How to Embrace Motherhood Without Losing Your Career Stride

You know that tightrope we’re all trying to walk? The one where we balance our killer heels on one side and adorable baby booties on the other? Yeah, that one. It’s the daunting, exhilarating, and sometimes anxiety-inducing journey of juggling a demanding career while stepping into the world of motherhood.

A dear friend of mine, rocking a top management position and now expecting her first child, recently shared her fears with me. She’s worried about becoming ‘out of sight, out of mind’ in her professional world during her maternity leave. And let’s be real, in our little corner of Europe, where we get a whole year off (blessing, right?), that’s a lot of time away from the office.

So here I am, no kids yet, but with a mind buzzing with thoughts about this very topic. I’ve read, discussed, and even chatted with my therapist about it. Why? Because I’m determined to find that sweet spot where I can be a fantastic mom without losing the career woman in me. And trust me, it’s a journey worth talking about.

Personal Perspective and Preparation

Alright, let’s dive into my world for a bit. I’m not a mom yet, but oh boy, do I ponder about it. It’s like this puzzle I’m trying to solve before all the pieces are even out of the box. I’ve spent hours thinking, discussing, and yes, even in therapy sessions, trying to wrap my head around how I would, and eventually will, juggle motherhood and my career.

I want to control it all (yep, I hear that control freak alarm too!). But here’s the thing: I’m terrified of losing myself to motherhood, of my career taking a backseat, or worse, losing its sparkle because of my new role as a mom. And yet, I’m equally determined to be an awesome mom, not the kind who’s always half-distracted by emails or work calls.

So what’s a grrrl to do? Well, for starters, we need a plan, a really good one. One that’s not just about managing time but managing our identity, and our dreams, and ensuring our little ones don’t miss out on having a fully present mom.

This is about striking that perfect balance (or at least getting as close to it as we can). It’s about not letting our professional ambitions fade away while embracing the beautiful chaos of motherhood. And let me tell you, it’s not just about surviving; it’s about thriving in both worlds.

Evaluating Your Career Attachment

So, here’s a million-dollar question for you: Do you actually, deep down in your heart, love your job? I mean, really love it? This isn’t just about the paycheck or the fancy title. It’s about that fire in your belly when you think about your work.

When my friend shared her worries with me, this was the first thing that popped into my mind. If you truly love your career, the thought of returning to it after maternity leave isn’t just a necessity; it’s something you look forward to. It’s that part of your identity that you’re eager to reclaim.

Think about it. If you genuinely love your job, you won’t lose yourself in motherhood. You won’t become obsessed with your child to the point where you forget who you are outside of being a mom. Because, let’s face it, as much as we adore our little ones, we are more than just mothers. We are individuals with dreams, aspirations, and a whole lot of talent to offer the world.

So, if you’re like me, and you do love your job, there’s a sense of urgency to get back to it. To slip back into those work shoes (as comfy or as high-heeled as they may be) and show the world that you’re still that rockstar, that boss babe you were before. And trust me, that hunger for your career? It’s your superpower. It’s what will help you catch up, adapt, and maybe even innovate in ways you hadn’t thought of before the baby came along.

Staying connected to your job, in whatever way possible during maternity leave, is crucial. It keeps you relevant, keeps your mind active, and prevents that unsettling feeling of being left behind.

Staying Relevant in Your Professional Sphere

Let’s talk about staying in the game, even when you’re not physically in the office. Staying relevant at work, especially when you’re on maternity leave, is like keeping a plant thriving – it needs care, attention, and a bit of sunshine now and then.

First things first, staying connected with your colleagues is key. It’s not about bombarding them with emails or attending every virtual meeting (come on, you’ve got a tiny human to look after!). It’s about staying in the loop, being present in a way that’s manageable for you. Maybe it’s a weekly check-in email or a quick coffee catch-up call when you can. It’s about reminding your team that you’re still part of the squad, even if you’re not in the trenches with them every day.

And let’s squash that sneaky fear of becoming too home-focused. Sure, being at home, immersed in the world of baby giggles and lullabies, is incredibly fulfilling. But there’s a risk of slipping into a comfort zone where professional ambitions start to fade. It’s like sinking into a cozy couch – wonderful at first, but you might find it hard to get up after a while.

Being aware of this is half the battle won. Recognize the potential for lethargy and have strategies in place. Maybe it’s setting aside time each week to read industry news, attending online workshops, or even starting a small project from home. Keep those brain gears oiled and running!

