Sunday, February 26, 2012

Rat Race

Tomorrow I head back to work. And I am scared.

I've been out of "the game" for almost four months now, and the idea of jumping back in makes me nervous to say the least. I'm worried I won't be as fast, as smart, as creative, as efficient as I was before I left. I feel pressure to hit the ground running, to prove to people I still have "it"...that motherhood didn't steal my brain and make me soft.

But motherhood has changed me. It has slowed me down. It has made me soft.

I'm slower now. I haven't been juggling multitudes of projects and scrambling towards deadlines. My competitive drive to achieve has taken a backseat to my desire to be more singularly and wholly focused. I've been forcing myself to stay in the present. Linger in tasks. Savor the moment. There are no prizes for efficiency as a mom, no promotions for getting things done faster, no raises for completed to-do lists...but there are rewards for fully devoting myself to my babe. When I spend time "chatting" with her, or hold her the extra five minutes it takes for her to fall all the way asleep, or bail on other tasks to sit and sing to her instead, she pays me back in smiles, and snores, trust and love. She isn't proud of me for what I got done in a day. She doesn't value my ability to multitask. On the contrary- she'd rather I slow down. Be present. Be still. So I've learned the value in being slow. I've struggled to set aside my type-A tendency to do more! better!! faster!!! and further learn the worth of relationships versus accomplishments.

I'm softer now. I previously put a lot of importance, and had a certain amount of pride in my ability to hide weakness. I pushed through my pregnancy, striving to remain as unchanged as possible. To prove that I was strong, and no changes to my body or my family were going to stand in the way of what I could do. But since Piper's arrival, I've been forced to be more vulnerable, and taught to feel more deeply. I've repeatedly been overcome with emotion, pushed to tears over how hard the days are, how tough the decisions are, how selfish my heart can be. I've been humbled, learning there is a ton (a TON) that I don't know, and can't do on my own. I've had to learn my limits, show my faults, ask for help, and admit my weakness. But with that, I've also gained a capacity to love beyond what I previously knew. I've added a sense of understanding, compassion and empathy towards others that I didn't even fully know I had been lacking.

I am different now. Not worse. But different.

Being in the working world taught me to strive, to compete, to rise above, to coordinate, to take risks, to manage, to push boundaries. I was a do-er.

But staying home with my girl showed me the value of resting, forgiving, communing, partnering, waiting, listening, sharing, and relating. I am a lover.

And as I head back into the corporate world, I know that I will have to find a new way for my new self to fit in the old routine. I'll have to face the fact that I've lost some of my "edge". But through my nerves, and my fears, and my worries, I will find confidence in knowing that in its place I've gained a sense of perspective about who I am, what I'm capable of, and what matters most.

And for that...I am strong.

"They were fully invested in the rat race, fighting desperately for the best spot in the cage- say, the one by the water spigot. John himself had fought with all his strength for such a spot. Now, events seems to have ejected him from the cage, and instead of a bleak wasteland, he found himself in a world rich with possibility. To trade that for even the best shot at the spigot seemed absurdly undesirable."
- Martha Beck, Expecting Adam


  1. You. Will. Do. FABULOUS!! And I just set an alarm on my phone, so I cant remember to be praying!!

    Beautiful, honest post. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. I've been praying and will continue to pray for your transition back into the working world.
    You are amazing! You are loved! It will be hard and you know that, but know that you are being lifted up.

  3. Thanks for sharing Courtney! That was a beautiful post! You will do great! I cannot wait to meet little Piper some day!:)


  4. Praying for your week! And Miss Piper's! I just know you'll both make it through beautifully!

  5. Beautiful post! I'll be praying for your big day back tomorrow. So love hearing the ways that motherhood was shaped you these past few months !

  6. You continue to grow and become a better person, and because of your ultimate focus on Him, you will always succeed.
    I'm so proud of you as always, and I love you!
    Have a great day back at AE!

  7. Courtney - just had to write you as a working mother. I went back about 13 weeks after both of my kids and yes, it was hard, but it is do-able. And, I have found myself to be a better mother for it (I don't mean better than stay-at-home moms; it's just what works for me). I think if I was home all the time, I would spend a lot of time on the computer, reading, and doing all of the adult things I could find to do around the house. By working, I really cherished my time that I did have with my babies each evening and weekend. And, you will find that balance and figure out what you just can't do anymore -- for me it was cleaning my house and the money I spend on a cleaning lady is the happiest money I spend :)
    Good luck and just know that you can be a great worker and a great mother all at the same time!

  8. Thank you girls....
    I'm so thankful for all the support and prayers. It's definitely hard (and I imagine it will even get harder at times), but no matter which path we choose, there will always be challenges. Your encouragement means so much to me, and reminds me that no matter what, we will find what works for us. Thanks for being a part of our journey!