Motherhood & Ambition: A Battle of Wills

Confession #4251: For a stay at home mom, I check the local job boards way too much.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored to be able to stay home during the little years (thousands can’t and would kill to do so, I know, I know). Something just itches in me though, and it’s occupied my mind on and off throughout all these long and sometimes (ahem) lovely preschooler days, challenging me constantly to stay present in the moment with my kids. These kids that grow up way too fast.

The source of this internal niggle isn’t hard to identify. It’s ambition, career-related specifically, and some days it drives me nuts.


Unfortunately, on the worst days it honestly steals my joy. These are generally the days when I give into the nagging voice of professional self-improvement, attempting to do way too much, with way too few free hands, all in the non-existent quiet time that comes with mini-mes exploring ornery attitudes for the first time.

Yeah, there isn’t a way I can concentrate and enjoy my thought processes through that particular brand of chaos.

These days usually consist though, of watching/bouncing/nursing/soothing a baby, chasing/playing with/disciplining/saving the life of a toddler, and attempting to soak in an online class, develop a website or a resume, or practice said professional skills all at the same time without losing my mind.

And it’s pretty much impossible. At least for me it is.

The saddest part I think though, is that rather than embrace the sheer, love-fueled mayhem of these tiny folks that run me in circles, fill my days with stress and joy (too often in equal parts), and holler mom in any and every direction 65,000 times a day, well I just get… frustrated.

Like really, really frustrated.

And I worry…

I worry that I’ll never achieve the professional goals that I’ve set for myself.

I fear my husband and kids will think less of me for ‘only’ contributing to our household through the day-to-day drudge of keeping us all alive, and somewhat well fed and clean.

I dread that I’ll lose the skills I’ve already worked hard to accumulate, particularly when I go for periods of more than a few weeks without properly exercising those skills.

Sigh. As if there’s not already enough worry in parenthood to go around.

Hearing like-minded women refer to their pre-kids professional achievements as their ‘past-lives’ makes me swallow a little hard and my brow start to sweat just a teeny tiny bit. I may be misguided, but it’s just the reaction I seem to have. I’m one of them, you see – I’ve employed that exact verbiage myself, and go on to think long and hard about it for hours afterwards.

I adore my children and the role of being their mom (yawn, clichéd I know but hey it’s the doggone truth, ya hear!?), but I can’t shake the feeling that there just has to be more.

Honestly, I need there to be more.

I know the time will come when they’re in school and I’ll have the time and the quiet to really reach for those achievements that seem so close to being unattainable with tiny, needy people running between my legs every thirty seconds, and I know I’ll probably miss the crazy once it’s gone.

But the idea of being all that I can be, inside of motherhood and out of it? Well, doesn’t it all go to the same place anyway? Into the fulfillment of who I am and therefore serving as a fuel for my family. Fuel to learn alongside me, from me, and to grow with me.

Doesn’t it teach my kids that there is, after all, always more.

My undying respect goes out to the mothers who make it all work. Who survive on moments of sleep in order to complete schooling, work, and the raising of children simultaneously – y’all have my heart, I’m dead serious.

I’m blessed I know, that I don’t have a specific financial pressure on me to succeed, and I wouldn’t dare overlook that. I do however have a drive inside that just won’t let me be. An itch I just can’t seem to scratch during these hectic, survival driven little years.

So for now I suppose, it’s about balance – about pursuing and nourishing passions (mine and those belonging to the other members of my family, of course) and looking to the future, while remaining wholeheartedly and firm-footedly here, in the presence of little ones and so much love.

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One Response to Motherhood & Ambition: A Battle of Wills

  1. Jaclyn Levy February 6, 2016 at 6:11 am #

    Thanks for being so open and real. I have similar thoughts from time to time. 🙂

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