Expectations Of the “Default Parent” And The Unrealistic Pressure On Moms Of Kids And Teens

“I cannot catch a break!” I said defeatedly to mom friends last week as we walked from our parked cars and houses to the school. “I hear you.” was the reply from all of them.

This is almost a daily conversation… another one of our kids was sick or it’s the appointments, kids needing to be picked up from school, a car needs to be fixed, and more and more and more.

All while juggling our careers and yet somehow trying to figure out how to have dinner on the table, exercise, eat healthy and keep our houses clean and more and more and more.

Moms… we are the default parent. And being a solo parent myself, I feel that even more. Sunday to Friday, when my kids live at my house, I am the mom and the dad. My partner Ben and I live in separate houses during the week to each parent our kids separately.

My mom friends and I are all in our mid thirties to forties and have school aged kids and teens. I think the difference now is that when my kids were really little and in diapers, less was expected of us in a way. My focus was to raise my babies and anything else was gravy.

Now don’t get me wrong, being a mom to a baby or toddler has its own exhausting and relentless hamster wheel, but somehow we weren’t expected to do and accomplish so much then.

Now that my four kids are in school and are getting older the expectations are greater, but the schedule and unpredictability of life keeps expanding. Throw in a lower capacity courtesy of the pandemic and the result is we are spread too thin.

How did we get here? I think a lot has to do with societal expectations and if you think about our generation, we had our babies at a time when the mom as the default parent wasn’t challenged like it is now, so we are kind of fighting against history.

I also think we put a lot of the expectations on ourselves. Here we are out of the baby and toddler fog and trenches… this is our time to rise, rediscover who we are, reconnect with the forgotten friendships and advance in our career.

So when we are still so held back and being pulled in so many directions it can feel frustrating.

This reality really sunk in for me over the last couple weeks and I had a lot of mixed emotions about it. Although frustrating, in the end I always try to focus on what is in my control.

What is in my control is saying NO more. No to social commitments, no to my kids (including picking them up from school when it’s not necessary), and no to hosting as much.

I think more than anything what helps is acknowledging that I am constantly trying to do the impossible and sacrificing myself over and over again. This has allowed me to create more boundaries and has given me the confidence to stop the people pleasing and allow myself to be first more often.

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How I Prioritize My Time as a Busy Creative Mum

Finding the time to be creative is difficult, especially as a parent. Your time can already feel scarce, between working, daycare runs, after school or weekend activities, and the running of a household; finding the time to work on your creative pursuits can feel impossible. 

Time management is something I’ve struggled with as I’ve started to grow this blog, and improve my writing portfolio. I’ve had to drop limiting beliefs around what I need to feel creative and write, and instead shift my mindset and take a fresh look at how I use my time.

I’ve started to implement the practises listed below to help me be more productive and feel motivated to write. These have helped me gain a new perspective on what I can achieve, and have brought the fun and excitement back to writing that I feel I’ve been without recently.

Plan your work

Planning out what I want to write about is a great way to stay on track. I use Google Calendars to map out when I’d like to post something and start to plan what I’d like to post about; so that my content stays varied. When you have time to sit down, you can check your calendar and see what you’re currently working on.

It takes the wondering out of what to write and just gets you doing it. If you can plan out times in the week to work as well, do that. Block off those times in your calendar as creative time, and set an alarm on your phone to remind you. 

Change your mindset

I had myself in the mindset that if I didn’t have 2 hours a day to myself, then I couldn’t get work done. I kept wanting to have these long uninterrupted periods to write like I used to have as a student and then living alone in Paris. 

Before having Willow, writing never felt like work. I would write when the urge struck me, or I was feeling particularly inspired. With more free time than I knew what to do with, this was never a problem. Now with less time, I don’t have the luxury to wait until I feel motivated or inspired, and instead have to cultivate that myself. 

If I want to blog regularly and advance in my abilities then I have to force myself to work as well. This was a tricky mindset change for me. 

But if you can get yourself in the zone quickly, and work through something in 20 minutes, then you realize there are endless little pockets in your day where you can be creative.

