Imagine becoming a mother (without an instruction manual) and juggling it with a demanding career. Gifty Enright shares her raw and relatable experiences, from sleepless nights to emotional roller coasters. But she didn’t just survive; she learned how to thrive. Discover how Gifty transformed her life holistically and why her story is a must-listen for anyone seeking balance, well-being, and inspiration on Search and Replace.
More about today’s guest:
- Get to know Gifty Enright at giftyenright.com.
- Connect with Gifty via her Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
Explore these related stories:
- Octopus on a Treadmill, by Gifty Enright.
- Celebrating moms who are building careers and families at the same time, but careful not glamorize it.
- Getting good quality sleep, exercising, and eating more raw fruits and vegetables is crucial for good mental health and well-being.
[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the User Experience Specialists at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode.
[00:00:10] Joe Taylor, Jr: What if one of the most important things you can do in your life doesn’t include an instruction manual? I’m Joe Taylor Jr. This is Search and Replace.
[00:00:23] After years of working as an accountant and in information technology, Gifty Enright looked forward to becoming a mother. But she says she now knows there’s a lot that’s missing from the actual process of delivering a baby.
[00:00:36] Gifty Enright: As a mother, I honestly believe that the moment you have the baby, before you leave the hospital, somebody should pull you aside and go, here, here you go. This is what from now on, this is how you need to live.
[00:00:48] But it doesn’t happen like that. And so, you come home, suddenly there’s another human being that you’re 100 percent responsible for. And you’re supposed to maintain life like this didn’t happen. Which is crazy, but we keep doing it. And especially to those holding down a career as well. I mean, motherhood is hard enough. Do you know? It’s a full time job when you don’t have to work outside the home. So if you have to work outside the home, then you have, like, two jobs. And which is what I was doing.
[00:01:19] And the old perfectionist in me wanted to tick every box and wanted to do everything correctly, and I was damned if my children were going to get in the way. Which was a crazy way of thinking. And so, because I didn’t change anything and I kept going on as if they hadn’t happened, my body was paying the price.
[00:01:38] Joe Taylor, Jr: Gifty tried hard to keep all her plates spinning, but emotions soon reached a boiling point at home.
[00:01:45] Gifty Enright: My husband was like, listen, you know, we can’t go on like this. You have to do something about this. Because I was constantly fatigued. I would come home from work, sit on the sofa and just… before I knew it, I was asleep. I was always in a bad mood. I was having headaches. Ah, my mood swings were insane. Do you know? And I mean, guess who I was taking it out on? On these children that I wanted to, you know, do everything for. I was taking it out on my husband. Taking on the dogs, do you know.
[00:02:17] So I will go to work and pretend I didn’t have a family, you know. But this is it; so mothers are supposed to work like they’re not mothers and we’re supposed to parent like, we don’t work. You just… something is gotta give.
[00:02:30] I mean, the options I was given at that time was, if I was going to be serious about what was wrong with me, I was going to be poor medication for the rest of my life. And I thought, oh, hang on, there’s got to be another way.
[00:02:42] Joe Taylor, Jr: What happened next was informed by Gifty’s history and the fact that this wasn’t the first time she faced huge changes in her life.
[00:02:50] Gifty Enright: I grew up in a different culture because when I live in England now, I actually grew up in Africa. And I know the different cultures have a different approach to women’s health.
[00:03:00] And so I went on a journey just educating myself. Understanding that everything is linked. And that, you know, if you don’t stop and take care of yourself, something is going to give. And I was at that point where something was giving.
[00:03:15] I understood that the only way to fix this was to live holistically. It was a bit of a surprise I had to fix my sleep. That was not the easiest for me, but when I understood about the housekeeping that happens for the body while I’m asleep, the restorative activities that happened. It was interesting, the sleep actually was the quickest to affect my energy levels. I had to understand about food. I had to understand about exercise and what it did for my body and why it was a non-negotiable. So coming from, I don’t do sweat to exercise is non-negotiable- it was a leap.
[00:03:56] And also, it’s not just about the physical, it’s also about the mental and emotional and what that is doing to physiology as well. As in your psychology affects your physiology. And so it’s looking at it holistically, in terms of physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I had to completely change my life around, fix things in all those areas. And then I started feeling different in myself. I started feeling full of energy, my demeanor changed, and then literally, I started operating like a new person.
[00:04:31] Joe Taylor, Jr: Having mapped out the new routines that work for her, Gifty realized she could share her discoveries with other women.
[00:04:37] Gifty Enright: So once you get it sorted and you have a routine that supports you, you start seeing results very quickly. Because the body is ready to respond if you give it the right things, it would respond. But it’s just, we don’t know what the right things are. So we, kind of, keep bumbling.
[00:04:56] So I thought, okay, this is what I’m going to write about. When I started, it just came out. So, so that was straightforward. And I thought I was just going to write the book and carry on with my day job, as usual. But then after the book came out, I got invited to do a TEDx talk, which I did. And then from then I kept being asked to talk here and talk here and talk here. And then I thought, when it’s after every talk, people will come and ask me questions and everything. And then things that have been obvious to me for so long, people were, like, struggling to wrap their heads around. For me, it is helping mothers like that.
[00:05:31] Joe Taylor, Jr: Gifty realizes that hers has been a big journey; mentally, physically, and even geographically. But she shares some advice for anyone who’s looking for their own first step.
[00:05:42] Gifty Enright: A lot of the times, people say, Oh, you’re asking us to do a lot of things. You’ve got to be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, whatever. Where should I start?
[00:05:50] And I say to people, start where it feels easiest for you, that’s where you need to start. At the place where you have the most affinity, the place that is easiest for you to. And once you start, you soon gain momentum, and then you start seeing results, and then that becomes self-perpetuating.
[00:06:13] Anybody can do it, it’s like a recipe. And once you know the recipe, you can bake the cake. If you have the will. Right? And so the challenge sometimes is having the will to bake that cake. Because sometimes people don’t have the will but if you have the will, I’ll give you that recipe, let’s bake the cake.
[00:06:35] Joe Taylor, Jr: That’s Gifty Enright, author of the book Octopus on a Treadmill. We’ve got links to her work in our show notes and on our website at searchandreplace.show
[00:06:45] Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith, and Podcast Taxi Executive Producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire. I’m Joe Taylor, Jr
[00:07:05] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production.
[00:07:09] Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at www.MakeTheWebsiteWorkForMe.com