Posts in Return to Work
Totum Stories: There is No Roadmap For Adjusting as a New Mom
Totum Women

Wendy Sylvester Thomas

Toronto, Ontario

South African/American/Canadian Friend, Business Lady, Mother, and Eternal Optimist 

From the moment I was pregnant, my mind was consumed with planning for our baby. Every type of new born decoration, detergent, dust buster and diaper was purchased for our precious baby. I gave no thought to me and how I would adjust to being a mom. I never thought about how I would feel about my new life with a baby or how it would feel to leave our precious baby with a stranger when I returned to work. It was the moment when we returned from the hospital to our NYC apartment, bucket seat with baby in hand that I realized that baby did not come with a manual and that there was certainly no manual for me on adjusting to my new life.

Being pregnant was the closest I came to being a celebrity. From always getting a seat on the subway to strangers speculating on the baby gender, it was me that was in full focus. The day after we returned from the hospital, celebrity status became a very distant memory and baby needs became omnipresent. What about me and the anxiety I felt adjusting to this new life?

I quickly realized that most questions were answered by trial and error and with many a Google search. I was lacking that central place to go, that central support system that could relate to my transforming life. My husband was beyond incredible as we adjusted to parents but no man could understand the emotional transformation that I was taking on.

I realized that baby did not come with a manual and that there was certainly no manual for me on adjusting to my new life.
Totum Women

As luck would have it, I had a few close friends who had babies weeks apart and together we branched into the new moms club together. Still, without guidance, we leaned on each other and those experiences we shared from the first few months bonded us for life. The stories we shared gave us the strength to adapt to our new lives as moms. As some brave moms returned to work, we relied on their guidance back into the workforce. That certainly did not come with a manual and lucky for me, I had great mentors who encouraged me along the way.

I have become so passionate about growing my career while being the dedicated mom that I have always wanted to be. Motherhood provided me with the opportunity to appreciate every moment in the day and to find that fine balance between work and family. The excitement of seeing my kids at the end of the day drives me at work. No matter how old my kids are, seeing them at the end of a work day is the best feeling in the world. My kids and husband are an inspiration to me and I can honestly say that since becoming a mom, I am a way stronger person. But every new phase brings a new set of challenges, concerns and the ever-present working mom guilt.  

I find that keeping a sense of humor and positive attitude makes a big difference for me, and I try to mentor younger women at work who are looking for support. Whether it's working from home after the kids are asleep, jumping on the trampoline and into Nerf gun battles after work before stopping to change out of my dress, or dedicating myself to fully focusing on the kids on nights and weekends until they're in bed, I'm consistently looking for the best way to hold myself accountable to high standards at work and at home. And sometimes it's exhausting. But I'm proud of being able to show our boys (husband included!) that I can lead a team at work while maintaining my sense of humor and softness toward family and friends.

I'm excited about the launch of this brand because it will mean that we can all give each other a bit of a hand and acknowledge that there's no one way to make it all work.  

Totum Stories Totum Women Blog
Totum Experts: The Difference Between Happening FOR You & TO You
Sarah Gibbons

Meet Conscious Working Mama Founder, Sarah Gibbons. Sarah is a legacy builder. She believes that feeling fulfilled is a result of marrying inner purpose and outer expression. A high-achiever herself, Sarah helps ambitious, driven women experience their truth and express it authentically in order to create unique, dynamic, and fulfilling lives. Conscious Working Mama offers 1-1 coaching and workshops for mothers in business.

Sarah is one of Totum's expert contributors on motherhood. To read more from our experts, click here.

The other day I was caught up with getting ready for a school holiday, prepping for a trip, packing up my family, and all that goes into taking a break from my practice. I was buzzing around, tying up loose ends, when my middle son looked up and said, “Look mom, the trees are dancing. They’re trying to delight me.”

It stopped me in my tracks. I looked up, and sure enough, it was windy, and the trees were dancing.

It was the last part of his observation that really got me though: “They’re trying to delight me.”

What a beautiful, joyous way of seeing the wind in the trees, as though they are there just to delight you. This simple idea that things are happening for you.

Imagine if that was the way you perceived everything around you?

How much more joy would you be able to receive?

What if you were able to perceive even the challenges as “happening for you” rather than “happening to you”?

That is my challenge to you this week, Mamas: Can you awaken your consciousness during one moment of stress and become so present to this new idea that you’re able to shift your perspective away from “This thing [fill in the blank with whatever awful, joyful, or even mundane circumstance is before you] is happening to me” and toward “this thing is happening for me?”

Would you perceive mundane things like wind in the trees as happening just for you, to delight you? Would you perceive challenging things, like an argument with your partner or an email from your boss, as happening just for you, to grow you, to awaken you, or to connect you rather than to you as punishment?

What if you were able to perceive even the challenges as “happening for you” rather than “happening to you”?

How would the landscape of your day change if you were to practice this perspective shift? What if you went from practicing this once a day to five times a day, to eventually seeing everything around you at every moment as happening just for you, as a gift, as the perfect package delivered just to your heart for you to continuously renew your experience of life. What if you believe that everything is happening to you for your own growth and expansion?

Imagine the infinite possibilities.

I’m the first to admit that when something goes wrong, it can feel good to point fingers. But talk about a joy robber. Let’s leave the victim number behind and own this, ladies. If we want to experience a calmer version of ourselves, and one that’s able to make a greater impact and laugh a heck of a lot more, then this spiritual tip is how you’re going to do it.

Remember the distinction: life is happening for you vs. to you.

Onward powerful women,


Read more from Sarah on her Conscious Working Mama blog.

Sarah Gibbons