We know her as a pop singer and as one of the judges on The Voice, but Christina Aguilera says her main role is as mom to 10-year-old Max and 3-year-old Summer Rain, and her struggle to balance that priority with her passions and career is one many mamas can relate to.
In a recent interview with Billboard, Aguilera explains how she put her work life on hold when she became a mom. "I am a mom first," she admits. "It's part of why I stayed in the position I was [at The Voice]. It's easy to get comfortable and cushy in the same place and not have to worry about uprooting your kids. I've been putting myself on the back burner."
Aguilera hasn't toured as a singer since before Max was born, and she is hardly the only mom to take her foot off the gas at work to focus more on family. Many moms shift to part-time work, settle for a less-than-challenging but "cushy" and convenient position like Aguilera, or take on a non-traditional work schedule in order to prioritize family.
Millennial moms are more likely than those in other generations to say that being a parent is extremely important to their overall identity, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey, and part of that is because we're really into our kids—one survey found 99% of millennial parents truly love parenting. We want to be moms and we love being moms, but that doesn't mean that's all we are and it sure doesn't mean we belong on the back burners of our own lives.
For Aguilera, prioritizing the non-mom parts of herself means returning to performing, and going on tour for the first time since becoming a mom. Speaking to Billboard, Aguilera explains that the change is a bit frightening, but she's ready to get out of the career comfort zone. "I'm looking forward to getting back out and actually showing my kids what Mommy really does!" shares Aguilera.
Indeed, there's a lot of benefits for kids who see their moms working, not the least of which can be an increase in mama's own happiness. Research indicates that when moms are happier and more satisfied with their lives, their kids have fewer conduct problems, better social skills and greater levels of independence.
For Aguilera, getting back to touring is going to be more satisfying and make her happier, but for other moms the solution may be going back to the office, or even pursuing an unpaid passion outside of motherhood if most of her time is spent at home caring for the kids.
When we prioritize our own goals, we're taking ourselves off the back burner. And that's something our kids should see.