When the Work Doesn't Feel the Same

Those aren't Wyette's actual feet, but hers are just as cute!

Those aren't Wyette's actual feet, but hers are just as cute!

I had a baby on March 22nd, and since then, life has been blissfully blurry - visits from loved ones, learning how to be a parent to a little person, and a depth of feeling that I can’t really talk about because it’s beyond words.

Anyone who gives birth or goes through a major life change is impacted on the most basic cellular level. I’m a different person than I was before I birthed my daughter Wyette. I don’t see, hear, smell, taste, or feel the same way about anything anymore.

I’ve tried to re-engage in my meditation practice, but it feels stale now. I check LinkedIn and just feel sad about how much we want to prove ourselves to others. I’m leaving a project that I’ve poured my heart and soul into for almost a year. Things are different, but I can’t see what the “new normal” is yet.

Have you ever walked into work and noticed that it no longer feels right but you’re not sure why?

It’s not comfortable, and many of us cling to jobs, habits, and people for a long time after we know it’s time to move on. My guess is that I knew parts of my work were ready to end before I entered this new phase of motherhood, but I wasn’t ready to let them go. Looking back, I see that some of what I was used to doing in my career felt forced and misaligned.

So now I know that things feel differently, but what do I do with this knowledge?

My instinct is to make lists, brainstorm new ideas, cling to some shinier object...but I’m trying really hard to just wait. Someone asked me the other day what the future of my work looks like, and as much as I wanted to give a clear, amazing answer, I had to be honest:

I don’t know.

Going through the birthing process and now caring for someone who has no interest in my old habits of rushing and making to-do lists has taught me a lot about what it means to really, actually, go with the flow.

I had a clear idea of how I wanted Wyette’s birth to go, and it didn’t end up looking like what I had in mind. But she arrived anyway, happy and healthy. I want her to sleep at the same time every day, but she doesn’t. And yet, we work around her schedule and everything turns out okay. As much as I want to try and routinize her and control how we spend our time, I can’t, and it’s only frustrating when I try.

So even though I want to artificially create a new framework for what I do professionally, I’m doing something even harder - waiting.

I’m waiting until an idea comes along that doesn’t feel forced or urgent, but soft. Soft and sensible.

What’s working for me these days is the waiting, even though every bone in my body wants to plan and make spreadsheets and Venn diagrams (full disclosure: I do have a Venn diagram in my notebook next to me, but it was lightly sketched and spontaneous, so I’m counting it as progress!).

If your response to change is to control and rationalize, maybe you try waiting instead. Maybe you don’t. I’ll let you know what comes out of the waiting for me over the next few weeks and we’ll see if it’s soft and sensible like I’m hoping for.