Childhood Perceptions of Motherhood

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Perceptions of Motherhood | Central Mass MomWhat if motherhood doesn’t look like what you thought it should?

We all grew up in a specific family structure. I believe we unconsciously, or consciously, carry over those beliefs from childhood about what motherhood should look and feel like. These beliefs can be wonderful and lead to your fulfilling role as a mom. Or they can cause some bumps while navigating this uncharted territory. I want to preface this by saying however you fulfill your role as a mom, I am rooting for you! Whether you are working 40+ hours a week, staying home with your kiddos, working from home, or anything in between, if it makes you happy and works for your family, keep up the amazing work. I am writing this for those of us who are conflicted with what we grew up thinking motherhood was and what our hearts feel now.

We learn about motherhood through our moms.

You probably believe it is possible to be a mom and have a career if you saw your mom do both. On the other hand, you probably believe it is possible to live a fulfilling life while being a SAHM if that is what your mom chose to do. Whether you followed in your mom’s footsteps or chose a different path, your happiness and fulfillment matter. I can only speak from my experience and the pull at my heart to question this internal struggle I face.

My mom stayed home with me until I went to full-day kindergarten. I remember this time as fun and full of activities. When my brother then sister came along, my mom returned to staying at home. I admire her for staying home to have quality time with us and always pictured myself doing the same. When my husband and I were dating we talked about the future and how much I wanted to stay home with our kids. He is my biggest supporter and always wants me to be happy. That is how this internal conversation started, asking myself if I was the happiest I could be staying home.

Beliefs from childhood are difficult to change.

The conflict I face now is the long-withheld belief that equates a “good mom” with staying home. Thankfully, I have met many different moms in the past two years that have shown me what a “good mom” truly is. One friend runs a successful MLM business from home. Another mom splits her days between the time at the office and home. Several friends use childcare as they pursue their careers and another friend fulfilled her dream of becoming a SAHM. The point is this is your life and your choice to make. I wrestled with this belief that I HAD to stay home to be a “good mom”. I forgot to ask myself if this was truly making me feel fulfilled.

You are a good mom.

Almost 6 months pregnant now, I am not looking to return to work in the near future. However, this shift in mindset feels very freeing. I know that whether I return to teaching, start a new path, or continue to stay home, I will do it knowing it is what works best for me and my family. My hope is for you to find internal peace with your decision as well.

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Brittany Lanphear
Brittany and her husband, Harry, met during their freshman year of college in Worcester and fell in love with Central Massachusetts. A lot of things changed quickly once they graduated from college. They were married in 2017, had their first child in 2018, recently bought their first house, and baby #2 is on the way. Having grown up in Connecticut and Maine the couple wanted to create a home in New England not far from their families. Brittany spent three years after college in her lifelong passion, teaching. She was a third-grade teacher and now implements her teacher mindset while staying home with her son. Brittany loves meeting moms in the area, taking her son on adventures outside, and exploring local parks and libraries. She believes resources for new moms are a must and she is excited to be a contributing writer for Central Mass Mom.

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