Purpose Over Perfection: An Interview With Maya Lee

By Martelle Esposito

This week we talk with Maya Lee, mom of one daughter and with a second on the way. She talks with us about purpose over perfection in Motherhood and life, releasing control, valuing the process, and the preciousness of time.

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What are you most proud of in your life? Giving birth to my daughter and doing it naturally. For me, I’ve always been so fearful of pain and early on  convinced myself that if I ever gave birth, I could never do it without any sort of pain intervention. But, when I became pregnant, my mindset shifted, and I was suddenly more open to the idea that maybe I could do it. And, if not, that was okay to. I prepared myself as best as I could. In the end, it all worked out… even after 32 hours of labor! I still can’t believe I did it and hope I can do it again.

What motivates you? And, why? Throughout my design career, I've been fortunate to have great mentors guide and influence me. I hope to be a strong example to my daughters as well. Professionally, it’s been ingrained in me that I need to enjoy the process and embrace the cyclical nature of trying, failing, learning/understanding, and getting better. I try to apply those learnings to motherhood as well. Everything in me wants to do things perfectly, but being purposeful is much more valuable in this journey. We're both just trying to figure things out, learning from each other, and in the process, hopefully having fun, growing, and getting to know ourselves better.

What does the transition from not being a mom to being a mom feel like? It felt instantaneous and revolutionary. Specifically, the sense of responsibility and commitment is so immediate and powerful. It just took me by surprise. While I was pregnant, I already felt like a mom, but when i first saw her, it was an indescribable moment full of an overwhelming mix of emotions. I was scared but mostly so relieved, full of love, and excited for our future together.

What has been most surprising to you about your role as a mom? My concept of time is urgently more precious. I think the urgency comes from experiences going by so fast. I want to spend as much quality time as I can with my family and build meaningful experiences and memories, so my threshold for BS is really low. I've become really good at filtering out nonsense–whether in the form of people or things—because I just don’t have time for it.

What’s the hardest thing about being a mom? You have to be okay with giving up control. That's very difficult for someone who loves to be in control. Also, there's the constant worrying that comes with the territory. You want to raise a compassionate child, and you worry about everything that might get in the way. Motherhood, with all its ups and downs, is the ultimate teaching moment for sure.

Can you describe a time when you really felt your mom power? I go into this intense mode of focus whenever my daughter gets sick. I really just hate seeing her miserable, so I've found that I get this surge of energy to do everything possible to make her well again. Honestly, it's probably driven by fear, but so be it. I go into full protective momma mode any time I feel like I need to advocate for my child.

What advice do you have for other moms for unlocking their mom power? I am by no means an expert and still learning to navigate through this journey myself. But, what many mothers have passed on to me is to not be hard on myself. Be patient knowing parenting is not perfection but rather practice. Love on your child, and do what you think is best. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support. And, try to help other parents as well. The rest will unfold.