How Finding my Tribe Saved my Sanity
When my daughter was born everything about business as usual went out the window. Of course, if you are a parent, you know. But perhaps like me, before the baby came, you had no idea what the reality of that looked like. I was prepared to give up almost nothing in my former life and thought I’d just add baby into it all. Like a new part-time job or something. I held on tight to my small business, my professional performing life and to all the things that defined me as a person for my entire adult life.
At the time I was pregnant, Sheryl Sandburg was busy telling women to lean in and push harder and it seemed to me that women all around me were doing it all and having it all so I figured I could too. It took me a while to find out that this was actually complete bullsh*t. Sheryl Sandburg for one had two nannies, I on the other hand was doing administrative work at 1am, bleary eyed unfocused and leaking copious amounts of breast milk. My partner, bless his cotton socks, was in his own kind of personal hell, having taken on a new high pressure job literally 2 weeks after the birth of our child. If you are thinking, “you guys were idiots”, I wouldn’t blame you. I think we were too.
A new baby can be hard on the parents’ partnership, and we were no exception. We were struggling to keep it all together. To add insult to injury, my partner was my sounding board for all things business. We were going over business goals and spreadsheets at 11:30pm at night when we were exhausted so as you can imagine every “meeting” ended in an argument. We decided we couldn’t discuss business anymore. That alone probably saved us as a couple.
But I still needed a sounding board desperately. My small business was not doing well and I was almost completely out of optimism that I could make it work. I started reaching out to acquaintances with MBAs and people I knew that were running successful businesses who could potentially mentor me. After a few fruitless meetings I was coming up short for somebody who might fit the bill or had the desire. I was feeling exhausted and cynical and there were more than a few times I thought I should just throw in the towel.
Enter Mamas and Co.
I will admit that I had low expectations for my first meeting. I was in a dark place and I wondered what this group really had to offer, and what right I had to even call myself a business woman. And then... the woman whom had invited me to come introduced me to the room and sang my praises, telling them all I was doing important work with children. And everything began to change for me from there. In big and small ways the light began to shine again. I was pretty closed off to the group at that first meeting, so it wasn’t like I just stepped in and went “oh awesome here is my tribe”. It took time. But as I look back over the last year with Mamas and Co. I see that the group was exactly what I was looking for and what I needed to stay sane in a very hectic and confusing part of my personal and professional life. The group has given me tons of hard business skills and networking opportunities of course, but it has also given renewed vigour. I am inspired by the women everyday and I am so proud to be a member.