When you have a child your whole world changes. You find yourself replacing Jodi Picoult novels with baby development books. Or trading in your skinny jeans and hairspray for the comfort of leggings and dry shampoo. These are the small sacrifices we make as mothers but what happens when the stakes are higher?
What about when you start considering whether or not you should give up your career, passions and hobbies. As you weigh the pros and cons, you’ll be considering the different impacts these decisions will have on your child. But what about the impact this is going to have on you? On your well being and sense of self. Do you ever think about why it’s important for you to be more than a mom? If not here is why you should start.
Not All Mothers Want to Be Homemakers
When I would tell people I was a stay at home mom I made sure to caveat that I wasn’t your average homemaker. In fact I sucked at it. I loathed doing the dishes (still do) and we were constantly living out of laundry baskets. Needless to say a few months after quitting my job I found myself battling postpartum depression. I realized I needed to be more than a mother, and that was okay.
Don’t get me wrong, some mothers find fulfillment through being a full-time homemaker but it’s not for everyone. In my case I really did enjoy staying home but I wanted more. After trying different work from home jobs, I found my passion in becoming a freelance writer.
This is what worked for me and my family. For you it may be climbing the corporate ladder or running your own business. Whichever it is, you can do it and still be an amazing mother.
Improved Self-Care Translates to Improved Parenting
Becoming a mother is one of the biggest identity changes you can go through. However, before you make the decision to pass on that promotion or quit your career make sure you are reflecting on how this is going to impact you.
When thinking of self-care, let’s go beyond the standard ‘get your nails done’ or ‘take a bubble bath’. Instead, mothers need to start taking care of their self identities. If you stop prioritizing yourself, it’s easy to start feeling isolated, resentful or, like me, fall into depression. And this will negatively impact your child by negatively impacting your parenting.
For example, according to a study by the University of California, maternal depression has long term consequences on a child’s verbal IQ. The study found that depressed mothers were less likely to offer the interactions needed to help promote cognitive development.
This is just one of many studies, showing how your mental well-being has serious consequences on your child’s development.
When it comes down to your child’s success, your happiness is more important than you think. Remember this the next time you feel mom guilt starting to creep in because you chose to be a career woman and a mother.
Find Your Balance
Making your self identity a priority doesn’t mean you should neglect spending quality time with your children. But instead it’s about finding appropriate balance between yours and your child’s needs.
One way to find this balance is to research and implement time management ideas. This may sound like the same old song, but it really does work. For example, a big way to get time back and reduce chaos is to stay organized. Now, I’m not talking about color coding the Legos organized, but I am suggesting that everything has a place. It will make it easier to clean and tidy up quickly so you can spend more time with your family or getting that last minute project done. You can find more time management tips here.
Working and being a mother isn’t always easy. Whether it’s a side gig, part time work, or a full blown 9-5, finding work life balance is tough. However, once you find what works for you and your family, it’s well worth it.
It’s Time to End the Mommy Wars
It’s hard enough to be a mother in this modern world. But it’s even harder when you have to second guess every move you’re making. Especially when the mommy wars have evolved from the standard sahm vs. working mom to breastfed vs. formula fed, or all natural vs. processed. And the many more battles we continue to have.
Instead, mothers need to start supporting each other more. Whether you’re a stay at home mom who has a side hobby crafting or a career mother who’s loving corporate America, we all deserve the option to be more than a mom.
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