The Soul Shift
I consider myself a keen observer of modern motherhood. I’ve stood outside the lines of the working mom playing field for three years now and have treated my career break as a planned sabbatical. I made the conscious decision to create space for a life shift and a new identity no longer defined by a professional title.
Before babies, my work was my everything. I knew it like the back of my hand. I was in control. In a way it felt like home. Then there she was, my first born. A seven-pound life changer. Work, the center of my main stage with its accolades, it’s invigorating pace, it’s all encompassing rhythm…well, it evaporated. Who I identified myself as for the last ten years of my life slowly became a blurry image. I mean, I know I was her at one point – her business suits hang in my closet – but as much as I seek her out I can’t find her.
The soul shift of motherhood – this is how it happened to me. Every fiber of who I knew myself to be fell out of order. Almost three years later it remains a bit of a jumble, like wooden puzzle pieces waiting to be put together. How can I continue to be the mother I am, the mother I strive to be and also the career girl who has me looking over my shoulder? Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent says “Who we were before becoming a parent doesn’t and cannot exist with the same ferocity. Once children enter our life, their impact is indelible, and we are required to reinvent ourselves in response” (emphasis mine).
Reinvention. Maybe this is what I am missing. Maybe this is why it feels like I am hammering away at a round peg willing it to fit into a square hole. Trying to sneak up on my old identity like a child with a butterfly net. Knowing she is there but unable to recognize her long enough to grab hold.
So what if I stop the chase, put down the butterfly net and trust that my personal soul shift is leading me toward a better path. Urging me to unlearn who I was in order to become who I need to be. A sign that it is time to take the best parts of who I was pre – parenthood and paint a new picture. If I buy into this idea – I mean really buy in – could there be a new definition of self waiting to be scooped up, soaked in, and loved?
The soul shift of motherhood is universal, I believe. And like the mothers before me who returned to professional work after making time and space for another life, I too will return to my business suits and dance to the rhythm of career when the time is right. But this time the dance will look different; it will be less rigid, less vigorous, less all-encompassing because I know longer dance alone. This new identity, a blending of the best parts of past and present will be uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but if embraced can spur on the evolution from who I am to who I want to be. Personal evolution born of a soul shift. A life changing combination, don’t you think?
Photo credit: Phillip Durand