Being a new mother can be overwhelming for so many reasons.
First there are the physical changes: the shock of birth followed by fatigue. Then, of course, you have a precious new little human to take care of. On top of it all, many new moms also have jobs to return to.
There is no doubt that for some women, becoming a mother completely changes their outlook and perspective on their career. Very real trade-offs between time and money come into question, and your priorities can literally change overnight.
While this much change in such a short time can be very difficult, motherhood also presents an opportunity to reassess your career and think about your job in a whole new way.
Here are 5 ways to harness new motherhood to help you reimagine your career.
1. Being a new mom helps you better understand what makes you happy.
If you’ve been toiling away in a job that doesn’t excite you, it will be that much harder to return to it.
While it’s never easy to leave your baby and go back to work, returning to a company that is supportive, filled with great colleagues and brimming with growth opportunities feels infinitely better than going back to a job you don’t like.
Take advantage of this moment of clarity. Do you want a change? Start crafting your plan for making that change.
There are great jobs for new moms, and you may simply have to find an employer that is more family friendly, or one that offers more flexible hours or part-time options.
2. Being a new mom puts other challenges in perspective.
Work can be hard, but now that you’ve been up all night dealing with a newborn, things like office politics and bureaucratic processes may seem, well, a little bit more manageable.
As a new mom, you may find it’s easier to let go of certain imperfect situations and scenarios at work as you realize that many previously unimaginable aspects of life are sometimes simply out of your control.
3. Being a new mom encourages you to live up to your values.
If your work hasn’t brought you satisfaction or meaning, you may now be more willing to take the risk of applying for a new job, making a career change or even starting a new business if it’s more aligned with how you believe you should spend your time — which is an increasingly precious commodity.
Now that you have a new baby and more family responsibilities, you may also become more conscious of your evolving role as a living, walking example to your child.
Deciding how to spend your time may be a big part of how you decide to be a role model.
4. Being a new mom makes you more efficient.
Simply put, you will have to cram more work into the same 24 hours.
It’s not going to happen due to any miracle beverage (though coffee helps!).
Luckily, many new moms discover that their ability to prioritize and manage their time suddenly sharpens through sheer necessity.
You’ll likely find that you can accomplish much more in less time as you become more focused and determined to get stuff done.
5. Being a new mom makes you more patient.
Babies don’t come with instruction manuals and don’t follow the rules that you’re used to living by in the civilized adult workplace.
Getting used to chaos and surrendering some element of control means that your tolerance for other things that are out of your control (e.g., a deal going sour, someone on your team quitting, a colleague not returning your call) may grow.
Being a new mom is such a wonderful and fleeting time. Great clarity can arise out of the unpredictability and stress of this period, and it can offer you the opportunity to re-evaluate what’s important to you. Go get ’em.