Who Else Wants To Be Successful at Motherhood and Career?
I remember the first day that I had to take my son to daycare after my mother-in-law returned home. He was 10 months old. I was truly a mess that day. The director of the school handed me several tissues on my way out the door. My husband tried to console me and for this, he got his head chewed off. All of a sudden, I didn’t want to work anymore. I wanted to stay and be with my baby every single moment of the day. Several what ifs swam around in my head and for some reason, I felt that I could be the one to prevent anything from happening to my son if I only I could be with him. Work grew harder. I was just not that into it. In fact, my attitude was, my baby will only be this age once and all other aspects of my life paled in importance to my role as “mother”.
Before I had my son, I was super ambitious. Applying to graduate school while I was pregnant and starting my first semester right around the time he was turning 4 months old. Fortunately, I had my mother-in-law to help me. She stayed with us my entire first semester of school. In addition to going to school, and working full-time, I also had a small beauty start-up I was running. It was a lot to juggle with a new baby. When I thought about motherhood before I had my son, I was always adamant about working. Having my own money, my own goals, life pursuits. This was all very important to me. My mother always worked, so it was really the only model I knew. I don’t recall ever thinking to myself that I would be a stay at-home mother. My years working at an investment bank were probably the first time I realized that there were women who only took care of their child(ren). It was a foreign concept and just simply unrelatable to me. Furthermore, productivity was something that had been ingrained in me from a very young age and how on earth could you be a productive member of society if you don’t work? My output was linked in many ways to my self-worth.
Fast forward to when I had to drop my son off and all of a sudden at that moment, being a stay at home mom actually seemed like the greatest thing since sliced bread. Eventually, these emotions passed and I realized that what I needed most, was flexibility. Fundamentally, I still had dreams and goals of my own. Things that I just needed to pursue outside of my role as a mother. What I needed and truly desired, was flexibility.
I have always enjoyed my independence and have always been a fierce hustler at heart. Wielding my intense drive to accomplish whatever I want and being creative about the myriad ways I go about reaching my goals. This was an aspect of myself that I didn’t want to lose when I became a mother. I also wanted my son to be proud of me. To have a role model of a woman who passionately and fearlessly goes after what she wants. Who preserved an identity outside of an existence that was purely and solely for him. I never wanted to be defined solely by my “wife” and “mother” roles. Especially when these were roles, I adopted for less than half of my life.
Starting my blog reignited my love for writing and eventually, brought me back to my very first passion in life. I always loved writing and thought maybe I would be a writer one day. I love creating and writing has always been a deep form of release for me, but I had a lot of fear surrounding how successful, I may or may not be as a writer. Initially, I resumed writing as an outlet to balance the craziness of my corporate life. However, eventually, I came to understand that if I took my writing seriously, it could give me the flexibility that I desperately needed and wanted as a mother.
While writing does offer me flexibility, self-employment comes with its own challenges when you are a mother. It requires self-discipline and a support system. I quickly realized I had to overcome my incessant desire to always be with my son when he was not someplace else. I had to understand that I’m not less of a mother because I’m diligently working to create the best life for my son that I can. Funnily enough, I also had to explain these things to myself when I was working in the corporate world full-time so there is always something. Given the fact that my son is old enough to occupy himself for periods of time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with him doing so, while I work on a project.
Obviously, the question about whether to work or not is a deeply personal decision, yet one that many mothers grapple with. Only you know your situation. Think about your personal desires and necessities. What you want your lifestyle to be, your ideal financial landscape, your support system, and what has to occur in your life, in order for you to be personally fulfilled. The answers to these, differ for everyone. These are probably just a few of the tools needed to make the best decision. Also, try to connect with other mothers. Find out about the system that has worked for them. Or just get a perspective outside of your own. There is pure gold in making connections.
Love x Light