Ten weeks into my maternity leave with my law firm, I gave my notice that I wouldn’t be returning. Yup, you read that right.
I QUIT MY DAY JOB!
Not only that, but I literally mailed in my bar membership card to the powers that be and changed my license status to inactive.
That is some crazy arse shite. And with it comes some very real changes.
Welcome changes, but with challenges nonetheless.
My ultimate plan always was to become a full-time life coach, but when that would come to fruition was somewhat less clear.
What solidified my dream of not returning from maternity leave were the circumstances surrounding the birth of our baby, Gwyneth.
First of all, I had hoped for a fairly “hippie” birth and hired a doula and all that jazz. Welp, after 30 hours of labor I ended up with an emergency c-section. So much for my hippie plans.
Not only that, but Gwyneth had to spend six full days in the NICU at a separate children’s hospital immediately after she was born due to a blockage in her lung. Thankfully, she was breathing on her own by the end of her birthday.
But that NICU stay was brutal.
Then our precious little one developed colic around four weeks old. And I’m not talking about the reflux or indigestion that some people refer to as colic. I mean the honest-to-goodness, fussing-and-crying-and-screaming-all-the-time-for-no-damn-reason type of colic.
So those first four months were AWESOME.
Not surprisingly, I developed postpartum depression about three months after Gwyneth’s birth.
I was considered high risk for developing PPD due to my underlying -- and fully treated -- anxiety disorder, so my support system was watching me like a hawk. And at the first sign of things going awry (my baby was sleeping through the night, but I wasn’t!), off to the psychiatrist I went. And within days I was on the mend.
So come November, when I had anticipated having JD Nation up and running full-time, I hadn’t done a thing.
I had to adapt.
And I continue to adapt.
Miss Gwyneth Paige is the most beautiful, curious and joyful baby I have ever met. But she is also a demanding diva who knows what she wants and makes sure she gets it.
Poor babe is a horrendous teether, too. So the last couple months (yes, months -- that's not a typo) have meant very little sleep for me.
To say I’ve felt out of control would be an understatement.
But it’s also not an unfamiliar feeling.
In my seven years as a practicing attorney, I constantly felt like I was subject to the whims of my bosses and clients. (Yes, I realize that’s kind of the nature of the job. But as with most things, moderation is preferable.)
And over time I prided myself on putting reasonable boundaries on what others could expect from me.
For me that meant communicating my availability and when they would hear from me and receive work product. (Always adhering to my philosophy to under-promise and over-deliver.)
I didn’t always get my way, but I felt like I at least had a say in the matter.
Perception can be everything sometimes.
Fast-forward to present day, and I’m having to adapt to lack of control on a completely different level.
There’s no setting boundaries with a baby. Gwyneth will have none of that from me.
But I’m finding ways to set boundaries with myself. Like early bedtimes. And planning healthy meals in advance.
I’m figuring out how to pick my battles and ask for help accordingly. Such as having a nanny come in twice a week so that I can have several uninterrupted (!!!) hours during the day for coaching and working. And having the hubs run errands on his way home from work.
I’m remembering to take care of myself because I’m no good to anyone -- hubby, Gwyneth, clients, family, friends -- if I let myself get run into the ground. Granted, I’m operating on minimum self-care a lot of the time, but I’m mindful that I get what I need to maintain my sanity.
Bottom line, a sense of control is always elusive.
But we get to decide how we respond to feeling out of control.
We can try to force the uncontrollable into our framework and endure the inevitable frustration that comes with it. Or we can modify our perception of the uncontrollable to regain a sense of control.
Pick your battles.
Identify ways to shift your perspective of the situation.
Remember that you can’t always be in control.
And that it’s okay to not have control over everything. But that it’s also okay to create an environment in which you feel like you aren’t powerless. In fact, I strongly encourage it.
Like I said, perception can be everything.