Working mom and daughter on city street

Can I Be a Good Mom AND an Ambitious Woman?

By Kim Strobel

December 13, 2018

Why It’s Important to Put Yourself First Sometimes

We’ve all seen the social media posts from those amazing women who seem to have it all—and do it all well. The woman who manages to create the perfectly-posed holiday pictures with her photogenic family. The one who’s at every one of her kids’ sporting events, cheering them on. The one who just got the high-paying new job or landed the big client or spent the weekend volunteering for a worthy cause.

Hell … there are people out there who think I’M that woman! But I’m here to tell you, that’s far from the truth. Why?

Because it’s an illusion. It’s the magic of social media making things seem more perfect—more doable—than they really are.

I know this because I sometimes have the feeling of “not good enough” when I see those pictures. The same feeling that SO MANY WOMEN are burdened with.

An Endless List of Responsibilities

I have an incredibly wonderful husband. Scott is a loving, caring, supportive man who is always (OK, mostly … wink) there for me and our family. But as with so many marriages, our partnership is sometimes far from equal.

Over the years, we’ve both always held demanding, full-time jobs. But in addition to the work I get compensated to do, there are a whole bunch of other unpaid tasks that I have on my plate.

I’m the one that’s always been responsible for handling the kids’ doctor appointments, haircuts, playdates, school activities. The household finances and bill paying—that’s all me. Grocery shopping, keeping the house in order? Yep, I got those covered, too.

This is a huge weight to carry when you’re also striving to make waves in the professional world. I’ve always been ambitious, and I give every job 200%. But when you have this many responsibilities, you can start to feel like you’re not living up to ANY of them. It’s a sucky feeling … that sometimes turns into the dreaded “I suck” feeling.

Summer Mom Was the Best Mom

There was a time, years ago, when I went to bed every night KNOWING that I had been the best mom.

When I was still a classroom teacher, I used to have summers “off” (my teacher friends know that’s just a dream nowadays!). Gosh, I really miss those days!

My energy was freed from the demands of my job, so I was able to be fully present for my kids. I prepared good meals for them, and we spent tons of time together, playing outside, going to the pool—just BEING TOGETHER.

I felt excited about spending time with and doing things for my kids because I had the energy to do so. And at the end of the day, as I tucked myself into bed, I had one thought that I knew to be true above all else:

Today, I was a really good mom.

I’d always secretly harbored dreams of being a stay-at-home mom, so this was a good feeling—like everything was well within my soul. I even wanted to pat myself on the back!

But sadly, the feeling didn’t last long.

A few weeks before the school year began, I’d go into preparation mode. I found myself buying pounds of ground beef and browning and freezing it for easy weeknight meals. I purged closets and clutter to give us a head start before I went back to the classroom. I studied my calendar to make sure there were no cracks … no places where little tasks might slip through.

I went back to performing the balancing act between working woman and “good mom.” And of course, I lost every time … because that big ol’ block of guilt would settle itself right back on my shoulders.

Don’t Lose Yourself—Or Your Mind

Working moms are asked to make impossible choices all the time. And the result is a generation of women who are exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed.

It’s so, so tempting to put yourself—your wants, your needs, your dreams—on the backburner until after the kids are grown, until there are a few less items on your to-do list. But that’s not fair to you or your family.

When you put your dreams on hold, you lose little bits of yourself. You start to disconnect. You’re unfulfilled, unsatisfied. You’re not living authentically.

And is that really the kind of person you want as a mom for your kids?

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to be PERFECT. You just have to be YOU.

You have to remember that you count as a human being, too. You are more than a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend. Sometimes you get to put yourself first—and it is not selfish to do so!

I know that’s easier said than done. (Believe me … I’ve spent a lot of years learning this myself!) But it can be done, and if you need a little help along the way, then my new RISE UP course is for you. I’m taking women on a journey to the happiest, brightest, badass-est versions of themselves—and I’ve love for you to join us!

REAL TALK: I have soooo much more to say about taking time for yourself and making your happiness a priority—check out my recent Facebook Live video to hear all about it (along with some truly startling statistics!).

  • Great article and life is hard at the moment with both parents working it does put pressure on families and it is very much a balancing act. Communicating with each other and working as a team so you both get value out of your relationship and make sure the kids are okay has to be the way forward. Happiness comes from giving love and kindness and the basic simple free things in life give the biggest returns. I look forward to your next post

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