Before my daughter was born, I imagined how my life might look. I pictured us laying together in the grass, cloud watching. I imagined myself reading her a book each night before bed. The images didn’t all look picture perfect–I imagined the chaos of unpredictable blowouts. I pictured her screaming as I walked the aisles at Target, red in the face. I imagined my life revolving around her chaos. I became a mom the minute I found out I was pregnant, but I wouldn’t know how to blend the hopes I had for myself with the hopes I had for my daughter until she arrived.
Being a mom seemed daunting prior to giving birth and getting anything else done seemed even more daunting. I had enough trouble keeping our house in order and eating like an adult prior to having a child, I wasn’t sure how I would cook something more substantial than grilled cheese each night for dinner and get things done around the house while keeping a tiny person alive.
Most of my adult life was spent trying different careers to find my path. I thought I would exit my twenties gracefully having finally found my calling, then I got pregnant. Two weeks after the surprise pregnancy, I was accepted in to a graduate program. I knew I wanted to be a mother and I knew I wanted to have a career I was proud of but I didn’t know how I would fit the two together.
I turned 30 this August with a healthy, happy two-year-old spitfire, a graduate degree, and a job. People often look at me worried, asking how I’m doing. I tell them the truth; I needed my daughter to succeed at my career and I needed my career to be a good mom. I was pregnant for my first semester of grad school, working my butt off to make sure I got everything done before the baby was born. Once I was back in school following my semester off, I had to learn time management skills real quick. I couldn’t stay up all night writing papers like I had in college. I did homework during naps and learned how to study by reading aloud to my daughter in expressive voices. I was lucky to have the support of my husband and family to pull the extra weight when I wasn’t able to.
That is my story, what is yours? We all mama hustle in different ways, whether you’re balancing your career with motherhood or all that it takes to be a stay-at-home mom. We hustle to get things done and keep our sanity. We figure out how to give our families all they need while giving ourselves all we need too. Some of us are hustling to get those sweet moments of quiet in the mornings before everyone wakes up, or the silence at night when you can sit and read. Some of us are hustling to provide for our family while giving them the attention they want and need.
We don’t know what we will have to give to motherhood. We can make plans and set hopes but we don’t know what kind of mothers we will be until the baby arrives. We won’t know if we will feel okay going back to work or if we will be called to stay home. We won’t know what it will feel like if that is not a choice. We won’t know what we need to do to care for ourselves when the baby becomes the priority.