As many new parents know, the first few weeks home with a newborn are simply survival. And as a mom to two amazing little ones, I had two time periods in which I was able to truly discover exactly what it meant to be in survival mode.
My first leave I had a colicky baby, a full-time role as a public relations manager, and a successful small business to run. Needless to say, I had my hands—and my heart—full. Like many moms, I love to work for so many different reasons, and it wasn’t until my second maternity leave that I realized just how necessary working and productivity were to my own well-being.
My second maternity leave was different. I was still in the same challenging position at work, I now had a two-year-old along with my newborn, but I had sold the small business. My maternity leave was a challenge. Here I was, so beyond blessed to have two healthy, amazing children and an employer that gave me plenty of time off, yet I felt like I was missing something. I soon discovered the hole that needed to be filled and, for me, that was some sort of side ambition that not only ignited that fire in my belly, but provided the level of productivity I needed. For me, productivity became a basic need for survival.
My second maternity leave was a learning experience and I soon set out to find exactly what I need to satisfy my basic needs for survival. For me, I discovered that there are four things I absolutely need to be at my best—as an employee, wife, mom and overall person:
1. Healthy, nourishing food (most of the time!)
2. Heart-pumping exercise for my body and mind
3. Support and optimism from those around me
Everyone’s basic needs for survival are different and I encourage others to look at times in their lives when they felt like they weren’t the best version of themselves. From this, pinpoint certain requirements that you need to fulfill in order to be the best version of yourself. Now, when I don’t feel “right,” or something seems off, I simply look to this list and identify what’s missing at the current moment.
With that in mind, what do you identify as your top needs?
Kelly Santos is the founder of cart mama, a shopping cart attachment that makes shopping with kids easier, and serves in the marketing department of Carousel Industries. She is mom to two amazing little kids, wife to a supportive husband, baker of everything sweet, part-time runner, landlady, and former small business owner. To connect, send a hello to firstname.lastname@example.org.