For years I carried around the guilt of motherhood not being ‘enough’. I am one of the many many women who believed that motherhood needed to fulfill me, complete me, and be my everything.
if you are a fulfilled, completed, content, happy mommy – this post is NOT for you!
I don’t know if this is because I was raised by the world’s most amazing and committed mother, who was there 100% for my brother and I, or if it’s because somewhere I was taught this somewhere along the way. All I know is that for the first few years of motherhood, I was riddled with guilt that I was a terrible mother, that I didn’t love my kids enough, that I was somehow failing, and definitely NOT a good mom.
As God took me down a path of stripping me back further and further, I realised that my desire to ‘do’ didn’t diminish, in fact, it was growing.
I’m a big believer that when God strips us, he’s not destroying us, he’s rebuilding and restoring us. It’s been my story and walk with God over and over again throughout my life. So if I follow that ‘logic’, as I’m stripped, I’m CLOSER to my original design than before. He’s removing the masks, the layers, the false fronts that I’ve built, and he’s renewing the original design. So if my desire for ‘more’ than motherhood is growing through that process,, maybe, just maybe, it’s from him?
Could it be?
Could it be that God might have MADE me with these desires?
I was excited.
Maybe the craving I had inside me to create, to build, to write, to educate were all from him, and not just a sin against my kids!
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my kids more than anything in the world – especially when they’re sleeping (of those rare moments when they’re friends….)! And they will ALWAYS be my priority, my first port of call and will come first. But that doesn’t mean I can’ t also have a side hustle does it…?
Fast forward a few years and I’m sat here writing this blog.
I’m not Jenna Kutcher (but I pretend I am), but I am juggling this mom-thing, and this business-thing and have learned a LOT through it.
Most importantly, my work won’t suffer when I prioritize my kids.
This was one of the biggest lessons I learned during the Corona outbreak. My kids had a 3-week vacation in the middle of the 12-week lockdown we had, and I probably reduced my workload by at least 70% and yet my productivity went UP!
When you prioritize your kids, you’re FORCED to streamline your work!
As my business guru Jenna Kutcher says: work SMARTER, not harder…
Don’t get my wrong, I work when my kids are around. I think it sends a good message that mom’s can work, that women can juggle, and that they can ‘have it all’! BUT…
I am not about to start neglecting my kids more, because work comes up.
This doesn’t come naturally.
It comes from constant self-critiquing, constant reassessing, and continual accountability both to my kids, and to my husband. Get ready for lots of complaining and mom-bashing!
No matter how much I manage my time well, use that little magical word ‘no’ to work, or take days off – they will ALWAYS say I’m not doing it enough, that they want me around more, and that I could be doing better.
And you know what?
That means I’m doing it right.
If one day they say “yea – we’ve seen you enough”, or “nah – it’s fine – we don’t need more time with you”, or “sorry…. who are you?” (ok that last one is just for dramatic effect!) then I will be worried!
Your kids are wired to have you around, to leech off your attention, to feed off your love and your cuddles! But it’s healthy for them to also respect boundaries, to know that they’re NOT the centre of the universe, and to appreciate that there are times when they’re going to have to open the fridge for themselves!
I believe that God honours HIS order.
And His order is very simple. I don’t know why we’ve got it so muddled!
Family (my husband and kids)
Calling (work / ministry)
Family is FIRST.
It’s always been first.
It’s always GOING to be first.
Because it’s God’s community on earth and a representation of HIM.
You don’t have to make that impossible choice of either having kids or not, You just have to make sure that your priorities are in line with his. And that will translate differently for every mom!
Some of the best mom’s I know are full time in their jobs, They’re committed, they’re fruitful, they’re great moms, and their kids are thriving. I sometimes wonder if they’re thriving because they have a fulfilled mom!
On the other side, I know mom’s who are home, alone, all day, unwilling to ‘do’ anything except parent (even when their kids are at school) and they are bound by guilt that if they do something else, they won’t be there for their kids.
I relate to that.
I really do.
I never arrived home from school to an empty house.
We always had family meals every day (and I maintain this one!)
My mom was always around to be taxi.
And I wanted to be able to do the same.
Even as I write this – I’m looking at the clock aware that I need to go and collect my youngest son from his breakdancing class!
You can do more than one thing.
SO many women are made to do more than one thing.
So I encourage you – if you have a desire to DO, start investing in it.
Take that step.
It doesn’t mean you love your kids less.
It doesn’t mean you have your priorities wrong (although you do have to work to keep it that way)
It doesn’t mean that you’ve failed.
It means that you’re totally normal!
It means that you are welcome in this place!
It means that you have gifts that need to be invested in!
I’m so excited to see you kill it in your new business, and not only start to contribute and provide for your family, but to also empower your kids that they CAN do it!
So grab a corner, make it inspiring, take whatever minutes you can and invest in your ides, research your creativity and get hustling!
You’re gonna love it.
This article originally appeared on Simcha’s blog, June 1, 2020, and reposted with permission.