Embracing the seasons within the life I chose brings freedom and joy.
By Sophia Martinson
Over the past few years, my to-do list has evolved.
Not long ago, it mostly consisted of reading and essay assignments to earn a bachelor’s degree. Then, with my entry into journalism, my list shifted to article deadlines, fact-checking assignments, and line-editing tasks.
After getting married, household tasks were added to the mix, followed by prenatal and pediatrician appointments, alongside the social goals of connecting with new friends and volunteering in a new community.
As this most recent circumstance has taken center stage — especially after I decided to be a full-time homemaker — the portion of my to-do list dedicated to writing and editing has steadily shrunk. While that dimension of my professional life hasn’t disappeared completely, it’s no longer my main focus.
I have never regretted my decision to forego work outside the home. At the same time, my love for writing sometimes leaves me asking myself questions like, “When will I find time to write that article?” or “Am I writing enough for people to notice my work?” or “Will I ever finish that novel I’ve been dreaming of publishing?”
We live in a world of high-speed Internet and fast-paced careers. Without pouring full-time energy and attention into maintaining an impressive résumé, it can be easy to feel behind.
In today’s world, stay-at-home motherhood is not usually the path that steals the spotlight and gets the applause. As a result, even when a mom pursues any level of professional work in addition to her work at home, there remains pressure to be just as “successful” or “productive” as someone with a full-time career.
These two desires — to prioritize my family life and to help people through my professional skills — sometimes clash inside of me. When that happens, I go back to one of the best pieces of professional mom advice I’ve ever received: Life goes in seasons.
Coming from a fellow mom and a successful author, the insight stuck with me. Her point was a simple one: I chose this life as a full-time mom and part-time writer, and I have every right to own it. The structure of my professional work is uniquely tailored to my life and priorities, and it will progress at its own pace.
In one week, month, or year of my life, I might find more pockets of time and mental space to write a lot. In another period, that time and attention might be dedicated mostly to other tasks, from feeding a baby or potty training to hosting a dinner party or getting sleep. I love both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. To dwell on what I’m “missing out on” would be to miss the beauty of my season of life right now. Each phase is different, and each phase has its own challenges and joys.
Writing will always be a part of my life, and I’ll always have professional goals and dreams. But because of the life I have chosen, my pursuit of those goals and dreams will take different forms at different points in time — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m not “falling behind” in my career path because I’m not racing anyone. With the help of those around me, I will continue to grow professionally and personally throughout my life, step by step, at the pace that works best for me and my family.
Fellow moms, don’t let the world tell you that dedicating time to your family is hindering your potential or forgetting your professional dreams. Whatever your passion is — maybe it’s photography, teaching, software development, or art — it need not compete with your love for taking care of home and family.
Your current season of life might not involve full-time focus on that professional pursuit, but it need not be forgotten. Jot ideas in a Google doc or journal when you have a spare moment. Spend an hour after bedtime to brainstorm. Ask a family member or friend to play with the kids on a Saturday morning while you put in some work.
And even if those ideas are too much right now, don’t despair. Another season will offer more time for more to-do tasks — but in the meantime, your time is not wasted. Odds are you chose full-time motherhood for a reason, and that in itself is a noble profession, worthy and often in need of full-time attention.
Whatever shape your work is taking right now — well-done, mama, and keep it up!Sophia Martinson is a wife and mom with a passion for reading, writing, and home arts. She is a freelance culture writer for various publications, and her blog, Homemaker Hopeful, explores the skills of taking care of home and family.