How To Embrace The Full Pause For Parenting
I've gone through more transitions since having Bodie than in my ten-year career prior. Since January 1st of 2016, I was a full-time mother (the general population calls that a "stay at home" mother) before I returned to a previous client as a two day a week brand consultant when Bodie turned 6 months old. I got to spend the rest of my week with Bodie. I started Mother Untitled when Bodie turned one and since then have been building this brand alongside raising him, supporting my husband in his company and caring for our family.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to each of those scenarios but I grew in all, probably most so in the first and the current.
Mother Untitled is designed to represent all the women in the shades of grey on the spectrum of women who are choosing to make conscious shifts in their career and lifestyle to be able to give more time and energy to family life. But I recognize there's a great deal of pressure on the full-time mother in seeing women finding flexible work or starting their own business and I want to be crystal clear that there is immense growth and opportunity in the full pause and that life's a long game and thoughtful pauses can be an asset.
Beyond the incredible amount of development that naturally happens in raising children (time management, ruthless prioritization, discipline and empathy to name a few), I encountered four areas to consider during this chapter that drive self-growth.
I did by far and away my best "networking" during my full pause and since then, on the days of the week, I'm home with Bodie. There is no more disarming position than being a mother and the number of genuine connections and conversations I made and continue to make on the playground, in classes and playspaces is bigger than anything I experienced, even in business school which is considered a mecca for relationship building. I think it's such an interesting exercise to use a pause to learn from different women about their paths, industries, and interests. This previous Another Mother Her Way (Julia) talks how one of those early friendships during her own few year pause led her to a current fulfilling role.
Making room for motherhood I believe also means making room for yourself. It's not as simple or straightforward when you don't have another caregiver but I've met so many women who have used this time in their life to become more attuned to their body and needs. As we care for our kid's health and environments we seem to naturally grow more aware of what we're intaking ourselves and of the 100+ women I've met across the country, over 90% percent mentioned being more conscious of what they need to do to keep themselves feeling whole so they can show up better for their kids.
I think this is a super interesting one especially as the communal workspaces and community gathering grounds become a fixture in the motherhood circuit. The Soho House and The Wing, two workspaces I'm most connected, host frequent talks, panels and mixers on everything from wellness, creativity, general culture, etc. HeyMama, FashionMamas and Mindr host loads of speakers on a variety of topics and industries with kids welcome. It can be daunting to show up to new places but I think the idea of everyone in the room being mothers is powerful and comforting. If naptimes and bedtimes conflict with in-person events, which they honestly often do for me, or you don't live in close proximity to some of these options, there are more interesting online learning tools than ever before, to keep you plugged in on your industry, creative interests or general culture. I like General Assembly as an option for online coursework.
Some women use this time to get back into hobbies that they've forgotten or always been eager to try even if it means twenty minutes of photography or writing. For me, that was writing and content which led me here. These two AMHW's (Marissa and Olivia) talked about how using their time focusing on the early years of parenting allowed them to develop hobbies that ultimately led them to a community and small business.
Probably most compelling to me is using this time in our lives as a natural reset. The world moves so fast, especially in the United States, and until I became a mother there weren't too many junctures to stop and think and surround yourself with good energy to figure out what comes next.
Anyone who's been following along with Mother Untitled for a while knows that I think this chapter can be an incredible gift if we have the privilege and choose to enjoy it. It can be easy letting it go by because we're so worried about what comes next (I've been there). But space, if you embrace it, can actually let you be more mindful of where and how you spend your time and what makes you fulfilled. Whether it's your partner, a best friend or a journal, consider monitoring your feelings and interests as they evolve during this time. You never know where it will lead.
Are you full time mothering right now? Do you feel a pressure to do something else? Does the idea of using it as a period of self-growth help or add more pressure? We'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. xo
Featured Image via @JournalBean