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As if it weren’t enough to see all the perfectly together looking moms on Facebook and Instagram, there is now the pressure of not being “just” a mom, but also having a side gig.

But I want to tell you, stay at home mamas: you don’t need a side hustle.

In trying to recall those early years of motherhood, it’s all a blur. I now understand why my mom couldn’t remember what she’d done when we would ask her for parenting advice. It seems to go by so slowly and so quickly simultaneously. The days indeed are long and the years are truly short.

As a new mom, I struggled to figure things out. There were so many options and opinions on EVERY SINGLE THING. It was overwhelming, and being a new mom was overwhelming enough on its own.

I moved forward making decisions as best I could. I made mistakes and tried different things as I struggled to figure out what was best for my baby and for me. More sleep, please.

My kids have grown a lot since then. They are six and almost nine. I look back on that time and wonder how I managed life. And now, I look at how the landscape has changed. Side hustle culture is alive and kicking. I’ve noticed it’s often geared toward stay-at-home moms: Join this MLM or start this side business and have it all!

But here’s the truth: you cannot have it all at once.

There is a lot of pressure on women to be great moms and to also feel the need to build something else.

It’s easy to lose yourself in motherhood. Our babies don’t give us feedback. They don’t tell us, “Hey Mom, you did great today.” It’s easy to feel like we are failing in 100 different ways on a daily basis. To be clear, I don’t think there is anything wrong with side hustles; I understand looking for something that will let you use your pre-baby skills and provide positive feedback. We just need to be wise in what we choose to pursue and when.

There are moms who have accomplished building businesses with little kids at home, but looking back, I know there is no way I could have. Every day felt like survival and trying to make anything else happen during that time would have been a disaster. I found the early years of motherhood exhausting. There were challenges at all the various stages. I was absolutely not in a place to take on additional anything. I’m OK with that.

There are the rare few who are called to this and who do it well. But can I just tell you that it doesn’t have to be you?

Regardless of what culture says, our work does not define our worth. Being a mom is enough. You do not have to have a side gig. You can pour your attention and energy into your babies and keeping yourself alive. You aren’t worth more by doing more.

Being a mother is a high calling. You aren’t defined solely by being a mother, but in those early years, it’s OK to focus your time and effort on it.

Your worth isn’t found in what you do. You’re worthy because you were created in the image of God. End of story. Trying to achieve, prove, succeed, or accomplish doesn’t change what you’re worth.

Everyone’s journey into motherhood is different. Listen to where God is calling you. Be prayerful and ask yourself the hard questions. Know that any additional yes you give will mean a no to something else. Set your priorities according to your values.

You can’t have everything at once. We all get the same number of hours per day and we choose how we spend them.

As for me? I’m still a mom first but when my kids both started school full-time last fall, I focused on my writing. My passion is to help moms simplify their homes and lives, but my calling was to wait to start building my own thing. That doesn’t mean yours is the same, but if it is, don’t feel like you have to find a side hustle now.

The best thing you can do is work on being content with where you are and accepting the season you are in. Don’t believe the lie that you have to be or do more than you already are. You’re already enough.

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Julianna Poplin

Julianna is a professional declutterer and writer at The Simplicity Habit. She writes to encourage and inspire women who want to simplify their homes and lives.

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