More Than Just a Mom: Finding Your Joy - Small Legacies

More Than Just a Mom: Finding Your Joy

By Kendra Johnson

Being a mom is the hardest job. In my life I have worked a LOT of jobs: Walmart grocery pickup, movie theatre assistant manager, Starbucks barista, teacher, theatre coach, librarian, educational technology specialist...the list is VERY long thanks to Dave Ramsey teaching me Gazelle Intensity. And by far, being mom is the hardest. 

For some women, being a mom is the only thing they have ever wanted out of life. It’s what they know they were born to do. My mom is that way. Any time you ask her, she insists that having children was what God put her on this earth to do. It’s a beautiful thing. 

But, What if I don't LOVE being a Mom? 

Should we feel guilty if our kids aren’t our sole purpose and source of joy in life? Absolutely not. Let’s think about it. If we raise them right, in 10–20 years, they’ll be going off into the world and living their own life. Sure, they’ll still come around for free food and holidays, but eventually, they're going to have their own job, their own home, and maybe their own family."

If our kids are our only passion, where will that leave us when the kids are gone? (I can clearly picture myself binge eating sweets and crying over baby pictures every day.) 

Before you were a mom, you were an individual. Maybe you were a teacher, a businesswoman, a spouse, an artist, a blogger, or a student. When we have a child, we might feel like our life as we know it is over. And while that’s true to some extent, it’s important to remember that you don't have to sacrifice everything you are to motherhood. 

Here's a picture of me enjoying some solo time at one of my favorite places on earth: Disney World.  And yes, I think Disney is more fun without the kids. Sorry, not sorry. :) 

Ideas For Your Next Passion Project

When’s the Last Time You Were Excited About a Passion Project? I’m talking about up-all-night excitement over something you really want. Was it a new job promotion? Did you audition for a part in a community play? Did you start a small business or sell your craft on Etsy? It was exciting and scary, and it was all you could think about. That’s what I strive to find. 

I am definitely the kind of person who switched passion projects frequently. My husband Ben has gotten really good at saying “that sounds great!” and supporting me knowing full well I’ll be on to something new in a few months. And that’s ok! The whole point of these projects is not to become an expert or be the best, just to enjoy it. Below are some examples of things that you might want to try.

  • Write a book. (You should have seen my first foray into writing Young Adult fiction. It was awful. But also very fun to do.) 
  • Redecorate your home. 
  • Scrapbook, or learn calligraphy.
  • Train for a marathon (or if you’re like me, just the 5K).
  • Get a personal trainer or nutritionist.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Learn to knit or crochet. 
  • Learn a new language.
  • Start a community nonprofit.
  • Start a YouTube channel. (That’s my personal choice—check out our family Vlog!)
  • Start or join a book club.
  • Learn photography. 
  • Get involved in community theater. 

If none of these stand out to you, Live Bold and Bloom has some amazing ideas on how to find that passion project.


How to Find Time for You or "Me Time"

Often, the biggest barrier to finding your passion is a lack of time. Here are a few tips for finding and creating the time:

  1. Use your commute. Play motivational audio books in the car. There’s no law that states you must play the Encanto soundtrack for your kid. Take turns. On the way to school, mom chooses what's on the radio; on the way home, the kids choose. 
  2. Capitalize on your lunch hour. How often do you spend your lunch hour scrolling through social media?  Give that time to yourself with intention; fill yourself up with your most recent passion project or hobby. If you are home with the kids, use quiet time to your advantage; stay-at-home mamas deserve a lunch break too!
  3. Use the first and last hour. You may find it refreshing to wake up an hour earlier than the rest of the family to have some “me time,” or, if you’re a night owl, you might indulge in that time right before bed. Whichever it is, take that time! Again, you might face the temptation to social-media scroll or Netflix binge. Reflect on that, and one day at a time, transition into more self-fulfilling activity.
  4. Recruit childcare. Sometimes, to create the time, we need to recruit help. Be intentional about making room in the budget and in the schedule for a babysitter. This may not always be possible, but shoot for once a week—you deserve it! Take a few hours to dedicate to yourself. This is NOT time for grocery shopping or cleaning; it’s time for true, active self care. 

Remember, in all things we do as parents, we’re leaving a legacy for our children. Let them see and learn what it looks like to live with joy and passion. They will, in turn, seek to live a life of joy and adventure. What better legacy could you ask for?

What is your passion project? Share with us in the comments below! 

Kendra Johnson is a certified elementary educator based in rural Wisconsin. As a parent and teacher, Kendra has a passion for teaching through engaging and varied techniques. Her background in theatre, educational technology and curriculum development have fueled her passion for teaching life skills to youth creatively.

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Janelle on

I’ve always been a baker and loved sharing pictures on my social media, but didn’t want to bore people by talking about it too much. But I’m also a writer, so I started a separate account, just to share pictures and stories about my baking! As my daughter gets older, I’m excited to share the hobby with her!

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