Why it’s essential to redefine ‘success’ when you are a mum

Redefine success

I don’t know about you, but I was more than shocked at some of the changes that occurred after becoming a mum. As someone who had become used to getting things done with some level of efficiency, having two children within 18 months changed my definition of ‘success’. It was like I had to let go of all the things that I knew about my ability to get stuff done, as well as changing the expectations I had about how my baby should behave.

I was used to having a daily to-do list where I could make reasonable progress on my tasks and projects, getting the enjoyment of crossing things off as I went. I think you know how this goes when you have a small baby: sometimes it takes three hours just to leave the house, and then you get one task done on your errand list and decide that you’ve had enough! When my children were young, I took the easy way out and just labelled my list ‘Today’, which meant that it could last for three weeks or more!

I couldn’t define ‘success’ by having happy, well-fed children at the end of the day, either. Any number of things could upset their happiness from moment-to-moment, and as for the eating habits, I know for sure that I haven’t battled half as much as some others, but there were many times when I wished I could understand what was going on in that little person’s mind.

And so, I realised that I needed to redefine what it meant for me to be ‘successful’ in that season of life. I needed a new set of goals to measure myself against, ones that were flexible enough for me to feel satisfied after a sleepless night, or a day of tears (from either me or the baby).

Here’s a copy of the list I made in that season:

To be successful in this season, I need to be:

  • Waking up in the morning with energy
  • Taking care of my family: cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
  • Managing ‘my areas’ of the budget wisely

It’s not long, but it realistically summarised the things that I was capable of doing, and it meant that I could let go of a lot of other expectations I was holding onto about my expertise and efficiency.

When I paired it together with my values of being present and connecting meaningfully with my children, this became a list that I could accomplish. (Not sure that I ever woke up with energy, but it was good to try!).

Of course, that season of my life is past now, and I have been able to slowly add more things back onto the list – perhaps there have been times when I’ve added too many things too quickly, as well. But it’s good to stop and take a look at what success means for you right now in this season, with the time and energy demands that you face on a day-by-day basis.

I’ve created a mini e-course which helps you go through the steps to redefining your success as a mum: if you’d like to work through that with me, please sign up below!

About The Author


Tanya lives in Canberra with her husband and two sons. She is passionate about helping women to live fulfilled, purposeful lives. She enjoys reading, cooking, craft and creating memorable moments for her family.

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