How to Create Your Own Lane in Motherhood

There’s no one size fits all.

By Brandy Joy Smith
Woman on a laptop in her hom office

The beginning of fall always feels a bit like a new journey, but that’s especially true this year. When it comes to school, work, and childcare, families has been faced with some really tough decisions. Some of them may be leaving you feeling unsure and insecure as you see others making choices similar or very different from your own. As humans, we are conditioned to compare ourselves to others, and that can often feel amplified by social media.

Well mamas, I’m here to tell you that there is no one size fits all! I’ve found that most women thrive in motherhood when they feel empowered by the choices they make.

I’ve put together my 5 best practices for navigating uncertain times and creating your own lane for yourself and your family. Take what resonates, and leave what doesn’t.

Woman of color holding her biracial son on their front porch

Check-in with your family’s feelings and emotions

Remember, we’re all different and our responses are largely based on our personalities. Many people thrive working from home, while just as many do not. Some of our children are at ages more critical for social interaction. You may be suffering from underlying health issues and need to take extra precautions. What I want to remind you is that we all need to do what’s best for our lives and families. In doing so, we must also carry compassion and empathy to others when they make different choices for their own families. 

Adapt and get creative

Now that you’ve checked in with your family, it’s time to look at your options. Let’s take for example virtual learning. I know that many mamas are at home trying to navigate virtual school and WFH, as such your school may have lined up a routine for your student. This might be working for you or it might not. If it’s not, I encourage you to reach out to your students’ teacher. Advocate for your child, but remember to always come up with a possible solution or workaround, as many of our teachers are overwhelmed navigating this new space as well.

Maybe your child struggles in science and needs more guidance or your physical support during this subject in order to grasp the lesson. However, you work during this hour. Instead of letting them suffer through virtual learning and become discouraged, you could ask the teacher if you can record their lesson. That way your child could take a break and you would have the ability to work with them after your work hours. Basically, you may have to get creative and come up with some workarounds to get through the bumps and hurdles. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to others! Start a text chain with your fellow parents, see what issues are coming up for them, and if they have found any creative ideas to work through the challenges.

Remember: it takes a village, and we’re all in this together.

Woman writing about her family values

Find confidence in your choices

Here’s where you take a deep breath. Remember the reasons you’ve made these choices for your family and what your overall goals and needs are. Check-in with your family values and vision. Do you know that little voice in your head called your intuition? Make sure you check in with her too! And once you do that let all your worries and comparisons go. No matter what happens from here you know you made your choices with love, compassion, information, and creative thinking and strategy. 

Don’t be afraid to change your mind

Here’s the thing about making tough choices: sometimes we have to take a little leap. And even when we have done our due diligence sometimes the path chosen just doesn’t work out for a multitude of reasons. Instead of doubling down on something that isn’t working because of your pride, ego, or fear of change, I encourage you to be empowered in changing your mind. The most successful people in the world are people who know how to pivot, change course, and rebound. Give something a try, and if it doesn’t serve you, say goodbye and hello to option #2. 

image via amber fillerup

Find the silver lining

Through this season of transition, I hope you remember to find the silver lining. I’m often reminded of something my late mother said to me time and time again. “We can not always control what happens to us, but we can control how we view it and how we respond to it.” It is possible to extract the good out of something we may perceive as bad or uncomfortable. You may become a better decision-maker. Your family may become better communicators by being forced to spend so much time together. Maybe you finally finish a project that you’ve put off, or you become comfortable making hard choices and stop comparing yourself to others. Either way, I hope you find growth, love, and light through your transition.