Slowing down and letting go

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If there is one thing having a baby has taught me, it is that a lot of things really matter, and many, many things do not. Ask anyone who knows me–I’m a type A organizational control freak who doesn’t do well when things don’t go to plan. I’ve never been great at going with the flow–but I have always tried my best. Since having Reagan, I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of my control issues, and let him run the show.

As I’ve jumped back in to my work headfirst, I’ve had lots of surprises along the way.  I started working again about 4 weeks after having Reagan. Since I own my own business and wasn’t getting paid maternity leave, I felt I had to start working right away to have an income again.

Jumping back in so soon let me exhausted, a little depressed, and insecure about my ability to balance mom and work life. I wasn’t able to keep up, I was caring for a baby 24/7 by myself–except for when my husband wasn’t at work, and then also when my mother in law started to come on Tuesday mornings to give me a little break (bless her)–and I was still in major holy crap I just had a baby what happened to my body recovery mode. The work I was doing for my clients was pretty awful, but somehow, I was getting a lot of referrals and new projects thrown my way–some that I got right before the baby, and some that I got very soon after.

Because I had this idea that I basically needed to double my income because we now had a baby in the picture, I said “yes” to every project and client that was tossed my way. Even if the work was a little out of my comfort zone, I said yes.

At 9 weeks postpartum, we had a nanny start watching Reagan 3 days a week. I went back to a somewhat regular work schedule and starting really focusing on my new clients and projects. But, something didn’t feel right. I’d often sit in front of my computer just frozen with anxiety. Hours would pass and I would have accomplished maybe 2 things off of my to-do list. The days weren’t long enough to get all my work done–and once the nanny would leave, I knew I wouldn’t be able to open my computer again until the baby was asleep or Ryan was home (and those are precious moments where really I would need a shower, finish laundry, or simply pet my dog).

I eventually felt like I wasn’t doing anything well. I wasn’t being that mom that could balance a career, marriage, child, and healthy lifestyle perfectly. I hadn’t had a decent conversation with my husband in weeks, I wasn’t feeling fully present with my baby, and my client work sucked.

I knew something needed to change. I had client projects piling up that I wasn’t excited about finishing–and proposal to do’s topping my to do list, but with no energy or time to do them. It was time to take a step back and re-evaluate what really mattered.

I’ve said it before, but I truly believe there are seasons that we all go through personally. Chris McAllister talked about his view on seasons in his book, The Stuck Book. I heard him speak about his book at a lululemon event when I was pregnant, and it’s something that has stuck with me since. I have definitely been stuck trying to figure out post-baby life, and I knew it was time to do something about it. From Chris’ book explanation, “You’re in a different season. You need customized wisdom. You have to figure out where you are. The stuck book is a short book you can pick up when you have a question and get an answer for what needs to be done. Seize the day? Wait and ponder?”

Just this past week, I have turned down 3 great business opportunities, ended a relationship with a client that wasn’t a positive partnership, bought clothes a size bigger so that I can wear items that fit my current post-pregnancy body, and made sure that I fit in workouts in my schedule again. Already, I feel less stress, less anxiety, and a little more present.

My business isn’t going to suffer from this. If anything, I’ll be able to better focus on the clients and projects I have now–and I will be more prepared when more opportunities come at me in the future. And, I can be sure that I’m only working with clients that light me up and I’m excited about–this is when I do my best work. Personally, it’s been nice to not chastise myself for not fitting in my post-baby clothes, and being able to sweat a little a few times a week makes me feel more alive.

I want to make sure I enjoy this time with Reagan right now. He’s starting to smile and laugh and I feel like he’s changing every minute. I want to spend any free time with my husband and not glued to my laptop, and I want to enjoy workouts and not feel like I’m only going because I need to lose the baby weight.

This is the season I’m in right now. It’s different from the season I was in a few months ago, and it’ll change again really soon. Some things really matter–and I want to focus on those things more and more–and some things really don’t matter–and I’m becoming okay with letting go of some of those.

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