Hey, mama. I see you. I see you wondering who you are outside of a mother. I see your desire to chase your dreams, but the guilt that shortly follows because for so long, your identity has been consumed by motherhood. And you feel tethered to the role—solely defined by it.

I see you weighed down by the pressure to only be a mother. Society tells you that once you have children, there is nothing else outside of motherhood for you. Well, mama, I am here to tell you that is wrong. Because as much as motherhood is a part of who you are, it is not the entirety of your identity. You are so much more—and you don’t need permission to be.

You are allowed to have an identity outside of motherhood, even on the days when you don’t think you deserve to hold a desire for other things. Because mama, you do deserve to have other dreams, passions, goals, hopes and aspirations. You do deserve to embark on multiple journeys in life, without being restrained to just being a mom.

Related: I prepared so much for my baby that I forgot to prepare for my own transformation

I know sometimes it doesn’t seem as though you have time for anything else. I know that by the end of each day, you’re exhausted and don’t feel like you have an ounce of yourself left to enjoy. I know that you believe a “good” mom is one who devotes everything to her children—surrendering every bit of herself in the process.

But mama, you don’t have to sacrifice yourself. You don’t have to lose yourself. And you can still chase your dreams.

You see, the beautiful thing about being human is that we aren’t defined by just one thing. We are a fusion of but many versions of ourselves. In this lifetime, we’ll meet ourselves over and over again. In many different ways, at many different moments. And all of those versions will be the makeup of who we are, the entire essence of our beings.

Your hopes don’t have to fall to the wayside.

Yes, there is a life-altering shift that takes place when you enter motherhood. There are pieces of your old self that won’t resonate with the new version of who you are. You do have a responsibility to nurture and raise your little ones. To keep them protected and tend to their well-being.

But there’s a way to do this that doesn’t involve abandoning yourself and your love for other things.

Your dreams don’t have to end once you become a mama. You don’t have to stop going after what you desire. You don’t have to put your passions on hold. Your hopes don’t have to fall to the wayside—or sift through your fingers.

Related: I love my baby, but I miss myself

Motherhood does not have to be the altar at which you sacrifice your joy for other things outside of being a mama. Because your role as a mother and your passions can coexist. They can share a home.

You can dedicate so much to your family and still set out to pursue your aspirations.

You can love every moment of being a mom and still work on finding purpose outside of motherhood.

You can tend to your children, spend time with your partner and still carve out time for yourself.

Because you are so much more than maintaining your home, scheduling doctor’s appointments, being the “perfect” wife and pouring your all into your family.

The one thing that makes you a great mother is being the best version of yourself, because that’s what your kids will see and appreciate as they grow. And witnessing you fulfill your dreams and reach your full potential will give them the courage to do the same.

So to the mama still trying to chase her dreams—go get ‘em, girl. You got this. I’m rooting for you. We all are.