Has Mamahood Made You a Dreamer?
By: Danielle Stewart |
Even though having a baby is one of the most rewarding and beautiful things a woman gets to experience, the overwhelming chatter about motherhood is how hard it is.
In fact, the transition into motherhood is often referred to as sacrifice.
You give up your body, your time, and your sleep. You give up last minute weekend getaways, wiggle room in budgets…the list could go on.
Yes, sacrifice, selflessness, humility- they’re all daily lessons that can be so painfully and obviously needed when a little babe depends on you for everything.
It’s a real and harsh lesson sometimes, but while sacrifice is part of this mamahood, it doesn’t have to be the whole.
Being a mama is insane joy. It’s love like you’ve never known. It’s connection, bond, and a oneness that is hard to put into words.
It’s also a catalyst to a new level of strength, determination, and ambition. But for some reason that is NEVER talked about.
What really hurts my heart is that women are told the lie that you also have to give up your dreams to start your family.
Yes, there will be times when you let go of yourself. You’ll give everything your body can physically, mentally, and emotionally give to your kids. You might stop working. You might stop creating.
But it doesn’t mean those things are gone forever.
It means you’re in a new season of life and you have new responsibilities.
It means it’s time to start making bigger decisions for the good of everyone involved (selflessness hitting you hard right here).
It means it’s time to check in with yourself and your priorities for this moment you are in right now.
The power of the priority check
Being able to step back and prioritize is one of those great skills that no one really teaches you how to do. But that ability to recognize you need to do so is a huge accomplishment!
It’s important to continually recheck your priorities to make sure they’re in alignment with the goals and needs of your current situation.
You are a woman full of ambition and dreams, and just because you are also a mom doesn’t mean you are forever at the whim of motherhood. You can make decisions. You have a choice.
The whole first year of my son’s life, I barely opened my journal. Before he came around, the mornings were my time to free write. To process what was going on as I took pen to paper in the quiet with my coffee. It was my time to clear my mind and set intentions for my day.
But I had to check in with that priority pretty quickly once I needed those extra hours of sleep in the morning to make it through the day.
And it’s not that I was totally fine to let that writing ritual slip away. I missed it like crazy. I knew I was losing my creative habit and my ability to check in with myself spiritually and mentally.
But I also knew it was just for a season. I knew I would pick it back up when I felt the freedom to do so.
I also was realistic and knew it might not look exactly the same as it did before.
I probably wouldn’t have the silence of the morning to sit with my coffee, head down in my writing. But here’s what made the difference between feeling like a failure and reconnecting with that part of my pre-mama self:
I knew it was important for me, so I worked to find the space for it.
To this day, I still haven’t sat down in the morning with coffee and journal, but I have gotten back to my writing (obviously since you’re reading this right now).
In fact, the first draft of this article was done on my phone in the car while the little man slept. I often don’t make it home in time from errands to get him in the crib before his nap, and I learned early on to never wake this sleeping baby.
And that’s what it takes.
If you really value something, you’re going to make room for it. You’ll find the 10 minutes to write, the gym with childcare so you can feel in your body, the energy to keep your home tidied, and the babysitters to get out with your girls or cocktail it up with your spouse.
Doing this is not only good for you, it’s good for your kids too. They’ll grow up seeing a woman who sees value in herself. They will model that value.
Setting your intentions
Having a baby makes those things that matter most to you very clear. With so many necessary mom responsibilities that fill your day, you’ve probably noticed that only your highest personal priorities make the cut.
Weekly manicure? Gone. Daily showering? See ya, later. Brushing your teeth? Yeah, sometimes that didn’t happen until later in the afternoon in those early baby days.
But after those really tough long nights and endless feedings, what parts of your routine did you see naturally come back and what did you realize you would need to be intentional about?
It’s those latter activities or habits that will hold a special place in your heart because you’ll work for them. You’ll put in the effort, the time, the money, and the experience to see those pieces of you come back to life.
Honesty, I’ve never felt more motivated to do the things that make my heart feel alive, because now I fight to keep them around. I have to schedule, organize, and sometimes even ask for help to make the good things happen.
It’s with those few priorities that you need to start setting intentions in your daily life because it’s not going to naturally happen like it did in the past. I can’t idly watch the sit back and hope my dreams will come true one day. Now I put in the work to make them happen and actually see results.
It’s a lesson I’m always learning. And it’s choices I make every day.
For me, mamahood has been an awakening of dreams not just for my little one, but also for myself.
Has motherhood had this same effect on you?
Have you felt more ambitious and dreamy? And if not, do you want to get back to that feeling?
Either way, I’d love to walk with you through some of the steps I’ve taken in my short time as a mama as I’ve searched for myself again.
The You Things is a 4-part series on intentionally making space for you, the woman that existed before the mama did to thrive. We’ll take a week to dream big, remember the activities and practices that make us feel alive, and take simple steps to weave them into our beautifully full lives.
Danielle is a full-time writer and editor living in Nashville with her husband, Sean, and her son, Eli. Second to her love of words is her love of hospitality, food, and creating peaceful and inviting spaces. You can catch her on Instagram @danileighstewart learning the daily balances of mamahood, womanhood, creativity, and all the little bits of life in between.