The other night I wrote for 20 minutes while Ben cooked the dinner, and finished a blog post I’ve been sitting on for ages, which was 75% done. It’s easy to make excuses and shy away from getting into it when you’re tired or exhausted or frustrated you won’t have as much time as you’d like.

But if you instead appreciate all the little pockets of time you can use, you’ll find yourself feeling much more motivated.

Utilize your time well

I have two days a week where I start work later in the day. I used to spend this time at home, taking my time to get ready for the day after seeing Ben and Willow out the door at 7.30 am. Sometimes I’d write a little, but it was always more of a lazy morning where I had a nice breakfast and took my time getting ready. 

It never felt like a lot of time when I stayed home, but if I’m out the door early in the morning for the daycare drop off, I have much more time afterwards to get writing done before having to head to the day job. I can go to the library close to work and spend a quiet couple of hours writing. I realized I was complaining about my lack of time to write, yet spending 3 hours leisurely getting ready two days a week.

I also haven’t been utilizing nap time. On my days at home when Willow naps, I usually collapse and watch TV, or try to catch up on laundry, have lunch and not do much at all. 

Time management has less to do with “managing time” and more to do with managing yourself.

But changing my mindset from “I never have enough time to write”, to “I have 45 minutes I could use right now”, or “I have 20 minutes before dinner I could use right now”, has opened up my days like you wouldn’t believe. 

Time management has less to do with “managing time” and more to do with managing yourself. It’s an important distinction to make. Self discipline will help you make the most of your time, and get more done. 

It’s really easy to feel frazzled, especially as a busy mum, but keep at the forefront of your mind why it’s so important to carve out this time for yourself. While your world may revolve around your children, don’t forget about yourself, and your goals and ambitions, because they are as valid now as they ever were. Your life looks different with kids and you have different priorities, but that doesn’t mean you need to drop yourself as one of them. 

Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.

How I found myself after becoming a mom by going back to work

This post was created in partnership with Kids & Company.

mother reading to children

When I became a mother I felt lost.

After the dust had settled, my nipples healed and the excitement with round the clock visitors died down, I realized that my identity had been stripped away from me.

This was it, the end all, be all moment I had been fantasizing about since childhood… I was a mother.

First time mother

But then why was I filled with such resentment?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my baby, and I really didn’t experience any postpartum depression with my first pregnancy in the very beginning, but something felt very off.

I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. That was it, end of story. Watching my own mother raise her four kids with such pleasure and fulfillment, I was sold.

Motherhood was my end game.

During my pregnancy I took my last train into the big city for my pretty amazing Interior Design job, and said goodbye to a traditional career.


But as weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and one baby eventually turned into two, I increasingly felt myself fade away.

I was the shell of the person I once was. My days were filled with routines, caring for my children, while constantly watching the clock. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I thriving?

mother of two

As time went by, I eventually realized that I didn’t love a lot of the stay-at-home mom activities some of my friends cherished. Guilt began to set in, and I felt like a fraud.

When year three rolled around, I started to get real with myself and admit that I was pretty deep into a depression. My husband would walk in the door from work at the end of the day and find me pacing the halls.

Something had to change.

It was time to face my biggest critic and re-evaluate my path, including what my life was going to look like and most importantly, who I was.

The truth was I had no idea who I was.

The me before kids had different priorities, friends, interests and values. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the person looking back. It was time to find out who that person was, despite how scary that process might be.

After a lot of thought I finally decided that I did want a career outside of my home, which then set off a new type of guilt. I felt guilty that motherhood wasn’t enough for me, and I felt like I was betraying myself and my kids by deciding to take a different path than the one I had so clearly thought I had wanted.

It took me a while as I worked through a bizarre grieving process of letting go of being a stay-at-home mom, and reframed the ideals of motherhood I had pictured in my head for so long.

I finally realized that my new path and sense of balance would ultimately make me a much happier mother and wife, and no less of a mom.

Happy mom

After going back to work, I felt a new sense of self emerge. I wasn’t the same person I was before having kids. I was a new and improved me; a stronger person, a person full of confidence and maturity who had faced their fears and reinvented who they were.

