By Joanna Lindenbaum
Watching the documentary “Who Does She Think She Is?” struck a heart-chord with me as I witnessed so many of the women being interviewed in the film finding the tension between her role as mother and her role as artist.
When it comes down to it, many of the mothers that I know experience the pull between their creativity (whether it’s their art, their teaching, their business, their not-for-profit, their cooking; whatever their soul-centered work is) and their family life. This pull - visible or not, conscious or not - can be draining, stifling, shameful, confusing, and frustrating.
Let me explain a little more. What I have found, as I’ve worked with women who have been caught between their passion and their family, is that they are operating under powerful and embedded inner expectations – what I would call “have to”s, “should”s, and “need to”s – around what a “Mother” is supposed to be. These expectations are either spoken or unspoken rules and codes that circulate in society and are adopted as Truth, even if they don’t ring true for a particular woman. Some common expectations include:
-“A good mother SHOULD put her family and children above all else, even herself”
-“A good mother MUST spend most of her time tending to her children”
-“A good mother SHOULD feel totally fulfilled from her family life alone”
-“Creativity and soul-nourishing activities MUST BE separate from and less important than income-generating jobs”
Expectations like these might sound arcane, however they are still powerfully at play in many women’s (and men’s) lives, even if the family is modern, progressive, and feminist.
The result is that you feel guilty when you devote time to your passion; unfulfilled if you devote all your time to your family…and pretty tired either way.
The way to begin to turn around this guilt, misalignment, and frustration is to first get clear on all the ways you are operating under other people’s expectations, whether those other people are your own parents, your friends, your religion, your culture. You’ll be surprised at how many of those expectations you’ve been operating under unconsciously. Next, get clear on what YOUR OWN UNIQUE priorities and expectations are for yourself. Create your own rules and codes of ethics. Identify for yourself and your family your own values and conceptions of what it means to be a good mother.
Once you do that, then you’ll be able to lovingly create your life, including your creative and family life, on your own terms with excitement, energy, and passion.
Joanna Lindenbaum coaches busy women who are looking to nourish their creativity and take their lives to the next level. Using the Woman Wisdom Success Principles, she partners with her clients to create vitality, passion, and fulfillment in their lives. These women are often already working on or are ready to embark on projects that will launch them out into the world to have a voice, create inspiration, and take action. Joanna is the creator of the Woman Wisdom Success Principles System and the 12-week Women’s Intuitive Leadership Program. www.soulfulcoach.com - PH: 917-208-7067