Most of us would agree that when you become a mom life changes drastically and in an instant. The world you knew is no longer the same and the world you now live in is strange; you have familiar elements of your old life combined with a brand new person (or people!), new tasks, new responsibilities, and often no clue about what you’re doing! Each one of us will experience the first minutes, hours, and months of motherhood in our own way.
For some of us it will take months (or longer) to feel like ourselves again. When the dust of postpartum settles and we’ve moved into “mommy mode,” we may realize that we want more. Now, let me be clear: if you want to be a mom, focusing on that and being there for your family without working, I give you credit for that. That life wouldn’t work for me.
Before kids, I’ve always known that one day I would have kids and a career. The field of study I chose has allowed me to balance being a mom and a woman who works. I am not built to be around my kids 100% of the time; I am built to create, to support and to teach (others who are not my children). Those ideas are not mutually exclusive to me. I am a better mom because of the work that I do. And, my work has evolved because of becoming a mom.
Becoming a mom is an immediate, all-encompassing change
The idea of wanting more isn’t just about working or not; it’s about acknowledging that when we become moms, it’s way too easy to lose the other part of yourself- the part that was not a mom for 2-3 decades (give or take). When you become a mom, it seems like your life gets divided into two in an instant: you have your previous life and you have your new life.
Often times first-time moms run whole-heartedly into this new life because it’s what we wanted, what we tried for, and what we are so happy to have found. (Of course there are bumps along the way in this process! Check out my post on marriage getting hard when baby joins the family). It seems that some of us end up having an “all or nothing” mentality when we become a mom. This makes it hard to keep track of yourself as a person who also has a new role of being a mom.
Do you want to be a mom and want to do something more than that?
I’m here to say that it’s okay. You can be a fantastic mom and want to be away from your kids at times. You can be someone who loves her kids, her family, and herself whole-heartedly. There of course will be times where our family’s needs take priority over ours, but I want to encourage you (and remind myself!) that we also need to remember ourselves and our own needs in all of this. Wanting more may be going to a movie with friends, having an uninterrupted glass (or two) of wine at the end of the day, starting an Etsy business, or working part or full-time.
[bctt tweet=”Wanting more may be going to a movie with friends, having an uninterrupted glass of wine at the end of the day, starting an Etsy business, or working part or full-time.” username=”GetMomBalanced”]
Regardless of what “more” means to you, know that it is okay. It might even be better than okay- it might end up being really good for you and your family that you have something outside of them. And, if you are completely content as a mom and feel that having kids is the “more” you have been searching for all along, that’s fantastic too!
Part of my “more” is work. If I had millions of dollars in the bank would I stop working and stay home with my kids? No, I wouldn’t. Work is a part of who I am and what helps me be content. Would I work less if I had millions in the bank? Probably, but I would still work. It does help that I really like the work that I do; if I didn’t, this post would probably be a bit different. But whatever your “more” is, don’t be afraid to make time for it or begin to pursue it.
What if you want more and don’t know what that is?
You may know that being a mom doesn’t feel like enough but you might not be sure what would fill that need in your life. If this is the case, start by thinking about what you loved pre-kids, what excites you, or what you would find relaxing or interesting (if you had time!). It’s okay not to know what you want to be doing, but don’t let that unknown stop you from figuring it out. Remember that finding the “more” and going after it can make you feel better as a person and as a mom.
There will probably be at least one person (maybe more) in your life that don’t agree with you wanting more for yourself. This person or people won’t understand why being a mom isn’t enough, or won’t understand or agree with the choice you make on what your “more” actually is. You know what? Screw them. Seriously.
Stay true to yourself and find your “more”
As long as you are also taking care of your family and fulfilling those responsibilities, it doesn’t matter what other people say. They do not live day in and day out in your world. They don’t get it and they don’t need to. Remember that if you do not fulfill your own needs, you will not be the best mom or partner you can be. Hopefully you don’t have to explain or justify yourself to anyone, but if you do, I hope that the person questioning your needs is not your spouse. If it is, send him this post and tell him you’ll be able to be a better partner in your marriage and family life when you are fulfilled.
So, moms, take the time to think about it: are you satisfied? Could you be even more satisfied? Maybe you need something else in your life- maybe you need more than what you have now. Figure out what that is and go for it.
Let us know- what’s the “more” in your life and how are you going after it?
I LOVE this so much! For the longest time, I felt completely drained. I was giving everything I had to my kids and my husband, but I didn’t have that “something MORE” to help replenish myself. So I wasn’t happy, I was snappy and cranky because I was trying to give from an empty cup. Finding something MORE is so necessary!
Thanks, Stefani! And what I think is so hard is just what you said- we’re already drained so the thought of “more” can feel overwhelming…it’s counterintuitive to think that adding more is actually a good thing when you’re feeling under water already. Glad you found your “more”!
Love this! yes, there is no way our previous existence just gets wiped out when we have a child. Of course we want more, more of what we had before, more of what makes us.. us.. sometimes. And it is perfectly reasonable that we try to get it 🙂
Thanks, Julie! Our “previous life” definitely doesn’t get wiped out but it ends up feeling so different and far away once you have kids!
I love this! I can really relate to it. In the hospital on the day my daughter was born, I was resting, recovering, and keeping up with industry news, because my career is part of who I am. I believe that happiness comes from being true to ourselves, and for some women, being career women as well as mothers is being true to who we are.
Yes!! Thanks, Laura! Just because we have kids doesn’t mean the other parts of us aren’t important anymore. I always knew that having a career AND kids is what would work for me and I know we’re not the only ones who feel that way. Thanks for sharing!
YES! I am taking some time for myself this week and keep having to fight the mom guilt away because I need it. Summer is hard because it is all me, all the time so finding “mom time” is even more important!
Good for you, Anne Marie- definitely don’t feel guilty about it. Time for ourselves makes us better at being a mom! I still send my preschooler to school in the summer because he doesn’t need to know that most kids take the summer off! It definitely makes life easier…I don’t know what I’ll do when he’s home all summer!!