“Just” A Mom
Is it possible for a mom to be “just” a mom?
There’s a whole generation who refer to themselves as stay-at-home moms. Moms who made it their full-time job to raise kids and help shape their lives.
But even a stay-at-home mom whose life ambition is to be a great parent needs an outlet for creativity that has nothing to do with her kids.
Otherwise she’ll lose her mind, or worse, herself.
Just look at the character Gwendolyn James in the movie Bad Moms.
As president of the PTA at her children’s school, Gwendolyn called an emergency meeting to address an issue that radically affected the safety of all their children: The Bake Sale. During the 3-hour meeting she assembled a bake sale police force that would monitor the food, destroy any offensive treats, and prosecute the wrongdoers. There was an elaborate powerpoint presentation.
Can you imagine what Gwendolyn James could do with all that creativity if it wasn’t wrapped up in her kids??
It’s like Brene Brown says,
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame.”
When moms don’t use their creativity for their own personal interests they risk turning into Gwendolyn James.
Or they might become lonely. Or depressed. They might get through an entire day and realize the only person they talked to was their infant. It’s an unhealthy place to live.
I didn’t want to live there and was trying to balance parenting my infant with my writing goals. I was stressed out and tired.
My mom smiled, knowingly: “You don’t have to worry about writing right now. This is what you’re supposed to be doing.”
She meant to give me some sense of relief that “this” - parenting George - was all I needed to focus on. But it made me feel worse, like if I wasn’t 100% focused on him then I was a bad mom.
There’s an expectation for moms to focus solely on their child, especially in the first months of the baby’s life. But the best way for me to care for my son is to also care for myself.
At the end of a long, exhausting day I sit on the couch and think, maybe it would be easier to be just a mom.
But I wouldn’t feel nearly as happy if I wasn’t writing. Even when I’m stressed out and don’t feel like I have any good ideas, I still enjoy writing.
Parenting is the most fulfilling role I’ve ever experienced, but it’s not the only thing that fulfills me. It’s okay for moms to be ambitious and hard-working and also be great moms. Of course there’s a balance with it and that’s the hard part. I made a commitment to myself and my readers to remain consistent and publish an essay every Tuesday. Lots of other priorities have fallen to the wayside like reading, learning, cooking, sleep, and working out. But there is no leniency on the weekly deadline.
Polina Marinova Pompliano hasn’t missed a single week of her newsletter, The Profile, since February 2017. She tweeted:
“Consistency is the best way to build trust with your readers/customers/users.”
To which she received the following question: "Do you ever get burned out keeping up with consistency?"
"I don't get burnt out just because this is stuff I would do even if I didn't have The Profile... Reading, writing, and interviewing people gives me life." -Polina Marinova Pompliano
So I’m still stressed out and tired. But I’m not burned out. I’ll keep writing and keep publishing. Because writing gives me life.