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BY Liz McGrory

How This Jedi Mind Trick Can Help Working Moms Thrive

Princess Leia

Photo credit: Pinterest

TAGS: Working moms, Work-life balance, Mental health, Maternity leave

When you give birth to a baby you give birth to a new identity, a mom. Then your identity changes again when you return to work after maternity leave. Now you are a new working mom. You are going to feel overwhelmed by emotions such as excitement, sadness, and anxiety, to name a few. You’ll ask yourself, “Can I really do this?” And the answer is if you play this Jedi mind trick you have the opportunity to thrive as a working mom. 

Pack “It” Up in the Mommy or Work Box

The Jedi mind trick can also be called compartmentalizing. There're two ways you can do this.  You can either pack up your emotions into your Mommy Box or your Work Box. You play this trick when you need to think clearly to succeed at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Emotions about your family and work can creep up at inopportune times and can cause you, even more, stress than you already may be under. This is the moment where you can “pack it up” into whatever box it needs to go in so you can get your focus back. The tricky part may be when you “unpack it”. Let’s go over both.

When you return to work after maternity leave, you’ll be emotional. Yes, crying at your desk may occur but this is when you can play your Jedi mind trick and pack up these emotions into your Mommy Box. You can’t change reality at the moment so pack “it” up so you can get back to your work. During other parts of the day you may need to pack it up is before, during, or after daycare drop off, or when you check in with your childcare provider. You really want to hear about your baby’s day but it can get you off track at work.

On the flip side, when you are home with your baby you don’t want to be thinking about work. You know the time you have with your baby is precious and that quality is key. Packing up emotions like stress, anxiety, even excitement about work can help you bring your focus back to your baby. This strategy can help you connect more with your husband after the baby is asleep and it can also help you relax for the night.

Strategies for Unpacking the Mommy Box

So here’s the tricky part. You need to complete the Jedi mind trick in order for this strategy to work. You need to unpack your emotions at some point. Ignorance is bliss but if you do not unpack your Mommy Box and Work Box this can hurt you later on. 

Let's go back to when you were emotional at work during your first week back. On your commute home, if you’re alone in your car, unpack the Mommy Box. If you can’t wait until then and it needs to happen at lunch, let it flow the point is you can choose when to unpack the Mommy Box the more you practice this strategy.

You may feel the rush of tears, let them come. This emotion won’t last forever so let yourself experience it. You’ll be upset and then it’ll stop. Once you let it pass, start to ask yourself what triggered your tears. When you know the trigger you’ll be able to manage the emotion better the next time it comes up (because it will).

Next, decide why you felt the emotion so strongly. Is there something you could change in your environment so that the trigger doesn’t happen? Is there a personal boundary you can put up for now like asking co-workers to please not ask about your baby for a while so you can get back into the swing of things at work?

If you can’t determine why the trigger happened, don’t worry about it. You may need to play the Jedi mind trick with this emotion a few times before you figure things out. This is part of the process of figuring out a new identity so you can thrive.

Strategies for Unpacking the Work Box

There are a few times during the day you can use the Work Box to your advantage. When you wake up before everyone else in the morning unpack the Work Box for motivation.  Set goals based on the emotions you packed into the Work Box the night before so you feel more in control of the situation.

Once the baby wakes up, pack up the Work Box to focus on getting ready but after you drop your baby off, open the box again. If you packed up the feeling of anxiety now you can take action. The reality is that you are going to work and you have control over how you’re going to use your time.

Working moms need all the time and energy we can get to make it through our day. The quicker you master compartmentalizing into your Mommy Box and Work Box the less time you’ll spend in confusion or conflict and the more time you’ll spend in accomplishment and happiness.

--

Liz McGrory is a certified professional coach, speaker, author and Working Mom Expert on About.com.  Her job is to help working moms make audacious moves to balance their work and their life

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

Related Community Discussions

  • I recently got engaged, will be married October 2017. My fiance and I want to start a family right away. My job does not have paid maternity leave. Would it be premature for me to advocate for paid leave? My initial thought process was to figure this out as soon as possible. Maybe I should start looking for another job; researching other companies I noticed that most (all the one's that I saw) require employees to have been employed for a year before being offered paid maternity leave.

    If I could have my way I would stay where I am at and get paid leave.

    I have a positive relationship with my boss and can talk about this with him, however; he isn't the one who ultimately makes this decision, corporate does.

  • My company recently put in a nursing room/mother's room but it was designed in a way that the majority of the room is fogged glass - except one strip that runs right at sitting level that was left as transparent glass. I don't think it was done intentionally (men designed the room) but I now have to put up sheets of paper to cover the transparent strip of glass. Any idea on how to address this with my (all male) management team?

  • I recently had a child and worked out an arrangement with my manager to work from home 1-2 days/week. I'm the only female on my team and none of the co-workers have a similar arrangement. There have been discreet comments made about my schedule (mostly in a joking way) but it still feels uncomfortable. Has anyone else ran into this?

