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 a job — and career — 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 tradeoffs 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. Having a baby creates a catalyst to think about your job in a whole new way.
Here are 5 ways that new motherhood can be harnessed to help you reimagine your career:
1. 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, being able to return to an employer that is supportive, filled with great colleagues and growth opportunities feels infinitely better than going back to a job that you never enjoyed.
Take advantage of this moment of clarity to craft a plan to make a change if you need to make one.
There are great jobs for new moms, and you may simply have to find an employer that is more family-friendly, or that offers more flexible hours or part-time options.
2. Your other challenges are put 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 is 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. You have more motivation to live up to your values.
If your work has not 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 family responsibilities on your hands, 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. You learn to be extra 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 find their prioritization skills and time management abilities suddenly sharpen through sheer necessity.
You will probably be able to do much more with less simply as a function of willpower and, well, practice.
5. You understand the importance of patience.
Babies don’t come with instruction manuals and don’t follow rules that you’re previously used to in the civilized adult workplace.
Getting used to chaos and surrendering some element of control means that your tolerance for others things that are out of your control (e.g. a client 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. There is a great clarity can arise out of the chaos and stresses of this period, and it can be a wonderful opportunity to re-evaluate what is important to you and all of your career options. Go get em.