When people asked what I wanted for my future, being a mom never really entered my mind.
I didn’t dream about being a mother. I certainly wanted to have kids and I hoped I’d have several of them, but it wasn’t ever my “dream” when people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. My dreams have always been reserved for my career.
This is pretty statistical of me with the current generational trends. According to the Barna Group, two-thirds of Gen Zers want to finish their education (66%), start a career (66%) and become financially independent (65%) by age 30. Only one in five wants to get married by then (20%).
“Achievement is big for Gen Z,” Says Barna, “both to their sense of self and for their ultimate goals, particularly their education, career and achieving financial independence.” That’s me y’all. Always has been. I wanted a family, but I wanted to be a working mom like my mom was. I loved that my mother was valedictorian of her New York College, and used to work in publishing at a big city house like Simon and Schuster. My dad always insisted on my getting an education, and told me regularly that businesses, Universities, and churches needed women working in them. I didn’t want to just be a mom and so I climbed the ladder with two babies on my hip and pregnant.
I had just finished my residency week for my doctoral program when I got pregnant. I wanted a PhD and instead I was having a baby. We didn’t plan it, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it, but I was excited to be a mom, and committed that being a mom wouldn’t prevent me from having a career. I vowed that being a mother would make me a better human being, and honestly it has.
Nothing changes your character like motherhood. Nothing forces you to recognize your selfishness like being served last at every single meal. CLICK TO TWEETNothing challenges your patience, breaks your confidence, or bolsters your empathy like raising children. I have a PhD, and have written 6 books, and I am telling you MOTHERHOOD IS MY BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT. I didn’t know I would feel that way until it swallowed me whole.
NO ONE is ever just a mom. You can’t just be a pillar in someone’s life. You can’t just be the arms that make scary things feel less scary. You can’t just be everyone’s home base. Moms are memory makers and promise keepers. So much of what we call life was held together by their hands and I am so embarrassed that before I had kids I worried that being just a mom wouldn’t be enough…it’s been everything.
So what does a working mom need from her husband? I need him to hold me accountable. I need him to remind me to do less. I need him to smack his hands when the American Dream tries to sell me more money for more hours. I need him to look at me every day and remind me that what we are doing in here is more important than anything we do out there. I need him to call me on my crap, to keep me grounded.
I want him to tell me not to answer that email and to turn my phone on silent. I need him to cheer me on in unselfishness. I need popcorn and movie nights and camping trips in the backyard. I need him to support my personal dreams while reminding me that they have to sit in the backseat. We have one shot to raise kids that will carry our torch long after we’re gone and we can’t screw this up.
It’s easy to chase after success when the whole world cheers you on. I want to live a life that’s okay in the bleachers. I want people to have no idea when they see me out with my family that I have a career. I want to look so fulfilled in that moment that they assume this is all I do. I want motherhood to look professional on me. I want them to think I’m just a mom.
Because a mom is never just anything.