I came across an Instagram post from Serena Williams last week and it felt as if she had been spying on my life. She wrote about how she sometimes feels inadequate as a mom. She acknowledged that since having her daughter, she has struggled with self-doubt. She questions whether or not she is giving her daughter the time she deserves. As I read all 183 words, it brought some emotions I’d been trying to keep buried right up to the surface.
It made me think about a question I was asked a few weeks ago … ”when do you find time to be a mom?” My immediate response in my head was “What? I’m ALWAYS a mom!” I walked away in defiance of the notion that I needed to find time to be a mom. I said to myself … ”I’m a good mom.” But there was a little voice inside that whispered “I think.”
Things are definitely much different now compared to how they were when I was growing up. I grew up in a two parent household and both of my parents were educators. My mom was a school teacher and her work hours mirrored my school day, which meant that we were home at 3pm and had summers off. I can’t remember a time in my youth when my mom wasn’t available to my brother and me. She was my example of what a “good mom” was supposed to be.
Unlike my mom, my career does not allow for much flexibility. I am a pharmacist and my schedule varies. I work evenings, weekends and some holidays. I am also building a brand, which requires that I attend various events and meetings. In this age of social media, engagement is crucial to my business. So even when I am home, a lot of my time is spent with my phone in my hand, trying to cultivate relationships and build connections with my target audience.
I also like to travel. I love a good girls trip and we take family vacations, but I often travel with just my husband. Is that a bad thing? I feel like I’m doing my best as a mom, but am I really? I’m a good mom … I think.
For mothers, practicing self-care and pursuing our individual goals oftentimes comes with guilt. On one hand, we are told that we can’t be a good mom if we aren’t first good to ourselves. On the other hand, we are told that putting ourselves first is neglecting our children. You may say that pursuing my goals is setting a good example for my son. While another person might say that my young son needs my focused attention and nothing else should come before it. We know that when we become mothers we have to make some sacrifices, but how much is enough? Is it unnatural or wrong to even ask such a question?
We must ask ourselves these difficult questions. We must be courageous enough to walk in our truth, like Serena did. I have come to the conclusion that the greatest barrier to finding balance in our lives is our fear of judgement and comparison. We hold so much inside that we choke on our insecurities.
Our busy schedules can be adjusted. Our priorities can be shifted. It is ok to admit that we are not Superwoman. My advice for moms is to talk to each other; I know I do. Be there for each other. Let your fears, insecurities and doubts be heard. Empower one another to be authentic about the journey through motherhood.
When I say “I’m a good mom … I think,” the most important part of that statement is the fact that I am indeed THINKING about what it means to be a good mom to my son. I’m a good mom BECAUSE I think about what that means for me and my family. Hold your heads high mamas. Being a mom should never include self-doubt – but it is something that requires lots of self-reflection, self-correction, and self-awareness, and that’s ok.