Before we jump into the next part, I want to tell you about Yale or Harvard study (not sure which university sorry I forgot). It’s a significant piece of the puzzle we’re trying to solve here. This study contacted alumni years after graduation to see how their careers had progressed, with a specific focus on women who had started families.

The findings were a bit of a wake-up call. A startling number of these highly educated, incredibly capable women had stepped back from their careers post-motherhood. We’re talking about Yale and Harvard grads here – people who had every tool, every opportunity to soar in their professional lives. Yet, the transition to motherhood had led many to choose not to return to their careers, or to significantly downscale their ambitions.

This study isn’t about judging choices. It’s a reflection on how even the most ambitious, well-prepared women can find themselves re-evaluating their career paths after having children. It underscores the importance of having a plan, a support system, and the right mindset to return to the workforce if that’s what they desire. It’s a reminder that the tug of family life is powerful, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of personal aspirations.

Maintaining Personal Identity

Becoming a mom is a transformational experience, no doubt. But amidst all the diaper changes and lullabies, it’s crucial not to lose sight of the person you were before the baby arrived. Trust me, maintaining your personal identity is not just good for you, it’s essential for your well-being. Having a life outside of your family is like having a secret garden where you can recharge, be yourself, and nurture your passions. It doesn’t have to be a high-flying career; it could be as simple as a hobby, a book club, or regular nights out with friends. These little escapes are vital for your mental health and, frankly, for keeping you grounded.

When you have something that’s ‘just yours,’ it’s like a breath of fresh air. It reminds you that you’re an individual with unique interests and talents. And let’s face it, being more than ‘just a mom’ makes you a more interesting, well-rounded person – not just to others, but to yourself too.

Plus, having your own thing provides a sense of achievement and fulfillment that’s different from what you get from family life. It’s about feeling complete, not just as a mom, but as a woman with a rich, multifaceted life.


“Embracing your career doesn’t mean losing your identity as a mom; it’s about showing the world – and your child – that women can excel in both roles.”


And here’s the kicker – when you maintain your personal identity, you’re setting a fantastic example for your kids. You’re teaching them that while family is important, it’s also essential to have personal goals and interests. You’re showing them that life is about balance and that it’s okay to pursue your passions.

So, remember, clinging to what makes you ‘you’ isn’t selfish. It’s necessary. It’s about keeping that spark alive that makes you unique, vibrant, and, frankly, a pretty awesome person to be around.

Promoting Father Involvement and Shared Responsibilities

Now, let’s talk about a critical piece of the work-life balance puzzle: the role of fathers. We’re living in an age where we’re striving for equality, but let’s be honest, we’re still fighting for it. The truth is, that men are often not as involved in parenting as they could be, and it’s not always their fault. Society has its own set of expectations for men, pressuring them to be the primary providers, which often leaves them less time for family responsibilities.

Encouraging fathers to be more involved isn’t just about lightening our own load as mothers. It’s about reshaping the family dynamic to be more balanced and equal. When both parents share childcare and household responsibilities, it sends a powerful message. It shows that parenting isn’t just a mother’s domain; it’s a partnership.

This shift can start small. It’s about showing and not just telling your partner that you’re equals in this parenting journey. It means involving them in daily routines, from bath time to bedtime stories, and making decisions together. This isn’t just for the sake of fairness; it’s about giving your child the benefit of being raised by both parents actively.

And here’s the thing – men can face their own set of stereotypes and stigmas, like being teased for being a stay-at-home dad or taking on tasks traditionally seen as ‘women’s work.’ Breaking these stereotypes is part of the broader struggle for gender equality, and it starts in our homes.

By both parents taking an active role, we create a new normal for our children. They grow up seeing that chores and childcare are not gendered activities but shared responsibilities. And who knows? This might be one of the most valuable lessons we can give them.


“Shared parenting isn’t just fair, it’s transformative. It teaches our children that caregiving and responsibility know no gender, shaping a more equal future.”



There you have it, my fellow grrrls – a blend of personal musings, shared experiences, and practical steps toward balancing those killer heels with baby steps. Remember, whether you’re a high-flying executive or a stay-at-home mom, you’re incredible in your own right. It’s about finding what works for you, staying true to yourself, and showing the world (and your little one) that a woman can thrive both at home and in the office. Here’s to us – the multitasking, hardworking, loving, and unstoppable force of nature that is a woman.


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