When trawling through my phone this week I came across some notes I made during the hazy hospital stay after having my little lady (I promise this is not a birth story)… now bare in mind I lived off digestive biscuits for 5 days and in between obs every 2 hours, feeding, changing and figuring out what the hell was going on, on reflection these notes were not exactly my most profound words of wisdom….. Baby mittens are useful for one thing only – protecting your baby’s cannula…. Swollen feet pre birth are nothing compared to these elephant feet bad boys…hospital beds singularly the most uncomfortable thing on earth….water heals a lot (!)…..
But there were some memories that captured the stark reality of those first days as a Mama….just realised I will do anything for this baby and her life is everything wow that’s kind of frightening…. Instinctively her needs come first and any shred of dignity can wait…when sleep deprived and emotionally charged the small things matter – feeling remotely relaxed, having space and the right things and right people around you….when what feels like your lowest moment you have to divide and conquer and eliminate at least one thing that will make things that little bit easier…
For me as a Mama taking time to take a step back and remember the journey you have gone through acts as a good reminder that in spite of working Mama guilt so far you haven’t done a bad job after all. It’s also been a week of reflection on those early days as a Mama boss too remembering what I went through in the beginning to get that position, how I felt in the early days and what I may have done differently in hind sight.
Although some of the early midwife appointments and NCT classes felt like an interview without a set of numbers to interpret or presentation to pull together, scenarios to consider and a serious grilling of questions nothing can have prepared me for Mama life where as by the time I had the call to say the role was mine I genuinely was more than ready and was confident I knew what I was about to tackle as Boss Lady.
I’d worked my way up the ladder, done the training, worked the late nights and grabbed every opportunity to get myself ‘on the radar’, knew the detail and even knew some of ‘interesting’ characters I was about to handle, I was ready and wanted it. Wanting it in spite of being young, female, not the most experienced people manager at that point, having friends in the team I’d have to figure out how to manage and knowing performance and engagement wise the team was at a low point. I guess wanting to be a good Mama and give my little lady the best start in life is no different, as in an earlier blog post if you want it make it happen.
In hindsight what would I have done differently in those early days as Mama Boss… Definitely not taken things so personally, remembered work is work, not everyone will like you and the decisions you make and that’s ok. You will probably never get to the end of your to do list and again that’s ok, don’t leave the office stewing on a disagreement or a problem you don’t understand; have the difficult conversation, tackle it head on and ask for help from others you are not there to know the answer to everything. Finally you have to be your own cheerleader, by the time you’ve reached Mama Boss you’re not going to get regular pats on the back, people will rarely say thank you and cling onto every good day and all the little things that make it worth it.
What advice would I give my Mama self in those early first days on reflection, all of the above… Plus something else which I think I’ve only just begun to realise nearly 18 months in to Mama life and again applies to what you do in the office and at hom; be true to yourself. Having a baby undoubtedly changes you, becoming the Boss forces you to step up and ‘be a manager’ but if wearing leather leggings instead of fleeces and having your nails done every fortnight as opposed to baking, talking about the apprentice not current affairs, and joining in the office Christmas decorating competition when you should be answering your 80 unread emails is you then do it, embrace it, own it and enjoy every last minute of it.
So whilst it’s confirmed I’m going part-time my role is still slightly up in the air, I do however at this stage know I will no longer be Boss Lady in same capacity… After much compromise it is time for someone else to take those first steps, live those first days and shape the future of the team their own way. I have shared my advice and own lessons and no doubt whoever takes on the reigns will learn their own along the way. I’ve been asked a lot already how do I feel about ‘stepping down’ the honest answer is I have very mixed feelings, but I know I will be a Mama Boss Lady for life, and in the same way one day I hope I get to experience those early Mama days again I know I will continue my Boss Lady journey in one sense or another, and in the meantime I will focus and look forward to the next new beginning… No more Monday morning commutes, no more guilt when your little lady runs to you and clings on like a limpet when you collect her from nursery, no more Saturday’s spent catching up on chores and in any event every good Mama Boss Lady has a backup plan…..
Hip Cool Mama Inspiration
Probably not very Mummyesque but definitely Mama Boss Lady style bomber jacket
Mentioned ‘leather leggings’
Love a red shoe
(Mickey Mouse currently comes everywhere)