Do I still need to ‘lean in’ when I am just so tired?

advertise on south african mom blog

I came across Sheryl Sandberg and Lean In when I was on maternity leave with my first (December 2013). I was planning my move back to work and I was struggling coming to terms with being a mom and how that fitted in with wanting a career as well.

Then…I caught an interview with Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg, and I was blown away.

Here was a woman, a mother, super successful, COO of Facebook (right!) and she was setting the path. I immediately bought the book on my kindle – there was no time to get to Exclusive Books. I had to have it right then and there.

Related PostPart 1: Our Journey Of Equally Shared Parenting

Sheryl was telling me that I have choices.  ‘Hey even if you have a kid, lean in, go for it, allow/ encourage your husband lean in at home,  etc.’

I totally lapped it up and yes it was challenging but that became my motto. Lean in! The world was my oyster. I even had a lean in circle and quoted her in conversations. I loved this woman (and I still do).


Now here we are 3 years later, am I still leaning in?

lean in when tired

I now have two kids, we are a  mostly functional 🙂 and happy family. Sheryl was right by the way, ‘leaning in’ has been good for me, it came with stretch assignments, rewards and  sponsors. All good. As I said, I love this woman.

So everything is okay…. but I am so darn tired. So tired. I have two kids now, and I am over thirty, if I have not made it clear already having two kids is really busy and exhausting (yeah yeah I love them and all that).

[bctt tweet=”Lean In to the things that make you happy” username=”cherralle_”]

What I actually am saying is that I will lean in but will lean in to things that make me happy and fulfilled. This is something I started thinking about when I returned to work in February from my second (and final) maternity leave.

Related Post:  7 Things a Working Mother Wants To Tell her Boss

Leaning In: Where to from here?

Leaning in at work too much  takes time, head space and emotional energy. It could leave me with nothing left to give. Time is less of an issue, I mean actual emotional energy and head space. And I need that emotional energy and head space to live my life.

I want my girls and my husband to have me as part of their lives.

This book remains one of THEE books for me and I still find so much value in these ideas and that can be a whole post on its own.

My life has evolved and what I take from Lean In has evolved too. I needed it at a stage of my life, where I needed to understand how to work through being a mom who also WANTS to work.

And it served it’s purpose beautifully as I took exactly what I needed from it. It still remains a truly inspirational book to me.

I still need the concept of leaning in, but in a different way

I still believe there is value in the ideas from Lean In  for me personally as I do still want to work and make an impact through my work.

I like to think of leaning in, as having choices and as leaning in to what makes me fulfilled. It is not about leaning in to climb the ‘corporate ladder’, but it’s about ‘doing me’.

That is why it is important for me that the work I do excites, energizes and interests me.

I like how Cathy Caprino puts it “Let’s just choose what we want, and live that.” Lean in to life, work, family, kids,  whatever makes you feel fulfilled and happy. As life evolves, we evolve and change and that is okay.

Do you have any mottos, quotes, books that you find inspirational?


Author: Cherralle

Mom, wife and career loving parent. This blog focus on career and work life topics for mothers.

19 thoughts on “Do I still need to ‘lean in’ when I am just so tired?”

  1. I needed to read this. I always ask a mommy if there is such thing as balance. I love the idea of leaning into the things that really matter to you. I too struggle with the emotional and mental stress that my job brings and I am trying to remove that from focus from my life. I need to lean away. Lol. Brilliant article. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Pam for your thoughts. It took me a long time to realise that not wanting to give “my soul” to work, does not mean I am leaning back. It just means I am giving more of me to other areas in my life. And I am enjoying it actually.

  2. I agree, just because something works for you at one time doesnt mean it will always work. Evolving is so important. Because it becomes tiring to keep up with things you have grown out of.

    1. Thank you Venean for your comment, agree. Priorities change and perspectives change. Trust kids to bring that change in perspectives 🙂

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I recently found myself in this exact headspace. I’m definately leaning in on my family of late. Wish I had done it earlier, but circumstances are never the same.

  4. I enjoy your “voice.” Engaging writing. I don’t know about the whole leaning in thing though- it’s a lot of pressure. I think you’ll naturally lean in to things you enjoy. Work may or may not be one of them.

    1. Thank you Jen, I like leaning in naturally to what you enjoy. I think it took me some time to figure that piece out 🙂

  5. Really loved reading this piece as I read Sheryl book during my second maternity leave. I’ve learnt to prioritise and balance my “leaning in” effectively. The days I give too much at work I would get home with nothing else left to give to my boys and husband. This meant I had to manage my expectations in terms of climbing the corporate ladder. I love my job but I love my kids more. You got a new subscriber here 🙂

  6. “Let’s just choose what we want, and live that.” Lean in to life, work, family, kids, whatever makes you feel fulfilled and happy. As life evolves, we evolve and change and that is okay. I LOVE this!

  7. Weirdly at the moment a quote that inspires me right now is “Everything in life usually works if you unplug it for a few minutes and try again… even you” just the time in my life I guess! Love this post! #lekkerlinky

  8. Reading this post just clicks with what I’ve posted today on my Instagram feed. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. #lekkerlinky

  9. Love this. After many years in corporate, I decided to “Lean In” to my family and left my corporate job when my little one was 3. Now I focus on what makes me happy and what I enjoy. #lekkerlinky

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: