One of the most rewarding aspects of motherhood is being able to watch your kids achieve their dreams. In fact, there are very few things more satisfying than watching your child score a goal, get straight-As, or get into his dream college. But at some point even June Cleaver has to wonder, “What the hell happened to my dreams?” Does becoming a mother mean you are no longer allowed to pursue your own dreams?
Being a parent is about sacrifice, it’s an expectation. You will sacrifice self-interest to support your child, their needs, wants, and dreams. Many mothers feel guilt when it comes to pursuing their own ambitions. I too, deal with these feelings; am I selfish for wanting to pursue my own dreams? What a horrible mom I must be to even consider putting myself first. Right? Well, I think that is incredibly wrong, and as mothers we deserve to have dreams as well.
Our guest mom Jaya Soul is a mother with a dream. She has dreamed of having a professional singing career since the tender age of 6. Now a mother of four, her priorities are her children, and ensuring that they are “happy…(and) focused on education” is her goal. But she still remains indignant about pursuing her own dream.
Keeping the dream alive is difficult given her heavy motherload. Not only must she focus on family, but she must deal with industry pressures to “look, dress, and act a certain way.” The industry’s narrow generalizations of femininity often conflict with what society considers to be “motherly.” For many moms, all of these pressures would be a recipe for concession, but Sierra is determined to keep up the fight, and not allow the limiting expectations of age and motherhood to limit her. “I refuse to be…in a box like everyone else.” Being a mother doesn’t mean your dreams just flicker away.
For those still struggling to balance Dreams with parenting, here is a step-by-step process to get you started.
- Write your dream down or create a dream board.
- List the steps required to accomplish your dreams.
- Get the Buy-in
- Pencil it in
- Get Busy Living the Dream
One of the major obstacles to living the dream is getting the support of your family. Your family is unlikely to be purposely in the way. But the constant wants and needs of kids and husbands will divert your attention away from your goals. To jump this hurdle, you will need to get the buy-in. Just like in corporate America, you need to convince the stakeholders (aka kids and hubby) that you deserve to pursue this and this pursuit will mean “x” for them. Maybe it will mean extra income, or just your happiness.
Jaya gets the buy-in by including her children in the dream. “All my children love music. They all beat box, dance, make drum beats and help me record.” Instead she uses music to unite her family.
Your dream may not be as easily inclusive as music is. Maybe you want to complete a marathon, and it’s going to take a couple hours of practice every night. How can you incorporate your family? Could you push your little one in the stroller while you run? Maybe you dream of becoming a novelist, and need time to write that great masterpiece. Use your family as inspiration or even critics. Including people in the dream gives them a vested interest in making it a success. Mother’s need to sometimes think about getting the buy-in to make the pursuit of happiness just a tad bit easier.
Finding the time is often the biggest hurdle to living the dream. Many moms work a full-time job, and dedicate the rest of their waking hours to cooking, cleaning, and managing their families.
Given Jaya’s family-first policy, how then does she find the time to pursue her passions? She pencils-in time just to focus. “It’s very hard but it’s all about time (management). I dedicate certain days, and times to focus on my music,” she says. Moms must make time to pencil themselves in.
You don’t have to trade dreams for motherhood. “Your children… will love you more for showing them balance. It may take longer to achieve your goals but like anything your dedicated to, patience and persistence pays off. Don’t give up, just make small adjustments and push yourself,” says Jaya.
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