Last weekend, I went to my first-ever fiction writing workshop in preparation for tackling the next item on my dream bucket list. (#1: Finish my novel before age 30.)
As I sat, crammed in a small folding chair and eating way too many pre-packaged snacks, I started chatting with the lady next to me, a woman who had taken tons of professional writing classes, but could never seem to find the time to actually write. (Her description, not mine.)
She gestured towards my belly.
“I see you’re pregnant,” she said. “I have two myself; 10 and 7, and I can never find the time to write. I mean, there are sports and my husband’s crazy travel schedule. You’ll see, I’m sure,” she said with a slight laugh.
I nodded, going along with the clear assumption that she thought this was my first child. #youngmom strikes again. But inside, I was fighting some conflicting emotions.
Because is having kids an excuse for not living your dreams?
The thing is, part of my whole spiel here on this blog and in my book is the notion that kids don’t stop you from living your dreams.
But am I being truthful? Do kids hold us back?
I have to say, that in all honesty, I really don’t think they do. And I don’t think there’s any one secret or any mother out there who is doing a better job than any other mother. Every mother has a passion outside of motherhood that fuels her. For moms like Maria Kang, it’s exercise; for others, it’s writing; and for still others, the passion is waiting to be discovered, buried under the demands of dirty diapers and nighttime feedings.
Does reaching your goals sometimes take a little longer with kids?
Can children make you feel frumpy, overweight, and in general, frazzled?
For me, um, yes.
Do kids circumvent your goals, change them, or alter them beyond recognition?
And while I am a firm believer in not placing unrealistic expectations on yourself as a mother, especially in the stage when your children are so young, because it really is a stage that passes fairly quickly, no matter what it feels like, I also truly believe that it’s easy to “hide” behind our children as an excuse for not living our own lives.
Because bottom line?
Children or no children, the things that are important to us as women will remain with us our entire lives. Our loves, our passions, those things that motivate and drive us in the hours that our children are asleep or when our thoughts wander when we are pushing a swing for the 10,00th time.
So, small steps or large steps, kids aren’t an excuse for not living your dreams.
But they are an excellent excuse if you would like to take a nap.