my thoughts on work and motherhood

In Family by Madison Mayberry6 Comments


This past weekend I spent time with my dear friend Laura, as well as some online friends turned real-life friends, including the other half of the Risen Motherhood Podcast, Emily. If you’ve read their blogs or listen to the podcast, let me tell you that they are both as wonderful in person as they are online. I’ve been so thankful for their perspectives, encouragement and the tough questions that they ask, challenging me to think about things in a new light. Trust me when I say we all need friends like that in our life.

Motherhood and work is a constant refrain in the conversations that I’ve had, how to find balance in it all and prioritize your family first and foremost. Taking the pulse of your family, understanding how your work impacts your family’s health and what role we as working mothers play in it all.

In today’s culture, it’s very unpopular to say that when you become a mom you have to make sacrifices. Before I had a baby I would have told you that I could have it all, and I darn well intended to keep up a rigorous, ladder-climbing pace of work. If my husband didn’t have to make sacrifices for work then why should I?

When my dad gently suggested that I might need to re-examine my priorities when Ainsley arrived, I brushed him off, irritated that he would even suggest such a thing. When people talked about making sacrifices for the sake of their family’s health, I rolled my eyes in disgust.

But over the last year my perspective has been greatly impacted. When Joe’s work moved us to Iowa, I decided to take the {very scary} leap into full-time freelancing, blogging and contract work. I was terrified about what that would mean for my career ambitions. But I sensed a need in myself to do less, to spend more time with our daughter and to find a work/life rhythm that worked better for our family than my previous 40 hour/week grind.

Soon after, Beautycounter fell into my lap and very unexpectedly became a much bigger time commitment than previously anticipated, freelance work picked up and blogging opportunities came more frequently. This winter, I was working close to 40 hours/week with only 20 hours of childcare. I was stressed, frazzled, and desperately seeking the ever-elusive “balance” we all talk about.

My health took a dive because I wasn’t sleeping enough, my emotional state was less than stellar and I felt the frazzled pace of our family life as I tried to do more than I really had time to do. Something had to change, but I was reluctant to give anything up. How could I say “no” to freelance jobs I had worked so hard to curate? How could I work fewer hours at business endeavors that needed me to keep them going? Why did I have to give things up?

My heart attitude, quite honestly, was stinky. Instead of focusing on our family as a whole, I was looking at the world through my eyes only. My priorities needed a little bit of re-calibration. Really, the question came down to what I valued and where I was spending my time.

Is being a working mom bad? The answer that I’ve personally come to, after prayer and study, is absolutely not! I love the balance that being a working mom creates in our family life. It lights a fire in me and allows me to stretch my creative muscles while providing income for my family. Ainsley learns independence and valuable skills like playing with others when she is at our babysitter’s house. Joe and I have interesting and engaging conversations about work and business and life that are fueled by our careers. Those are all good things.

But as a mom and wife, my family needs to come first.

For me, that meant saying “no” to a few more projects, scaling back on some contract work, waking at a reasonable time and realizing that sometimes all the work won’t get done every day and what doesn’t get done will just have to wait. I’ve said “no” to working at night if I can help it in order to spend more time with Joe after Ainsley goes to bed. It means holding true to “work hours” instead of letting work seep into all the hours of the day.

Ultimately it means trusting God to bless the time that I do spend at work and the opportunities I turn down to prioritize my family. Believing that by making my family the first priority, that God will handle the rest. Easy to say but hard to actually do, right?

Joe and I both love the phrase, “Work will take the amount of time you give it.” We believe that to be true and try to live with that in mind.

It’s been hard for me to say “my family comes first” and really live that out in both word and deed. I’m thankful for a supportive husband who helps make this juggling act possible and is the greatest supporter of my career. I’m blessed to have work that allows me to set my own hours and choose to say “no” from time to time.

The life I’m living? Well, it’s nothing like the life I imagined it would be, but it’s far surpassed even my wildest dreams. Not because it’s shiny, pretty, me-focused or easy, but because it’s worthwhile, challenging, sacrificial and meaningful.


PS: If you’re looking for work that allows for you to provide for your family while also prioritizing your family, I would love to talk with you about Beautycounter. It’s been a huge part of why this shift has been possible for me, and I am always looking for new co-workers. (