What’s next? I’m not quite sure

Being a mother is really hard. No matter what your circumstances are. No matter how many children you have. No matter whether you work, don’t work, formula feed, breastfeed, are married, are not married, etc. It’s hard because it’s all relative to your own life experience.

When I was a new mom with one child, I felt that navigating new motherhood was difficult. I had no idea what I was doing but always felt like I should know. I second-guessed myself, doubted myself and continuously thought, is this what I’m supposed to be doing?

When I had my second baby 23 months after having my first baby I was straight up overwhelmed. I missed my firstborn, I was trying to get used to a new human with a (very) busy toddler running around, trying to balance my two children with my part-time job and my marriage that seemed to be thinking what the heck is going on?

When I had my third baby 21 months after my second I was like—okay, this is chaos. I am drowning. I had learned by this point that it would be in my best interest to accept help and reach out for help and not be ashamed of needing to ask for help. I had three kids ages four and under, my part-time work from home job (at Motherly) along with my marriage, home and a very long list of to-dos. I find myself often thinking, life won’t always be this chaotic, right?

My friends have gotten used to not hearing back from a text until three days later. My husband had been used to coming home to an exhausted and maxed out version of myself. My family had been used to hearing me vent, and they’re all used to encouraging me to slow down. My co-workers had been used to hearing me talk about the chaos and lack of consistent childcare around me.

I’ve become used to putting myself last on the list. Normalizing the overwhelm. Pushing through the exhaustion. Ignoring the voice inside me to take things down a notch.

But I’ve decided to put an end to that.

I’ve now decided to normalize adding my needs to the top of my list instead of shoving them out of the way.

I’ve now decided to recognize when I am over my limit and do something about that instead of ignoring it.

I’ve decided to listen to the voice inside me telling me that I need to take a step back.

And part of that step back is stepping down from my role at Motherly as the MotherlyStories Editor. Part of it is letting go of my flex-work, 20-hours a week part-time job at an absolutely wonderful company, surrounded by creative, inspiring, hard-working people. It’s rethinking what my life looks like right now among the most chaotic season of motherhood thus far.

I write a lot of essays telling other mothers to “listen to their heart,” to “trust their intuition,” to “own their journey” and all that it encompasses. I’ve read SO many beautiful essays from mothers around the world about how fast the time flies by and about being the best version of ourselves for our children.

And now it’s time I practice what I preach.

Stepping away from a supportive company filled with people who have become close friends is hard. This was not an easy decision for me to make. My family will lose out on the money I bring in, I will lose part of my identity as “editor at Motherly”  and I will miss collaborating with my teammates.

Motherly is doing valuable work that is changing the way our society and our world experiences and sees motherhood. It’s such an exciting time for the company! Yet, here I am saying goodbye.

Because I am trying to listen to what my heart is saying.

Because I am going to focus on myself and my family.

And because I just have to trust in my journey.

I want to thank Liz and Jill for taking a chance on me, their first employee at Motherly. To say this has been an amazing ride is an understatement. It’s been a true gift. Thank you for helping me find my voice and being two of the most supportive, energizing women I’ve ever met. It has been an incredible four years.

I want to thank my co-workers for inspiring me on a daily basis. I am in awe of all of you.

I want to thank the hundreds of women who have trusted me with their words and their hearts, allowing me to edit their empowering stories. Reading parts of your journeys have brought me to tears (SO many times!), have made me laugh, and have made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

Lastly, thank you to anyone who has read any of my essays. I have poured my heart and soul into every word I’ve ever published and I am proud of the work I’ve done during my time at Motherly. Storytelling is so important, and it’s such a gift. It connects us in our vulnerability and strengthens us in our shared experiences.

It is a vital part of motherhood because it reminds us that we’re in this together. I will still be around sharing my stories on social media, my blog, Motherly, and other platforms—and I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way.

My role as MotherlyStories Editor has been an experience of a lifetime! It’s been an honor. I can’t wait to see all that Motherly does and I will always hold a very special place in my heart for this chapter of my life.

Onto the next adventure! Whatever that is. 😂

You’ve got this.

Love,

Colleen

 

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