  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

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  • I need some advice. I recently took maternity leave, which ended up turning in to Temporary Disability Leave because of some medical complications I had after the baby was delivered. I returned back to work after being off for 24 weeks. I have returned to the same job and have tried to get back into the swing of corporate life + new baby (first time mom here) and have the opportunity to take an additional 4 weeks off paid by the state, but it needs to be taken and completed before my child turns 12 months old and that's fast approaching.

    I submitted a request to HR to take temporary leave of absence and my HR department is denying me the ability to take this leave, stating that I exhausted the 13 weeks FMLA that the company offers (has to offer) to all employees. They are saying that I don't qualify for this leave until a full 12 months after my initial leave started. Everything I have read online and everyone I have talked to say that FMLA and TCI leave are completely different and separate. Technically, I think I am allowed to take this leave, the State says I qualify for it, but it's now in my employers hands and I am afraid if they deny me, and I choose to still take the leave, that I will not have job security. The brochure talking about TCI doesn't say anything about FMLA being the deciding factor "http://www.dlt.ri.gov/tdi/pdf/TCIBrochure.pdf."

    Does anyone know what my rights are? Can I legally take the 4 weeks off, and still have a job to return back to? Given that I had to take so much time off, do I still qualify for job protection and benefits?

    Thank you for any an all help.

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How This Jedi Mind Trick Can Help Working Moms Thrive

How This Jedi Mind Trick Can Help Working Moms Thrive

When you give birth to a baby you give birth to a new identity, a mom.   Then your identity changes again when you return to work after maternity le...

When you give birth to a baby you give birth to a new identity, a mom. Then your identity changes again when you return to work after maternity leave. Now you are a new working mom. You are going to feel overwhelmed by emotions such as excitement, sadness, and anxiety, to name a few. You’ll ask yourself, “Can I really do this?” And the answer is if you play this Jedi mind trick you have the opportunity to thrive as a working mom. 

Pack “It” Up in the Mommy or Work Box

The Jedi mind trick can also be called compartmentalizing. There're two ways you can do this.  You can either pack up your emotions into your Mommy Box or your Work Box. You play this trick when you need to think clearly to succeed at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Emotions about your family and work can creep up at inopportune times and can cause you, even more, stress than you already may be under. This is the moment where you can “pack it up” into whatever box it needs to go in so you can get your focus back. The tricky part may be when you “unpack it”. Let’s go over both.

When you return to work after maternity leave, you’ll be emotional. Yes, crying at your desk may occur but this is when you can play your Jedi mind trick and pack up these emotions into your Mommy Box. You can’t change reality at the moment so pack “it” up so you can get back to your work. During other parts of the day you may need to pack it up is before, during, or after daycare drop off, or when you check in with your childcare provider. You really want to hear about your baby’s day but it can get you off track at work.

On the flip side, when you are home with your baby you don’t want to be thinking about work. You know the time you have with your baby is precious and that quality is key. Packing up emotions like stress, anxiety, even excitement about work can help you bring your focus back to your baby. This strategy can help you connect more with your husband after the baby is asleep and it can also help you relax for the night.

Strategies for Unpacking the Mommy Box

So here’s the tricky part. You need to complete the Jedi mind trick in order for this strategy to work. You need to unpack your emotions at some point. Ignorance is bliss but if you do not unpack your Mommy Box and Work Box this can hurt you later on. 

Let's go back to when you were emotional at work during your first week back. On your commute home, if you’re alone in your car, unpack the Mommy Box. If you can’t wait until then and it needs to happen at lunch, let it flow the point is you can choose when to unpack the Mommy Box the more you practice this strategy.

You may feel the rush of tears, let them come. This emotion won’t last forever so let yourself experience it. You’ll be upset and then it’ll stop. Once you let it pass, start to ask yourself what triggered your tears. When you know the trigger you’ll be able to manage the emotion better the next time it comes up (because it will).

Next, decide why you felt the emotion so strongly. Is there something you could change in your environment so that the trigger doesn’t happen? Is there a personal boundary you can put up for now like asking co-workers to please not ask about your baby for a while so you can get back into the swing of things at work?

If you can’t determine why the trigger happened, don’t worry about it. You may need to play the Jedi mind trick with this emotion a few times before you figure things out. This is part of the process of figuring out a new identity so you can thrive.

Strategies for Unpacking the Work Box

There are a few times during the day you can use the Work Box to your advantage. When you wake up before everyone else in the morning unpack the Work Box for motivation.  Set goals based on the emotions you packed into the Work Box the night before so you feel more in control of the situation.

Once the baby wakes up, pack up the Work Box to focus on getting ready but after you drop your baby off, open the box again. If you packed up the feeling of anxiety now you can take action. The reality is that you are going to work and you have control over how you’re going to use your time.

Working moms need all the time and energy we can get to make it through our day. The quicker you master compartmentalizing into your Mommy Box and Work Box the less time you’ll spend in confusion or conflict and the more time you’ll spend in accomplishment and happiness.

--

Liz McGrory is a certified professional coach, speaker, author and Working Mom Expert on About.com.  Her job is to help working moms make audacious moves to balance their work and their life

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

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