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Ambition Is not a dirty word

You don’t have to choose between your ambition and a fulfilling personal life

by Dr. Debra Condren  |  2473 views  |  2 comments  |        Rate this now! 

“I don’t want to be one of those people who get up every day and go to a boring job they hate just to get a paycheck. I think that’s sad. I want to be like you, Mom. You have an interesting life. You work for yourself, you travel, you decide what you want to do and how you want to work.”

Whoa! Shock of shocks! After years of self-recrimination, the woulda', coulda', shoulda's playing in my head:

-"Woulda' - I wish he would not have been a child of divorce.

-He shoulda' been a kid who didn't have to be raised, in the early years of my career, with a struggling-to-pay-the-bills, single mom.

-Maybe he shoulda' and coulda' gone to a private school..." and on and on.

WorkItMoms' Minds Work the Worry

As a working mom, with your own complex, multi-layered story, you know the drill, the worries we play in our minds.

So you can imagine that it was deeply validating to realize that however much I might have messed up as a parent, I’d given my son a powerful role model for prizing ambition and intention, for creating a life based on passion.

Forget giving worry so much air-time. Instead, imagine what an amazing role model you are for your children—today, and in the future, when they are more able to appreciate how lucky they are to have you as their mom and to be inspired by who you are and what you've modeled for them. Believe me—our kids absorb our values, even when we can't see that happening while we're immersed in the day-to-day struggle.

You Deserve a Break Today

You deserve to love your work, to be as ambitious as you wish, to earn your worth, and to find fulfillment. You deserve to love your ambitious goals every bit as much as you love your precious children and loved ones.

Give yourself permission to be true to your ambition, to make the choices you deem appropriate without pause, without second-guessing yourself.

This means you’ll need to check in with yourself daily, tuning in to what you want in your heart of hearts, staying true to your ambition as you define it. When you build your life’s work from that place of sanctuary, you’ll be richly rewarded with lifelong intellectual and creative curiosity, evolving opportunities, and healthier, happier relationships with loved ones. And you will earn your worth.

What we don’t hear from the cultural messages telling us what we ought to value as a woman in this society, is that ambition is a part of living our best and greatest life. There is no societal message ringing with the message that our ambition is a vital, irreplaceable component of our lives. Our pact is to change that.

Start Each Day With Your Cup of Coffee & This Question

About the Author

Debra Condren, Ph.D., interviewed 500 women for her book, amBITCHous, a woman’s guide to redefining ambition as a virtue, not a dirty word, earning h

Read more by Dr. Debra Condren

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    Flag as inappropriate Posted by llzzmm on 4th July 2011

  • This was perfect timing for me. Thanks! I've been going through a "mini guilt trip" over my youngest child: "Did I read to him enough?" "Am I giving him the same amount of attention as the first one?" I am working more hours and engaging in my private practice much more than I was doing 8 years ago when his oldest brother was in kindergarten...but I'm going to make it work:)
    There seems to be a lot of conflict within the working mother/stay at home mother community, and it is almost entirely put upon us by ourselves in our own heads! We need to skip the guilt as you suggest and embrace out ambitions!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Rosanne Rust on 1st November 2007

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