Today we have guest blogger / mompreneur / writer / health enthusiast, Ashley Gartland, on how she came to find her 'other' calling and how she now coaches other women through this very process as well.
When we become a mom, we spend a lot of time talking with other moms about our birth stories and recovery. About the challenges of breastfeeding and our changing bodies and so many other things related to our postpartum health. But we don’t always talk about the hard things like when we discover that we love being a mom but that we also need to find fulfillment for ourselves beyond motherhood.
We don’t talk about this very real part of motherhood because we think if we admit that we want to be more than a mom, people will judge us. We’re afraid people will think we’re ungrateful. And we worry that sharing this secret would make the hardworking moms who love staying home with their kids feel criticized, which is the last thing we’d want to do.
And yet if you want to find your purpose beyond motherhood, you need to know it does not diminish your worth as a mother. It does not make you a bad mom or a judgmental mom to desire something more for yourself. It makes you a real mom because I can tell you that there are plenty of other women who are searching for ways to be present mothers and find their “other” calling too.
I support many of these women in the work I do as a life coach. My clients adore their kids and they love being moms. But they also believe they were meant for something more. They crave opportunities to be creative and intellectually stimulated. They want to create an even better life for themselves and their families. They’re ready to make a difference in the world. And they want to show their kid(s) what’s possible when they go after their dreams.
Just a few years ago, I was a new mom who was searching for her purpose and ashamed to talk about it. I had just become a mother and was feeling pretty lost professionally. So in a slightly delusion, sleep-deprived move, I decided I wanted to use my maternity leave to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
I’m what you could call an information-hoarder so I gathered books with titles like Finding Your North Star and Mom, Inc. Then whenever I was feeding my daughter or was resting with her on the couch, I dove into those books looking for answers.
But I’d only given myself a month-long maternity leave and it just wasn’t enough time to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So at the end of it, I went back to doing what I’d done before working as a writer and cookbook author. I continued doing that for three more years.
I won’t say I was miserable during that time – I certainly had a lot to be grateful for. But the reality was that life was good, not great. I was still searching for my other calling and I knew I needed to find it to find myself again.
That’s when I found myself back in the same place, sitting on the couch with another baby girl. So again I asked myself, could there be something more for me?
I did consider the idea that maybe motherhood was my calling. The answer was both yes and no. I loved my kids and I loved being their mom. But I also knew I wanted something more for myself – even in the moments when I felt guilty for feeling that way.
I also knew I was done waiting to pursue my “other” calling and I believed my daughters would benefit from watching me go after my dreams. So I started exploring possible callings. I did a lot of reading and research. I talked with people in different career fields. And I hired a coach to give me the outside perspective and support I needed.
It was challenging to put all the pieces of the puzzle together but I did eventually discover what I wanted to do. And perhaps somewhat ironically, my purpose is working as a coach helping moms find fulfillment beyond motherhood. My struggle became my story and my strength.
The path to get here wasn’t easy. But it was so worthwhile because I can now confidently say I’ve created a life that allows me to fulfill my calling as a mom and step into my calling outside of motherhood too.
If you too are searching for your other purpose, I want you to know that it is possible to find it for yourself. Yes, you will have to put in hard work. Yes, you’ll need to learn how to prioritize yourself and get better at asking for help. And yes, you will have to set aside the time to make your dreams happen for yourself.
But if you feel called to do something more, however crazy that seems, I hope you will. Because the hard work and effort you put in will be so, so worth it. I can promise you that.
Ashley Gartland is a life coach for moms who want to find their purpose beyond motherhood. Through her intimate group coaching program, Bold Mom, Balanced Life, and one-on-one work with clients, Ashley helps moms prioritize themselves, pursue their dreams and create balanced lives so they can be great moms and women making their impact in the world too. You can connect with her at www.ashleymgartland.com, follow her on Instagram or join Your Bold, Balanced Life, her Facebook community for moms who are finding and pursuing their other calling in life.
Want more of Ashley? Join her upcoming It Starts with Self Care Challenge beginning this Sunday, July 17th! She will be guiding you through this FREE challenge in taking time out for yourself to allow your peace and positive energy to pour over into every aspect of your life.
Learn more and register here: www.bitly.com/itstartswithselfcare