mid-life crises or they may take an intentional slow-down at some point. And when they’re resting, you may be ready to climb again. We’re all going around and around in a circle. And sometimes, others will pass us. Then eventually, we’ll pass them.
If you really want to think of it as a race (which I don’t) we’ll all get to the finish line at the same time. There’s no “ahead” and “behind”.
When we stop beating ourselves up for being behind and bring awareness and recognition to the season we’re in, we can unlock some true magic.
The rest season is built into the cycle for a reason. There’s the obvious need to recharge. And when we stop moving, creating and doing at breakneck speed we get some incredible insights about ourselves and what we want to do next. Without rest, many just march along, never questioning their choices until they can’t take it anymore. Cue the midlife crisis.
But this is one of the gifts of motherhood. We’re given a pause well before we hit a breaking point.
Ok - I know it sounds crazy to call motherhood the “rest season”. It’s a ton of work, a lot more work than any career - but the pause and re-assessment or “rest” from our “always doing” professional lives that motherhood gives us is a huge advantage.
It’s a transition moment in our lives and if we’re lucky, we take the time to question our choices and decide on what to do during this time. Some continue to work as they always have, some start a business, some stay home with their kids.
Women in each one of these choices are all telling me the same thing. I’m not doing enough. I’m behind.
When we realize we’re not behind and we embrace our season we realize and access what’s available to us that no other group has…
A well-timed shift to the next cycle. A break from the “always doing” in our career. A time to get quiet and reflect. To question our career moves thus far. See where we’ve been, muse about what we’d like to do next. What has our experience taught us? What do we love? What do we hate? What is our purpose? And how can we live it?
Many women are having babies in their 30s. Some bemoan the fact that this is the height of their career and babies make them hit a speed bump. But what if moving into this next cyclical season of reflection from your career is exactly what it needs in your 30s? Instead of barreling ahead with the agenda you set up in your early 20s, you get the time to re-assess. You’re not the same person you were at 23 so why would you blindly chase after the dreams you set at that age?
Use motherhood as the cue to re-assess your career.
Tune in and really listen to that inner voice that has so much wisdom to share.
- If you’re a working mom for an employer: use the time to figure out what you want next.
- If you run a business: consider any pivot ideas, be ok with growth happening slowly because you know the growth that comes forth from this time with be so aligned with you.
- If you’ve taken a break from your professional life: honor the musings that come up for what you may want to do if and when you return to work. Have a business idea? Have thoughts on what an ideal work situation would look like? Give these ideas space. Allow them to bloom and grow.
Mommas - you are not behind. You are right where you need to be. And you are so fortunate to be here.
I believe living a well-lived life means living in alignment with our purpose. Course corrections to return or get closer to that purpose are incredible gifts. Aren’t we lucky to get one of these gifts as such an opportune moment?