Monday, August 13, 2018

My Job Nearly Crushed My Spirit

I wrote and deleted many different titles for this post. I landed on this one because it feels the least hyperbolic. 

When I finally had time to go to therapy this summer, my therapist literally said, "I hope the past five years have not crushed your spirit or your sense of self." 

Now that I'm through it, I can see what he's talking about. If someone said to me: "I have two children who are two years apart," I would say, "That's hard." If that same person added, "And I'm a full-time working mother," I might say, "Wow, that's really hard!" And if she then went on to say, "And I was the founder and CEO of a start-up during the first 5-7 years of my children's lives," I might respond with, "What?!?"

But that's exactly what I did. 

I underestimated how hard it was going to be, and I committed to doing too much, too fast, with too few staff members. 

Luckily, I'm still standing, with my spirit and my sense of self still in tact. Phew! And the school we have built is incredible. There is so much love, care, inclusiveness, passion, and commitment to children.

I have done regular work with a leadership coach for the past two years to understand how to better prioritize and streamline what I take on and when. I have also worked with her to develop routines and habits that help keep my bucket full so that I can show up better to do the hard work. 

I'm now making time and space for regular therapy so that I can process what the therapist calls the "trauma" of the past five years, as well as the trauma of my childhood. I put trauma in quotes because I see others going through much more significant trauma (that isn't self-inflicted) on a daily basis. I don't take the word lightly. But, at the same time, understanding my own experiences as trauma is part of what will help me heal from it. 

I'm so grateful for the journey I am on and am so happy to be back in this space with time to write about it! Connecting with each of you is such a gift. 

I hope you are doing well! 

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katharina said...

And you can add (as far as I know) no grandparents nearby who can help out with childcare and stuff. Good to see you back. Good luck with everything.

Shawn said...

Your journey is something that I so appreciate you sharing with us in this space. Wishing you lots of growth and wellness!

Nora said...

Yes, you have done so much. I appreciate your commitment to Montessori and bringing about her vision of Peace Education by creating a more inclusive model. May therapy be a personal journey of peace education for you.

Sara E. Cotner said...

Ha, ha, ha! Great point, Katharina!

Thank you, Shawn and Nora! It's great to see your names still in this space!

Unknown said...

YES ! and you are also a great blogger ! You are a kind of hero to me, who stop working after having my third child. I dare to work, but know I am pregnant with the fourth one and the others are 7, 6, 3 years old :D You are a very inspiring person, and I will wait until my children are older to follow your path. I understant very welle what you call "trauma" it was already a little trauma to me when I had to consider working less to fill my first child need and then having a second baby ! I recovered :) And know I feel good. Am I happy you didn't lost your spirit and your mind.. You are very strong

Sara E. Cotner said...

Thank you so much for your kind words!

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