Happy Tuesday, Mamas! This week's #MamaNextDoor is my dear friend Maggie Yates. Maggie and I were first introduced through a mutual friend and instantly connected over the joys and challenges of motherhood, and our partners' demanding careers. She's humble, hard-working, thoughtful and kind. Maggie is proof that authenticity and grace can go hand in hand.
After supporting her husband through years of medical training, Maggie recently took a huge leap of faith and opened her own Occupational Therapy practice in Hyde Park, Chicago. I'm so proud of her not only because she's someone close to me heart, but also because her journey demonstrates that motherhood and career don't have to be mutually exclusive. I hope you'll love getting to know Maggie this week!
Tell me a bit about yourself before you became a mother, and how did you change after becoming a mother?
Before kids, I was super girly, a self-proclaimed city-girl and loved nothing more than getting dressed up, dinners out, and anything in downtown Chicago or any other city. Having 2 boys has changed a lot for me, one of which is that I’ve become an outdoorsy girl who can’t get enough time in nature. I still love shoes but lately I get the most excited about cute outdoor gear to adventure in!
What does your absolute dream version of motherhood look like?
We homeschool and dream motherhood for me looks like lots of time reading, exploring the outdoors, crafting and creating alongside my boys. At the same time, I still am passionate about the work I am privileged to do outside the home and so motherhood also indirectly means getting to pour some of what I’ve learned as a mother into helping other parents and children through my work. Balancing those two pulls is often (read: always) in flux but I’m so thankful and pretty astounded I get to do both.
What societal or cultural messages about motherhood frustrate you and how would you like to see them changed?
I think we believe that as parents we have to have it all figured out, be an expert in every area of our children’s lives, and I think that’s not just unreasonable, it’s impossible. To me, the solution is remembering that we’re all learning all the time, that there are plenty of experts in each field of child development out there as supports and resources for us to lean on and learn from. We don’t have to know it all, and we don’t have to make it up as we go either! But we’re all always learning.
What do you do well? What’s really works for you? Do you have a secret? Your mom super power?
I think my natural bent is to be empathetic to others’ emotional responses and that when I lean into that, I can be a safe place for my children to identify and express challenging emotions they are experiencing rather than rushing through or suppressing them. I hope this sets them up well to develop self-awareness throughout their lives.
How do you take care of yourself? How do you deal with mom guilt?
I think remembering that I as the mom am just as in need of being cared for as my children are sometimes strikes me as odd or funny but when I take the time to honor my needs rather than seeing myself as self-sufficient it makes all the difference for me-and the kids sure notice it too!
Self-care for me looks like time in silence after a noisy day, walks in nature, weekly therapy, talking to friends uninterrupted, reading scripture and prayer for refilling my tank.
What’s a topic related to motherhood, or life after becoming a mother, that you wish we talked about more?
Therapy! Mental health care is often stigmatized and until a good friend (who also happens to be a therapist) explained to me that therapy isn’t just for people going through a crisis, I mistakenly thought the same! I’m so thankful she shared that with me however because it gave me the permission to try therapy and I’ve never looked back! If I could recommend one thing to anyone becoming a mom, that would be it.