Posted by Fitz

In my eyes, the most difficult thing about motherhood (to date – let’s not kid ourselves!) is that it has completely and utterly challenged my sense of self.  I always considered myself pretty with it before having The Bean…I traveled the world to work with high-powered executives of multinational organizations, had a big group of friends that was always ready for fun, and could throw a dinner party or an outfit together with minimal stress.  I still have the friends, but on some days I wonder if everything else has gone by the wayside.

It’s tough to redefine yourself as a mom, no matter how much you wanted to be a mom in the first place.  Your life is different, no matter what you were doing before, and people (especially you!) start to have all of these expectations about your parenting philosophy and behavior.  What happened to the woman who was known for being able to get all 5’s on a client satisfaction survey?  Where’s the woman who could sell a million bucks of business in the course of a year? 

A few months ago, in an attempt to feel like I was accomplishing more in a day than singing This Old Man a thousand times and attacking the necks of onesies with my trusty Dreft spray, I started to place unfair expectations on myself.  Baby food?  Well, it was all homemade and organic.  House?  Clean as a whistle!  Body?  Working out like a demon and only eating lean protein and veggies!  Husband?  Happy as a clam!

You can probably guess where these expectations led me….I was burned out within a month and went back to my normal ways of doing what I can, when I can, and hoping everyone is happy.  After a long talk with the people who are most important to me (The Bean and the husband), I realized that I was the only one who thought my maniacal expectations were helping our family.  All they could see was a stressed out, hungry mom who was acting a little bit crazier than normal.

I’m telling you all of this not to say that living up to those expectations can’t be done – I know plenty a mom who can make it all happen and whip up a chocolate cake from scratch afterwards – but that they don’t have to be if they aren’t working for YOU.  Looking back, I was trying to recreate my work environment, where I was praised according to how much I could accomplish and how easy I made it look.  And then I had the epiphany…I don’t work for that place anymore!  My new job isn’t going to evaluate me on how much I do, it’s going to evaluate me on how happy my family is.  And they won’t be happy unless I’m happy.

So, ladies, to make a long story short….ease up on yourself.  You’ll figure out who your new self is in time, and you’ll eventually appreciate the journey that gets you there.  Take a deep breath, look at your own Bean, and give yourself a break.  You’ll figure it out.