I became pregnant in the last semester of seminary. My husband and I got married six months prior, and I didn’t feel slightly ready to be a mom.
We were both in our early 30s, and we wanted children at some point in our life. We just didn’t expect it to be so soon.
I was not one of those girls who desired to be a mom. I was happy to hold my friends’ baby for 5 minutes but had no idea what to do with her or him after that.
So when I first became a mom, I had many complicated feelings and so much to learn. Do I have what it takes to be a mom? What if I can’t do this job well? Would my children like me? Will I have time for other things in life?
I have a BA in Journalism, an MA in Christian Studies, and a handful of other training certificates. I travelled the world and served in a mission organization for eight years. Then, I held my tiny crying newborn in our bedroom in the middle of the night, wondering if the baby I was carrying was to define all that I am for the rest of my life.
I have to tell you the truth. The idea of motherhood used to be terrifying to me because it meant troublesome, endless work and way too much emotion involved. You probably have guessed right— that’s what was modelled to me in the family I grew up, unfortunately. My mom wasn’t good with children when she was young. She was a talented woman with ambitions and dreams but was held back by her limiting beliefs and culture.
After I became a Christian in my early 20s, God put me in an environment where there were many excellent Christian moms. I watched them closely managing their household and homeschooling their children as I grew in my spiritual formation. They were the godly examples to me— Christian missionary homeschooling moms. I admired them so much that I wanted to be like them.
Fast forward to my first days of motherhood, trying to survive in-between nursing and cooing my baby, I couldn’t settle in peace at the thought of being a full-time mom all my life. Instead, the idea was more like a stab in my gut, cold and life-sucking. But I wasn’t sure if I should say that out loud because it may sound selfish, or even greedy. You have children now, what else do you want? Isn’t what expected of a Christian woman is to be a good wife and mom?
Then, I remembered my mom, discontented in most of her life, regretting not doing things she wanted to do because of me. I don’t want ever to say something like that to my children.
So, I finally dared to ask myself this million-dollar question: “What do you want?“
It took me a few years to feel ok with not wanting the same things like my Christian mom friends, not feeling betraying that I would never be like them after all.
Have you ever asked the question: “Should I pursue my other dreams as a mom?” I have asked it a million times.
However, I have realized the deeper questions I was wrestling with are: Who am I? How to live out my full potential? How to be a good steward of all the gifts God entrusted to me?
Tracing back, God kindly brought healing and restoration to my distorted view about motherhood that I learned as a child through introducing me godly mom friends in my life. As I grew and matured from my healing, I discovered more and profoundly who I was created to be through finding answers to those questions.
Now, I’m pursuing my dreams as a writer and artist while being a mom to my two young children. I share with my husband and children my priorities and structure our schedules accordingly. Life is full, messy and beautiful, and I couldn’t be more content.
As it turned out, dear reader, to be a full-time mom or a mom who pursues her other dreams outside motherhood boils down to this simple thing: Identify your “true self”. To borrow a few lines from one of my favourite books to illustrate what your true self means:
“This is not the ego-self that wants to inflate us (or deflate us, another form of self-distortion), not the intellectual self that wants to hover above the mess of life in clear but ungrounded ideas, not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. It is the self planted in us by the God who made us in God’s own image-the the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be who we were created to be.”
—-Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
I hope my journey of coming to peace and understanding of being a mom who pursues her dreams will help you identify and pursue your dreams, too, whether it looks like homeschooling your children, starting an online business, or getting another degree.
If you need help identifying your “true self” and your unique creative expressions, I have put together a booklet called The Promise of Becoming to help you do just that. You can go here to download it for free.
Until next week! 🙂