Perhaps this sounds like you? Pre-children, you love your job and wouldn’t want it any other way. But post-baby, you’re dragging your feet to the office wishing you were doing something you’re more passionate about? You’re not alone. In our very first episode of The Mother Shift podcast, we explore the pitfalls and positives of making a career shift, post-bub.
The juggle is real
It’s fair to say that getting back to work is a monumental effort once you’ve had a baby. Leaving the house can seem like an impossible task, especially if you have to look professional and deliver a happy baby to childcare with all their various bits and bobs (and no stray Weet-Bix in your hair!)
Once you’ve made it to the office, you might find yourself thinking about your baby more often than not and pondering if the job you have is really worth coming between you and your child.
Many, many mums find themselves in this position, not only seeking to make the hours away count towards something their heart’s truly in, but also seeking a rethink when it comes to working hours and flexibility.
Listen to the full episode of The Mother Shift
Expectation vs reality
Anita Birges is one such mum. Anita was a successful real estate agent before she had her baby, but when her son was six-months-old her perspective shifted and she found herself feeling unsettled.
“I felt that it wasn’t something that I really loved and could picture myself doing for the rest of my life,” Anita told The Mother Shift’s Jacinta Tynan.
Despite having it all “planned out”, Anita says that the reality of simply returning to work was not what she’d expected.
“I was quite shocked when the child came into my life, how much it changed me,” she said. While her boss had been really supportive about her return to work, Anita found there were all kinds of logistics to balancing work and baby that she hadn’t been able to anticipate.
“I found myself not being as present in my work as I was expected to be, and also I guess the way I expected myself to be at the time.”
Passion to profession
Anita took a less demanding role, but when that didn’t feel quite right a serendipitous encounter with a former client, asking for help readying their home for sale, sparked her career shift – and a brand new business.
Anita now runs Mise en Place, a decluttering and organising business which helps people whittle their belongings down to what they really need, and tidy things beautifully away. Organising is now her passion and her profession.
The gravity of this change in direction is not lost on this career-shifting mum.
“I feel like I’m very, very lucky owning my own business, I really do. I’ve worked hard for this. I created this, and I will hold it, and I will take it to its next level now, so it feels very, very, very good.”
The Mother Shift resident careers counselor and psychologist, Kirsty Levin says Anita’s experience is not uncommon and it signals some bigger shifts within new parents.
“It’s to do with the entire identity shift and transitioning to parenthood,” Kirsty explains. “Because all of your needs, and priorities, and values change as a result of adjusting to parenthood, suddenly the things that you found really fulfilling, and interesting, and motivating beforehand can become the complete opposite after you’ve had a child.”
Kirsty says that once kids are past that all-consuming newborn phase, this unsettled feeling can actually be a great opportunity.
“It’s a great time to sit and think about all the strengths that you have, and how can you harness those, and turn those into an opportunity for yourself.”
Find your brave
Organised Anita’s message to other mums keen for a move is inspired by her own experience – and the son that sparked her shift.
“It would truly be, go with your gut and find your brave,” Anita says. “My son says that to me: ‘Find your brave’. These children yes, they can’t survive without us, but if you’re not happy, and you’re not fulfilling who you are, how can we be present to them?”
“You’re always wondering what could have been. Find your brave. Find your brave.”
You can listen to The Mother Shift with Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.