WRITTEN BY LILY UGBAJA
Who is a mother? What is her purpose, her higher calling? I thought I had all the answers 3 years ago until suddenly I didn’t.
We were on our way back home from church that sunny Sunday afternoon when my 2 year old threw a major tantrum. It was his first public one, and it was worse than any he’d ever thrown before, he wanted to go with his daddy not me. Period.
In those crazy few minutes of his screaming, kicking, and jumping I felt One. Single. Urge., flop down right there on the street and cry, loudly.
Pregnancy? Crazy twos? Rough day?… Yes, all of those.
But. There was something else too.
20 pairs of eyes saw me, put my mothering skills to the test, and judged me, I failed.
I didn’t have a career, I didn’t have a future I could control, and I still didn’t have the perfect child. What then did I have?
Two years before that day, I had lain in bed hurting from two (thank God) perineal stitches and didn’t even know it. There was so much joyful noise – a bustling house, beautiful little suckling noises and my one endless song.
I already knew before that day came that I wouldn’t be going back to being an “Executive Assistant” for the first few months that followed. But something about that day just made me sure I never wanted to go back forever!
Not with so many beautiful plans to make, so much to teach my adorable new baby boy. I was the best damn Executive Assistant (not that I cared about that, it was just a passing job) and I would be the best damn mother.
And I was. Or was I?
My little boy knew his alphabets, shapes (octagons, polygons, parallelograms…) and colors before he was 15 months old. At 18 months, he was saying The Lord’s Prayer and reading 15 page storybooks page to page by heart.
Two years saw him reading 3 letter words, counting to 100, the Edukitty App was no match for him.
The floor he sat on, the things he touched, his carefully chosen toys (namely books, puzzles and more books) were wiped clean with antiseptic several times a day.
He ate sugarfree homemade biscuits while the other kids carried their enamel eating factory manufactured sugary biscuits. He sat quietly with a book while the other kids ran around crazily in church.
I was super mom and the other moms wanted to know how I did it! At least that’s what they told me.
But 3 years ago, I was not that woman.
I wasn’t the woman who was going to toddle around a little child past his first year (that’s why we have daycare right?). Yet there I was, 23, pregnant again and nursing a 2 year old.
I had given up my huge ambitions, pulled out of both the workforce and school (on a fully funded scholarship!). And turned my ambition onto my child.
I had become the woman whose self-worth rested on whether her 2 year old threw a tantrum in public or not. It makes me sick to even remember those days. Motherhood was killing me and something had to give.
It’s funny how easily I gravitated to that extreme, how strong and effective a belief can be.
I believed something; good motherhood was the highest calling of any woman who became a mother. I even wrote a rather long quote for it
“A mother’s greatest gift to society is not her research that causes a major medical breakthrough, or her involvement in technological advancement or…it is children that have learnt to give to society rather than take, to love rather than hate, to cause joy rather than sorrow, to do little and hidden good. To say ‘thank you’ rather than ‘it’s not enough’, ‘I’m sorry’ rather than it’s not my fault’… that is the future of society, little do-gooders are the greatest gift of all.”
I still believe in that high calling but it’s not in the misguided “I’ve got to be there all the time” kind of way I once thought.
Today I’m yet another woman. My love for my kids powers my ambition. I want a lifestyle for myself and them and I’m getting it on my terms. I’m that woman who is building blogging empires for herself so she can stay home with her kids and still live her ambitions.
My blog FindingBalance.Mom encapsulates everything I’ve ever cared about and I couldn’t be prouder.
I get to make an impact, to teach other moms the shortcuts I use to blog smarter and make money from the first month. We are moms, we don’t have all the time in the world, we need to learn to maximize the time we have and I feel so privileged to be the one showing others how to do this.
This is the new me.
I’m working with a laptop on the table and they are playing under it.
I’m thinking of new ideas while wrestling them on the bed.
I’m snuggled up with them thinking how blessed I am and all the wonderful things I’ll do for them. Motherhood merges beautifully with ambition.
I teach them that mommy works and sometimes they have to play on their own.
My 3 year old still loves to read but now he can choose to play instead. He plays on my table with his 1 year old sister and teaches her how to count… everyone is happy,
They are unconsciously learning to never back down.
Above all, I’m leaving a legacy for my daughter. Motherhood or ambition? It doesn’t have to be a choice. Motherhood can power ambition if that’s what you desire.
Have you seen a free range mother hen before? The way fights for the choicest food, nobody eats unless her babies do. She wasn’t always that way. Motherhood made her strong, resilient, a go getter. A hen will fight a hawk for her kids. I’m fighting sleep for mine.
It’s chaos, it’s glorious, and it’s all made possible again because of belief. I believed in something again.
I believed in ambition as the greatest form of mothercare and it silenced my undue mom guilt.
Lily is a blog coach who helps moms find shortcuts to creating a thriving passive income blog so they can have the life they truly deserve. She is the creator of the free blogging toolkit super packed with everything a new blogger needs to start making money quickly. Her work can be found over at findingbalance.mom.