Now eight years, four kids and many career changes later, I am thriving, balancing family life and work life while running my own business.

at a conference

Although some days my house looks like a tornado went through it and my to-do list is impossibly long, I’ve never felt that sense emptiness again.


I definitely don’t do it all and it does take a village. I think the biggest factor of making your own work/life balance fit is finding the right childcare for your kids.

Finding a childcare that not only gives me time to build my career, but that my kids also love has been such a wonderful aspect to having more of a work/life balance. Kids & Company not only has the flexibility I have needed with my unique schedule, but the incredible fresh, from scratch meals they provide for my kids each day (which they actually eat), fills me with such confidence with my choice in childcare.

Kids and Company

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Kids and Company

Whether it’s their Grab ‘n’Go snacks, or their complimentary care for date nights and shopping days outside of regular hours, nothing has been forgotten.

Here’s where it gets exciting… right now Kids and Company is waiving the registration fee (a $150 value) for Nesting Story readers! Just email msawatzky@kidsandcompany.com to access this exclusive offer.
One waved registration per family for a newly registering child before December 31, 2017. Subject to availability.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kids & Company. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Kids & Company.

I Am Still A Person Despite Having Children

Mother of four kids in colourIt took me years to realize it. But I am a person outside of being a mother.

As young as I can remember, I had baby fever. I would mimic my mother of four, while she cared for my baby sister, I would even pretend to breastfeed my dolls. I thought becoming a mom would fill a hole in my heart. That I would be completely satisfied by caring for my own children.

I still went to college and got the fancy big city career, but in the back of my mind, I knew that this was just temporary… until I became a mother.

before kids

Kid-free and carefree

When I was finally pregnant with our first, I would daydream the entire train ride in and out of the city each day. I wouldn’t need anything else. I would stay home and bake, read stories, go on mommy playdates, do bath time and have a beautiful home cooked meal on the table for my husband when he came in the door from work each day.

My husband supported my dream too. So much so, that we put all of our savings into two investment properties, and he worked two jobs, his day job and taking care of our investments, so that I could stay home with our kids.

We welcomed our son into the world and it was time to live my dream.

Only, my dream was not at all what I pictured. My son was not the happiest baby. Don’t get me wrong, he was a great sleeper, and when it was just the two of us, he was fairly content. But add another person to the mix, or dare go out, and he was miserable.

These sensory issues, along with a language delay, eventually became a problem we had to address. I became a warrior mom. I had left myself behind in that train, and I gave my entire being to my son.

But, I didn’t like reading books, especially when he would want to switch halfway through. I dreaded bath time, it was a chore. I slowly stopped going to mommy playdates, partly because my son didn’t enjoy the chaos, and partly because I was bored of talking about my kid to other mothers.

When we found out we had an oops, and another baby was on the way, I didn’t know how to feel. I was in shock. I knew I wanted more kids, but I felt like I hadn’t really nailed the mom thing yet. I was still in the trenches and didn’t know how to get out.

pregnant with my second

My second pregnancy flew by, partly because I was full of anxiety

Three years after becoming a mother I was a shell of a person. I had no identity, other than being the person who cared for two children. I was definitely not the same person I was before having kids.

My husband would come home from work after the sun had gone down, and I would be pacing our upstairs hall. I wanted to scream “get me out of here!”

This was a pivotal point in my journey to becoming a person again. I began to search for a new path. Not my old path, not my mother’s path, or my current path, but a new one. A path that would only fit me.

It took me three more years, one more career, two failed businesses and having twins to get to my custom motherhood path, where I am today. My sweet spot.

I am a part-time stay-at-home mom, full-time entrepreneur. It’s my perfect fit.

attending a conference

Attending a conference

I now know that each mother’s balance and path is different from each other. Some mothers do love every minute of being home with their children. Really, I know some! Others need a stimulating career that may keep them out of their home. We are all good mothers, just different.

But all of us need to establish who we are as a person outside of our kids. Giving ourselves completely to our children will not fill that hole in your heart. There has to be a balance. Every mom has their own unique path, and it is okay to change your direction if your journey isn’t fitting you.

I am a person

You won’t be the same person you were before kids. Trust me, the new person you are is stronger, more caring, empathetic and driven… because you are also a mother.