I had the most fascinating conversation the other day with a woman who works for one of my clients. She and I are working through the details of a new website, and we didn’t have the opportunity to meet in person earlier this month because she wasn’t yet back from maternity leave.
So, this was our first phone call. I have to say this lady has her stuff together, super sharp and the BEST personality. She exuded positivity and confidence in the most delightful way. We got to talking about her coming back to work after having a baby…or actually in her case…TRIPLETS. I’m going to say it again…TRIPLETS.
She took her 12 weeks of maternity leave and was back at work. She’s managing a full plate at work, three infant babies at home, and all the things that go along with raising a family. Can I just tell you I have the utmost respect for this girl. Is she tired? Of course! Is she wondering how’s she going to do it over the next six months? Absolutely. But, I tell you what…this girl shows up. She shows up for work, and I have no doubt she shows up for her babies and family too. LOVE it.
I got to thinking about my own kids. My daughter was born super early and was in the NICU for a long time. At that time, I was reminded daily I had ZERO control of my life and what was going on around me. I had zero control over the health of my daughter…didn’t know if she would live or die…I couldn’t sleep…I was on so many prescription drugs, the world seemed to be a fog.
One thing I do remember thinking was how I felt like I was slipping into a rabbit hole of darkness and despair. I needed to show up for something that would help me feel better.
I had taken maternity leave from my job. However, after many weeks in the NICU, I needed something to give me purpose. I needed to feel I could make a positive impact. Let me tell you that showing up at the NICU every day, finding out things were worse than the day before…all I wanted was something positive. I was truly in a state of desperation.
So, I called my boss (he was an angel of a man who had his own struggles, as his daughter had developed leukemia) and told him I needed to come back to work. He was very reluctant, but I was very persistent. I knew that I had to get my head back on track and stop chasing dark rabbit holes. So, I took on projects and quickly got back into the swing of things. And the crazy thing was – I almost instantly started feeling better. I decided to show up in my life, and things started clicking for me.
Funny enough, there were all sorts of opinions from so many people who thought I was “crazy” for going back to work. Seriously. I felt like I was defending myself to society for working. It was bizarre. I quickly came to the realization that I didn’t give two cents about what other people thought of me…I had to do what was best for me.
I heard the best quote from Rachel Hollis recently. Don’t let someone in the cheap seats have an expensive opinion in your life. Can I get an amen here??
The experience of having a child born early and all the problems that ensued taught me three big life lessons.
There are soooo many things that you have no control over in this life. The sooner you can realize you’re not in the driver’s seat – the better off you’ll be.
Other people’s opinions are none of your business (thank you again Rachel Hollis!).
Finding your purpose and showing up in this life is everything.
Here’s the deal…it’s not like I went seeking my purpose or anything. I just knew I had to do things different otherwise I’d turn into a negative, fearful, and scared person…and, I just can’t live that way.
I know we all experience times when we don’t really know what the next steps are for us. We don’t know how to face the day. We don’t know how to deal with our colleagues at the office or that difficult client. It’s all so very overwhelming sometimes.
But, I do believe that in order to get out of the funk, you’ve gotta pick yourself up and just do SOMETHING. That something can be deciding to go to work when society thinks you shouldn’t. It can be as simple as deciding to pray or just make a change. Whatever that something is – do it.
Deciding to show up for you (and not anybody else) can completely change the trajectory of your life. I know. I did it. And it was so incredibly hard. But, by golly, my life is worth it…and so is yours.
Rabbit holes of darkness and despair leave you feeling miserable. So, make a decision to give up control, let the haters be haters, and show up regardless. Shifting your mindset makes a difference.
Be the mama with triplets who goes to work ready to make her mark in this world. Dang it, ya’ll…I wanna be more like her.