You Can Do Both: Don't Lose the Other Parts of Yourself to Motherhood

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If you feel pulled between being a good mom and also doing the things you love to do-Whether that means your career, a hobby, a side business, a creative endeavor, whatever it is…this is for you.

For some reason, there’s this idea out there that we can only be one or the other if we’re going to do it well. I’ve struggled a lot with this idea.

I mean, no one ever really told me I should be a stay at home mom. I haven’t chosen this route out of obligation- I never thought this was the only way to be a good mom.

I’ve chosen staying at home because I wanted to. I felt like that’s what would work best for me and my daughter in this season. But I also want to work. I want to do the creative things I love to do. I spend time in the early mornings and during nap times doing exactly that. 

I’ve been judged for this- for my choices- I’ve been judged for both staying at home and for being a working mom. Since I do both, I get to see the truth: You’ll be judged either way. You can’t win.

I’ve been encouraged to return to work- as if staying at home isn’t purposeful.

I’ve been encouraged to put the podcast aside- as if working and doing the creative things that fill me up makes me less of a mom.

So, we can’t win. At least, not when we’re seeking the approval of others- whether that be a family member or just cultural pressures in general.

Because there’s some serious messaging out there in our culture that says you’ve got to be a martyr to be a good mom- and it’s just so ridiculously wrong. 

No one can live happily that way. And you deserve happiness. 

So, Here’s another truth: You can be a good mom AND take care of yourself. You can be a good mom AND also focus on a career. You can be a good mom AND choose to put time towards whatever hobby or creative thing you love doing. 

In fact, I’d bet that if you focused on yourself and your own talents and passions, you’ll be an even better mom, simply because you’ll be a happier one. 

Another truth: The balance between these things is hard to find. And maybe there isn’t a balance at all. Maybe we’d all be happier if we stopped trying to find this perfect, imaginary balance and just defined what balance looks like on our own instead of finding it. To love and mother to our fullest capabilities within that day, and to create and work and take care of our own needs to our fullest capabilities within that day. Some days we’ll feel like we’re getting it right. Some days we’ll feel like we’re totally doing it wrong. But that’s okay, as long as you’re doing the best you can within that day. That’s living. 

Look, no matter how out of balance or balanced you feel, no matter how fully you’re living, no matter how happy you are to be taking care of yourself and caring for your own passions, no matter how well you are loving your children- if you’re looking to someone else for approval that you’re doing it right, you might be let down by their opinions. So maybe stop doing that. 

Instead, follow your gut. Follow your intuition. Are your kids happy? Are you happy? Are you feeling purposeful in your days- whether you’re working full time, momming full time, or balancing it all as best as you can- how’s that going for you? Answer to yourself and your people. If it’s working- even if imperfectly- count it good. And drown out those other voices.

You can be a really good mom and do the things you love. You can be a really good mom and make yourself a priority. You can be a really good mom and care about your own happiness. I mean, when I think about what I want for my daughter- I want her to see me thriving so she knows she’s allowed to thrive as well. I want to teach her that her dreams and passions are important by showing her I believe the same about mine.

Your kids will learn from watching you- and you’re kids’ happiness actually feeds off of your own. And you won’t be happy if you completely lose all other parts of yourself to motherhood. So here’s your permission: be a really great mom and make yourself and your own passions a priority. Not only is it possible to do both, but I kind of believe they actually work together.

Desirae Endres