I recently had a conversation with another mom who was unhappy with her work situation. Things are work were hard for her and she was having a hard time being happy at work due to the environment, and keeping everyone at home happy as well.
I remember all too well how that felt. I remember coming back from Maternity leave at 4 months postpartum to my job that I LOVED prior to my time off becoming a mother. You see before I left, I was handling some really incredible accounts, I was the go-to on certain items in our little team of coordinators, and I was getting some face time with some higher level managers. Life was so exciting and new, and I could see my future. So coming back- I expected an adjustment period. I expected some things had changed. I expected that I would have to “prove” myself a little upon my return.
But instead of it being a gradual transition- I was actually met with a lot of distain, distrust, and lack of responsibility. Nobody trusted me. No one wanted to give me the time of day with projects or tasks. No one thought my opinion mattered anymore. And the breastfeeding shaming was real. I remember distinctly having a co-worker make a comment when I was leaving for “yet another pumping session” about how “it must be nice to get a “break” every few hours and not have to do your job like the rest of us”.
If only she knew. It only she knew how much pressure and anxiety I had every time I had to go down to that pumping room. Not just about pumping, but about everything that was affected around me having to pump.
Was I going to pump enough this time?
How much would I have to “work” to get the milk out?
How many times would my phone buzz from recruiters and managers who NEEDED things done, but I was indisposed downstairs and unable to get to it for another 30 minutes?
How quickly could I finish a task that came up last minute?
How much of that meeting would I miss because of my pumping session?
When would I squeeze in lunch?
Would this session put my over my work time and would I make it home in time before getting charged for daycare?
You see for moms dealing with anxiety, stress, depression, hormonal changes- little things can wreck havoc on our mental state. We read into things that aren’t there. We “imagine” responses that people “might” have. We create these outcomes and convince ourselves that no one likes us, trusts us, cares about it. We become victims in our own life- unable to see a way out of it.
What I started to realize was that I could live in this very unhappy state, where I blamed everyone else and found fault in everything and complained and cried every day. OR- I could choose something different. I could CHOOSE to control what I could control. And what I could control was me.
I controlled my thoughts
I controlled my actions
I controlled my time management
I controlled my responses to people
I controlled my time
I controlled my energy level on tasks and projects
I couldn’t control:
People’s words- but I could control if I let those words take emotional meaning.
People’s actions- but I could control how I approached them about their actions.
People’s opinion- but I could use this as an opportunity to meet them with love and understanding.
People’s understanding of my new “duties” as a mom- but I could control how I approached the subject and stood behind my priorities.
You see- we spend so much time worrying about the wrong things and getting upset that we can’t control them- when we need to be focusing on the things that we can control. And once I realized that and started to switch my effort from things outside my control to things inside my control- my life- got a whole lot less stressful.
What’s something you can let go of trying to control?