I’m going to be a little vulnerable here for a second. I’ve read the books, heard the stories, watched the movies about the mom who loses herself after becoming a mom. Even still, I think it happened to me without really realizing it. Part of it was survival mode, like maybe I did know it was happening, but was so in the middle of it that I couldn’t stop to think about it or else I might go flying out over my skis, so to speak.

Since Jack turned one though, and we’ve been able to start weaning and I’ve been able to get a little bit more space back (and, frankly, a bit more of my body back), I’ve noticed that I’m finding myself again. In a way it’s the old me and in another way, it’s an entirely new me, too.

I know I’ll never be exactly the same person and, truthfully, I don’t want to go back. I love my baby, I love this role. It is my greatest privilege and highest honor.

But in the process of taking care of and nurturing and being there for a baby, I don’t think I did a good job taking care of me. I have honed in on some things that fill my cup: working out, needlepointing, reading, spending quality time with friends (which, for an extreme introvert, was a surprise). There was a critical piece missing to that puzzle that I’m just now trying to get back to: my work.

I have gone through ebbs and flows since becoming pregnant and then having a baby where I’ve wanted so many different things all at once. To scale back work, to stop work completely, to start a new company, to get another job. To be “one and done” and to have enough kids to need to upgrade to a sprinter van.

After an encounter with extreme burnout in my mid-twenties, I have done a fairly good job about separating myself from my work. I no longer hold my self-worth to my productivity and, most importantly, success. In fact, I’ve redefined success for myself altogether.

The part I think I’ve overlooked, especially after entering the new stage of motherhood, though is that I enjoy my work. Of course, it’s a job and like every job there are elements I don’t love, but overall? It fills my cup, too. It’s less about being productive, making money, and being seen as “successful.” And more about the fact that I just LOVE what I do. I love being creative. I love pushing myself to learn new skills. I love (LOVE) helping small businesses with marketing. I love writing and sharing my story.

Maybe none of this has anything to do with becoming a mom– maybe it’s just because I’ve had the same “job” for over a decade and nine of those years being full-time. But after spending a few days away in Maine from my routine and being surrounded by hardworking, creative, smart, and talented women, I was reminded just how much I enjoy what I do. I also realized ways I might want to do more. Maybe now; definitely in the future.

I’m still conflicted with how to find time to “do it all.” On one hand, I’m creatively so fulfilled right now and bouncing with energy to do everything and on the other hand, I know I need to be selective with my time because I’m in a season of life with a baby who needs a lot of me (and whom I want to give a lot of myself to).

I have zero answers or solutions, but just knowing this about myself right now will be helpful. (I hope?) Going to Maine with ChappyWrap for a couple of days made me confront some of my grief over feeling divided in my life and it also shed light on the joy of my new life. (I keep having to remind myself that I can feel both– and everything in between– at the same time.)

I started crying on the flight home a little bit. I missed my baby and longed to hold him and I missed having time to fully dedicate to my work.

Anyway, that’s where I am today. A little conflicted, very happy, maybe a tiny bit guilty for wanting both and everything, a bit confused about how to move forward, but also a lot more confident in myself.

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I am so grateful you penned these words. They touch a nerve on how I’ve been feeling, too. It’s been helpful for me to look at the time I have in weeks instead of days, and to give myself grace. You’re a wonderful role model and I’m so happy you share yourself with that world!


I’m about to become a mom and it’s been so helpful to follow along your journey through motherhood with honesty like this. It’s refreshing seeing someone share they may not have all the answers yet, but that awareness of where you’re at and your needs set you on the right path. Thank you!


I always enjoyed following you pre baby (for both of us), and I definitely identify even more with you now. It’s so hard to balance all the things as a mom. I want to give so much to my baby, but I also need to work and do other things for myself. It’s hard not to feel selfish at times, but then I remind myself I’m a better mom when I am pursuing my passions too. Thank you for sharing!

Megan Hobbs

Thank you so much for sharing this, Carly. As my husband and I are in the early stages of planning for children, I am overwhelmed with the idea of having to give up my work for a child because I know I will want to give them my everything. Thank you for helping me see that it will be okay – regardless of what I decide later. And ultimately, thank you for being such a great example of how to mother while giving yourself grace. Been a follower since your early days at Georgetown and this journey, by far, has been my favorite one to follow along with. 🖤


Love how you’re always honest and vulnerable! I’m not yet a mom, but it’s a season of life I hope I enter into soon. Your posts give me such valuable insight and perspective!


Hi Carly,

This is such a lovely post. I have continually admired the way that you share your feelings on this subject — balancing life, wanting it all, knowing that everything “yes” is also a “no” to something else. Though I’m not yet a mother, I identify with that intense back-and-forth feeling of wanting to do it all. I want to be a high-powered career person and simultaneously want to be at rest, separate myself from habits of overworking, and so on. Your writing was refreshing — thanks for sharing.


Thanks for sharing this. I feel seen. The transition to motherhood and raising a baby are just so much. In some ways it’s a complete reset. Thanks for your vulnerability. 💗


Thank you for sharing this! I have felt so much of this as I’ve patented my 7 month old. Wanting to give 100% to a job I love but also 100% to my son. I haven’t figured it out and I’m not sure I will, but it’s helpful to hear from mamas that are sitting in the same space.


Thank you so much for sharing this. We have a three month old and I’m struggling to find ways to do things for myself, etc., including even adding posts like this to my formerly travel blog!

I so appreciate you being open about this with all of us! Love your blog! x


Gosh- this really describes how I feel! How much I want to be with my young children but also how much I want to dive deeper in to a career that I have worked so hard for. I’m usually left with a feeling of despair about my inability to give 100% to both. I don’t know how to move forward either but I’m glad I’m not alone.

Lorraine Barnes

This is a refreshing post. As was several of your recent posts. I really enjoy your voice and your pictures. I have been following you for 4-5 years and while you have gone through some adjustments and changes, you manage to stay authentic. You are half my age, but I relate to you a lot. Keep doing what you are doing – can’t wait to see more!