Do you struggle to find alignment between ambition and motherhood? I know I do.
I’ve always been ambitious.
At school I wanted to do well, admittedly, for most of it, without working too hard. But I joined debate teams and entered eisteddfods – I did activities that got you extra credits and was often part of groups that got to do extra activities, sit math competitions etc.
In life, I’ve always jumped into new things with great energy and passion for whatever it is that I’m doing. Whether I was working at a newsagency at the age of 15, running a dive club at the age of 19, or now, age 32, running my own business, I love to use my skills and would always give my whole self to the project at hand.
I’m also mum to 19 month-old twins and a nine-year-old ball of energy. The last 12 months have been an incredible journey, as have the 8 years before that. I love motherhood. But I do find it hard to balance the mother in me with my ambitious nature.
There are many, many things that motherhood has taught me about myself, and about the world around me. I am sure any mamas reading could say the same.
I also love my children, all three are incredible beings. I am so blessed to know them.
But what I find most challenging about motherhood, is how it impacts my ambition.
I am a busy person. I love to have a lot on my plate. I strive for success. I strive to achieve a great number of things, and to achieve them at a high level.
I love working hard. I love using my brain to solve creative problems. And motherhood is, ugh, gosh, it’s relentless, and monotonous, and very much same-same, from day to day, not to mention incredibly time consuming.
It is so time consuming to be a mother, to be a good mother, to be a present mother. And that time, spent changing nappies and feeding babies and cleaning the kitchen bench, all takes away from the time I have available to me to fulfil my ambition, to succeed in the business world, to serve my clients with the energy and the tenacity that I have always worked with.
It’s hard being an ambitious woman and juggling that with family and with motherhood.
I think motherhood is hard for anyone. But for those of us who want to live a big life of purpose and meaning it adds an extra challenge.
Like many things in life this feels like a silly contradiction because, as I know happens with many women, becoming a mum for the first time was a driving force behind starting my business. I regularly remind myself that while my WHY is bigger than my kids, the how and the when has to work for them as well as me.
Yet sitting on the floor, playing with children for many, many hours at a time, bores me, to be quite honest. Not because I don’t want to be there with them, but I just wish I could also be somewhere else.
I do love being so present in my children’s lives. I love that owning my own business gives me the flexibility to show up in that role as mother in a way that feels good to me. What I find hard is juggling that with my ambition, with the ideas bubbling up in my head, with the things that I want to achieve in the world and in my business, and in the time frames that I want to achieve them.
So, to all the ambitious women out there, I just wanted to say, I know that it’s hard, I know you’re wrestling to find a balance.
I know that it’s a long journey, particularly in those early years, when you’re trying to build a business, but you’re also building a family. Your time is often not yours to control and decide what to do with.
Freedom to work relies on the family sticking to a plan, everyone being healthy, your childcare options being reliable, babies sleeping when they should and a support team to help you.
Ambition and motherhood are a hard combination.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.
That doesn’t mean it’s not a wonderful ride, but it can be really challenging.
If you’re feeling frustrated that you’re not achieving what you want to achieve in your business, or feeling guilty that you’re not spending the time you wish you were spending raising your children, I just want you to know that I get it.
I want to share more about the practical things I do to manage the juggle, but today, just really wanted to let you know that I understand the strength of the pull in two directions.
It can feel frustrating, painful, confusing, I know, because I’m going through it myself. Then to add salt to the wound we often load ourselves up with guilt, for just feeling all those negative feelings.
It’s really tough, but I do honestly believe that it will be worth it in the end.
And as the kids grow, and your business grows, and as you become more in tune with how to make it all works for YOUR family, it will get easier.
In 10 years’ time, when the kids are older, and you’re looking back at this journey, you will be so proud of yourself for all that you have achieved.
So, Ambitious Mama – I see you, I hear you, and I feel your pain and frustration.
But I encourage you to keep going. Be strong. It’s worth it. You got this!
Image by Guillaume de Germain