How to Gracefully Transition From Career Woman To Stay-At-Home Mom: Lessons From Kristin Helms, Author Of 'From Boardroom To Baby'
Kristin Helms, author of From Boardroom to Baby, chats with us about her transition from Marketing Manager at a Fortune 500 to stay-at-home mom, the importance of self-care, and balancing passionate hobbies with life at home.
1. Tell us about your new book, From Boardroom to Baby - how much does it relate to your personal journey? What encouraged you to write the book?
From Boardroom to Baby was written straight from the heart and is based on my own transition from career life to stay-at-home mom life. The book is made up of snippets from my own transition, guidance from a mental health counselor, exercises that help moms carve out their own path from home, and affirmations that promote grace and strength through motherhood.
When I first left my corporate marketing job to stay home with my daughter, I didn't foresee the internal obstacles that sometimes come hand-in-hand with that transition. Of course I was grateful to be home with my baby every day, but I felt taken off guard having to interpret the feelings that rocked my self-esteem and self-identity off kilter. I began talking to other mom friends who had also recently left full times career to stay home, and they were battling the same obstacles. I thought, why isn't this transition discussed more openly? Then, I read a Gallup poll that concluded that stay-at-home moms were reporting higher rates of depression than working moms. Based on my own experience, my discussions with other stay-at-home moms, and that Gallup poll, I knew I wanted to write this book to help other moms navigate the transition and design a life from home full of happiness and fulfillment.
2. Your book has been described as “encouraging”, “refreshing” and “magic with words,” how did you make that special connection with readers?
I think moms are connecting so much with the book because I wrote it straight from my own experiences. I didn't hold anything back or sugar coat anything. I sort of lay all the obstacles out on the table and say, now let's overcome these barriers with these specific tools, and design an amazing, thriving life from home. I think moms appreciate the transparency.
3. You chose to leave your full-time job as Marketing Manager at a Fortune 500 copmany to stay home to take care of your spirited toddlers, how was that shift? What were some of the challenges you faced? Did you question your decision along the way?
The pivot from a life through career to life on the home front is more complicated than it appears on the surface. Some of the biggest obstacles I had to sort out for myself included change of pace, validation, and a new identity. Running a marketing department and feeling validated through raises and praise throughout my corporate career was the complete opposite of staying home with a newborn. I had to learn how to give myself the same feelings of worth and accomplishment that I had previously received through my past career. Questioning my identity was also tricky because I realized that I stored a lot of my self-identity and self-worth in my past career. I had to redefine myself in my new life and discover what I needed in order to thrive so I could turn around and provide the best for my growing family.
5. How do you experience love as a mother? How is love different before and after motherhood?
The love I have for my children (and I know that other mothers have for their child(ren)) is bigger than any expression of time or space. You think you know and understand unconditional love before motherhood, but then you become a mother, your soul shifts and you realize -- this love is momentous, pure, and stronger than anything you've felt before. It's magic.
6. You are a mom to two toddlers, a wife, a writer and founder of Tribe Magazine, how do you take care of yourself outside of motherhood?
I actually just sold my Tribe Magazine, so I have one less thing on my plate, but I really try to make self-care a priority. I believe if a mother is happy and thriving, then her family is happy and thriving, too. It's hard to care for others when you're feeling depleted. I've realized that "self-care" doesn't always mean things like manicures/pedicures or a massage (although these things are definitely needed, too!) Throughout my book I talk a lot about tuning into your self and asking, "what do you need right now in order to thrive?" Is it a night out with girlfriends? Is it an uninterrupted hour with a good book? Is it making time for a hobby? Is it resurrecting an old passion you haven't practiced in a while? Stay in tune with yourself and what you need to fill your cup back up throughout motherhood.
7. What is your advice to Mitera mamas who are going through an identity shift and feel conflicted about staying home with their child and wanting to get back into the game?
Find an outlet outside of motherhood. Whether that outlet is a hobby (think about old hobbies that you haven't practiced in a while, or new hobbies that you've never tried but always seemed interesting) or starting a business or "side hustle" from home, an identity outside of "mom" is a nice way to balance your life at home and boost your self-esteem. Again, consistently ask yourself this simple question: What do I need right now in order to thrive? Your answers may change over time as life unfolds and you need different things, so keep asking and keep listening. You have the keys to your own happiness-- allow yourself the space to thrive.