At times I wrestle with my newly formed identity…MOM. Don’t get me wrong. I cherish my new name. I cherish it when my daughter calls out to me in the middle of the night, or when she bumps her little knee. I cherish it when I hold her tightly and sing to her softly. There is nothing better than being a mom. But…
My husband and I opened a new checking account right after we had my daughter. Since I wasn’t planning on going back to my traditional job of seeing patients in the office for a while, my title options on our application included: 1) unemployed 2) house wife 3) student. I was still working on my Masters of Public Health degree so I gladly latched onto the “student” title. Why did being called a house wife bother me so much? Was my identity really that wrapped up in my degrees and training? Well, I had spent the last 13 years of my life sacrificing everything for them…so, yes.
I didn’t want to give up what I had become as a physician just because I was making the decision to stay home with my daughter for an unforeseeable length of time. I wanted to be a full-time mom for a while. Goodness knows that motherhood has been a degree in and of itself (I still haven’t graduated)! And, while I still love being a full-time mom, I long to use my medical skills and training too. Is it possible to do it all? I’m still not sure:)
I’m finding that many moms struggle with their identity when trying to balance work, career, motherhood, marriage. There isn’t one right answer. I love being with my daughter, and I’ve been blessed with work options that allow me to “stay at home” and work part-time as a writer, public health consultant, and entrepreneur. But, even this set up leaves me feeling guilty and torn on certain days. For some moms, working outside of the house is vital to their sanity or financially necessary. For others, staying home full-time and caring for their kids is most fulfilling. The balance is difficult for all of us…enough self time…enough couple time…enough kid time…enough family time..enough work time.
I’m finding that it all comes down to priorities. Nothing matters more than my love for God, my husband, and my daughter. My career and impact on the lives of others is also incredibly important. I’m still a doctor, a wife, and a woman with dreams of my own. I don’t have to discard that part of myself. I want my daughter to see me doing great things. I want her doing them with me. So, the struggle continues-how to be the best mom possible while trying to save the world at the same time.
I’ve decided that the world can wait a few minutes longer than my two-year old (yes, we are working on patience). She needs me now. That doesn’t mean that I can’t work or send her to a Mom’s Day Out program one or two mornings a week. It just means that I need to filter my priorities, understanding that I have such a short window of time before she is all grown up. I am responsible for helping shape her into a woman who’s going to change the world for good. I don’t want to miss my opportunity or the calling that I have in my own home. When I’m home I want to be fully present with her. When I’m working I want to be fully focused and efficient so that I won’t be distracted when it’s HER time. I need to hang up the phone, turn off the computer, and look her little face in the eyes.
Being a mommy matters. It matters more than most of us realize. Being an amazing mom can help shape our daughters’ character. It can impact generations to come. Being a mom matters as much as any other title. I’m still shying away from the STAY AT HOME MOM title that has made me cringe in the past. I don’t call my husband a GO TO WORK DAD. It’s just a weird title. Instead, I’m renaming my job description DEDICATED MOM and creating my own version of what it means. DEDICATED MOM has a much more inspiring and positive tone! It brings out the best version of me. It’s a role in which I can aspire. I may not have everything figured out yet…but I’m certain that however I choose to divide my time, love, and energy, I’m doing it with her in mind.