To me, the line between personal contentment in the present and pursuing personal growth is a fine one.
It took becoming a mother to realise the strength of the tension between these motivations. The “having it all” syndrome, the constant talk about trying to find the illusive balance, and the strong emotions in the debate about returning to work or being a stay-at-home-mum, have been core to this realisation.
I feel I need both motivators and thus have to live in this constant tension.
Because, I see career pursuits, hobbies, personal growth, as being about me; the need for mental stimulation, adult social interaction, self-care. Being a mother is about my personal development too, but it is forever coupled with the responsibility for little lives. By it’s very nature, motherhood/parenthood adds a dimension of needing to regularly prioritise others’ needs first over my own.
I’m not complaining about this responsibility. I relish being a mother. It’s added to my personal growth and still is, in ways my career hasn’t, can’t and won’t. I would not turn back the clock on this stage of my life at all.
But I live in the constant tension of learning to be content with the present, whilst my little ones are very young, yet wanting and waiting for more in the future. The time will come for me to wildly pursue my personal goals. This is just how I’ve come to understand and accept what I feel for now rather than fighting it. I don’t think I’m alone.
As a mother, do you live with this tension? How do you respond to the debates about working mother vs SAHM, finding balance, etc.?
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