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Mommy-hood is no easy feat; regardless of age your mind, body, spirit and career will never be the same. The moment you meet your healthy and beautiful bundle of joy, your priorities will shift and you will change. But after the maternity leave has ended, how do you re-invent your personal brand to incorporate your new status when its time to go back to work?
At 43, with two kids (including a toddler), and in the midst of a re-invention, I have recently upgraded from sweatpants to fitted jeans, and the process to become the “brand” new mommy has not been easy. I had a thought: do all mommies–including celebrities–struggle to re-define their personal brand? The answer is a resounding yes.
Recently I spoke with Grammy Award winning artist Monica, about re-defining her brand after a brief hiatus from the music industry. Sure, she has “fame,” a TV show, and a new album coming out, but at the end of the day, she shares the same concerns as I do about re-invention and re-entering the workforce after becoming a parent.
“The best sage wisdom someone told me about re-invention is to focus on the positive, what makes you special and different, and realize that just because you put yourself first, doesn’t mean your kids are not your first concern,” said the single mother of two pre-schoolers. Re-invention is not about the superficial but the qualities that make you feel centered as a person, says Monica.
After taking time off to have her children, Monica is back with a vengeance. She has a reality show on BET that chronicles her re-invention as she finds balance being a single parent, dealing with high blood pressure, recording a new album, building a business, and struggling to carve out moments to be still. Her fifth album, “Still Standing,” is scheduled for release on March 23. She chose the name as a testament of strength to all of us finding our way back home to self.
“Re-invention happened for me organically and I learned that it can’t be contrived,” she says. “My oldest son, Ramone, almost 5, loves to hear me sing and perform; he was the one that encouraged me to get back out there. I started this journey at 14 and built over 15 years of relationship. Re-invention is not about working hard, it’s about being smarter, utilizing and preserving relationships, and having a dynamite support system [mom, aunt, and cousins]. Pay attention to your elders and shape shift your mommy-hood to work for you.”
Listening to her, I realized that Monica is wise beyond her 29 years.
The same way it is important to refresh our brand and skills to take advantage of a job or opportunity during this recession, it is as important, if not crucial to renew and redefine the personal brand upon giving birth. It is imperative that we do not lose our magic once we have children.