You begin to blink the sleep from your eyes as the “beep, beep, beep” alert from your resounding alarm comes more and more into focus. It’s a new day. Immediately, your brain is overwhelmed by your large to do list that seems to just get longer with every passing hour. Before you are able to collect those pressing thoughts, your kids rush into your room, it’s a new day for them, too. “Here we go,” you think as you force your body out of your bed.
Sound familiar? Same, girl. It’s interesting, before I became an entrepreneur I struggled to understand how other mothers that also worked managed to do it all AND keep their ever present “mom guilt” from stealing their joy. There is so much pressure on our shoulders as soon as we become mothers to have it all together and to do it with a smile on our faces.
Friend, I am here to tell you, we won’t ever have it “all” together. However, we can find joy within the journey and that joy starts with being honest with ourselves.
Growing up, I never imagined a future for myself outside of being a stay at home mother to my children. I was always a very determined student. I went to college, got a degree, and I intended on using that degree. I met my husband and married him all within a short span of 4 months! The Lord quickly blessed us with our first child the following year, and my dream of being a stay at home mother quickly became a reality.
Have you ever wanted something so bad, and then when you finally get to experience it and realize that maybe you were off that you just…freeze? Don’t get me wrong, my children are my entire world, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that being a stay at home mother was not in the cards for me. Well, scratch that, I realized it, but I didn’t choose to recognize and accept it for years to come.
Here’s the thing, there is no rule book on how to be a good mother. Actually, being a “good” mother looks quite different for most. Perhaps you choose to work outside of the home. Maybe you don’t have a choice, and you have to work in order to keep your family fed and long for the opportunity to be home with your babies. You may stay home and rock it like the bad a** that you are! Or, maybe you are like myself and the depression and anxiety that can consume you from being home all of the time without a break is overwhelming. Just know that while the world of social media portrays all of your friends as mothers of the year, they all struggle, too. Those struggles just look a little different for everyone.
Depression and Anxiety are Liars
Did you know that it is common for anxiety to present itself in anger and frustration? It’s true. I had no idea that this was the case until a follow up visit with my doctor. She asked me how I was doing and I replied how short and hostile I had become with our kids. She offered a friendly smile and explained, “You are experiencing anxiety.” WHAT!? THAT is anxiety? Yes friend, it can be, and in my case it absolutely was.
My ever-growing anxiety quickly brought me to the realization that our attitudes are contagious. Have you ever been in a foul mood and suddenly your kids are, too? That’s not a coincidence, our children feed off of us. They read our cues and guide theirs by what they observe within us. It took 2 more children and 5 years before I finally allowed myself to feel what I was feeling and recognize that I was not meant to be a stay at home mother.
After our first son, I slipped into a very scary depression. With each child’s birth in the following 4 years, my depression and anxiety became overwhelmingly worse. After a lot of trial and error, my doctors found the right dosage of medication to finally get my brain juices pumping again. However, even after I was feeling better on my meds, I still couldn’t pull myself out of my “funk.” Everything I did from the time that I got pregnant with our first child to the present revolved around my kids. I found a whole new world within motherhood, yet, I lost a huge part of who I was while doing so.
So, I am here to tell you…that it is ok. It is okay to need more, to want more, and to dream bigger. This is your hall pass. Being a mother is one of the biggest joys that I have ever been able to experience, it is also one of the biggest responsibilities that I have acquired. You are allowed to need something else outside of motherhood to fulfill you. In fact, you will be a better mother for allowing yourself to pursue something that is purely for you.
Honesty Really is the Best Policy...
Want to know the secret sauce to being a mom? Even more to being a successful mother and business owner. Be honest with yourself. For the longest time, I thought that somehow my mom card was going to be stripped from me if I admitted that I didn’t want to continue to stay at home with my children. I felt like that somehow made me less of a mother to need something more than them. Boy, how wrong I was!
Your joy can come from more than just your children. Read that again. Your joy is NOT dependent on being a mother and only a mother. You are not taking anything “away” from them if you decide that you need something more. If anything, you are giving them something. The gift of a mother who recognizes where her strengths and faults lie and does something about it!
I can tell you first hand that when I decided to open and run a boutique our family drastically changed. I became less of an angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed mother, and more of a loving, patient, and giving human. How? How in the world did I add more to my plate, and grow from it? I was finally allowing my creativity to thrive. I pushed that mom guilt away and I really challenged my heart and asked myself, “what am I doing right now that isn’t working for our family and what can I do to make myself a better mother?” My answer had been there all along, I had just ignored it for years out of the fear of the unknown. When I finally took the plunge and opened my boutique in 2019 and became not “just” a mother, but also an entrepreneur, my entire mindset changed in EVERY aspect of my life. I then grew to be a better mother because of it.
What have you been pushing away out of fear? What would you do right now if you knew that there was nothing to be afraid of, but actually a whole new world to embrace?
Tomorrow, when that alarm inevitably goes off, your children awake, and your day begins…start with being honest with yourself. Being a successful mother and business owner starts with you. What can you do today to further your dreams and goals tomorrow? What are you doing right now that isn’t working? And, what is bringing you joy?