Ok so the post-mom part of the title is a bit inaccurate, you never stop being a mom once you become one. I just mean to say post having your kids at home, but for title purposes, that seemed more catchy.
Today, I’d like to talk about why I think it’s so important to be a multitasking mom, and it has to do with the 3 phases of a mom’s life: pre-mom, mom, and post-mom.
Prior to becoming a mom, we all had lives and ambitions and we had a lot more time to ourselves to pursue whatever we wanted. We probably had jobs and families and all, but for the most part our free time was our own. Pre-T (my son), I worked full time, danced for sports teams, taught dance, took dance classes, was studying for actuary exams, and participating in community theater. When offered a new performance opportunity, I jumped at the chance. If a team practiced 3 times a week plus games, who cared. Dancing was how I enjoyed spending my time.
Now that I have T, guess what, I still enjoy dancing. Not only do I enjoy it, but I still pursue it. Just differently.
I still need to work full time to support the family. But my love for dance didn’t stop just because I made a person. The thing about dance is your child rearing years are also your prime dance years. It’s not exactly a field that you just jump back in when your kids are grown. Plus it makes me happy. I don’t want to wait 18 years to make myself happy. So I adapt.
I still dance for companies and teams, but I choose teams that don’t require as many practices. I teach at places that allow me to take my son with me and I specify when I am available to teach. I choose not to teach on weekends so I can have family time and I am available for all those fun weekend events that come up. I also select gigs that only require a few rehearsals, if any.
I make it work because while I love my husband and son and spending time with them, I know I am a better mom when I am feeling fulfilled. I am super lucky to have supportive family and friends as well. My inlaws are always willing to watch T if I have a rehearsal, my husband will bring T to my performances, and the places where I teach allow T to sit in class with me. Without that kind of support, I could never balance it all.
The emotional support is key as well. My husband encourages every endeavor I pursue. He never questions when I say I want to try something. When I decided to try pageants, that meant that our family vacations we’re going to be wherever I was competing. My husband just asked when and where. He never questioned or complained or asked me to stop. We make it work.
This has a lot to do with my husbands pursuits as well. My husband works, but he also pursues acting. He understands the need to fulfill the part of yourself that was there pre-kids, so we work with each other so that both of us can pursue our outside interests.
Now back to the 3 stages. While it’s important to pursue your interests during parenthood because you will be a happier better person, it’s also important for after your kids grow up. If you do nothing for yourself when your kids are growing up, then what do you have when they leave? A lot of time and nothing to do. While it’s perfectly acceptable to start trying new things at that point, it’s nice to have something that you’ve maintained throughout.
You’re the same person at all three stages. Your goals and dreams and inspirations may change, but you should never stop pursuing them. It’s what makes you, you.
Love yourself and make time for yourself. It’s one of the most important tasks in your multitasking life!!
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.