Have you ever felt an inner call to something more? Just because you are a mom, it doesn't mean that you need to put off your dreams. You can be a good mom and follow your dreams too! In this article, learn five reasons why moms put off their dreams and why they should follow them instead.
When I was a young stay-at-home mom, I worked really hard to keep my home organized and my family healthy and happy. I was very grateful for the life I was living, yet I secretly felt unfulfilled and unhappy. Because I'm an over achiever, from the outside, no one could tell that anything was wrong because I was doing everything I needed to do, but inwardly I was suffering.
The truth was that I had dreams and ambitions, but I pushed them off to the "one day" list once I became a mother. No matter how busy my days were or how filled with errands and to-do list items, when the day was over, that inner call to something more was always there.
I know I'm not the only woman out there who has put off her dreams. I've talked to many women–clients, acquaintances, friends, etc who will tell me something that they have always wanted to do. Their faces light up when they talk about it and they get really passionate, but then they start giving excuses as to why they can't do it, the energy comes down, and the moment of dreaming passes. Many times the main reasons for not following their dreams has to do with their family. This always makes me sad because not only is it possible to follow your dreams as a mom, but it's also possible to do it without negatively impacting your family. In fact, it can actually be the best thing for your family.
Why you are putting off your dreams
After talking to many women, these are the five reasons that I hear the most often when it comes to putting off your dreams.
1.You don't know if it's right
Following your dreams is not just a logistical issue (figuring out how to do it), but also a moral issue. You don't just want to go after these dreams just so say you did it. You want to feel good about it and feel certain it will be for your benefit and for your families as well. You likely feel an inner conflict when you think about your dreams; being equally drawn to it and unsure of it.
2. Wanting more means you're ungrateful
As children we are often told, "Just be grateful for what you get." While it sounds like a nice thing to teach your child, what it's actually teaching is that you're ungrateful if you ask for something more or express your wants/needs. You may feel very grateful for your life. You feel like you've been blessed in many ways, so you are frustrated or confused by your unfulfillment and that inner call to more. You likely feel ashamed that you can't just be grateful for what you have or feel content with the life you have.
3. I don't want to leave my family behind
Your dreams may have been with you from before you had a family, so when you think of fulfilling them, the vision you have in your head is of you doing it by yourself. Now that you have a family, imagining your dreams in that way feels really selfish because you love your family and you don't want to leave them behind. It feels like an opportunity that has passed and is no longer available to you.
4. I don't have time
As a mother you have a lot of responsibilities to take care of. Without much effort your days can be completely booked full and it feels like you don't have time to follow your dreams. Even being intentional and creating time for you to do things you want to do doesn't seem possible and you feel like you have to get all of the other things you're "supposed" to do done before you can even allow yourself to think about following your dreams. After all, adults don't get to just go do whatever they want; they have responsibilities and things that they have to do right?
5. My family shouldn't have to sacrifice for my dreams
This is probably the most common reason moms put off their dreams. They want to follow their dream, but they don't feel that their family should have to sacrifice anything for it. They think it's unfair and feel guilty if it affects their family at all.
Do any of these resonate with you? Have you used any (or all) of them to justify postponing your dreams? If so, I totally get it. In fact, at one time or another, I have used every single one of them. At the time, they felt valid, but the results I was seeing in my life were not what I thought they would be (nor what I wanted them to be). I thought that not following my dreams would benefit my family more, but I have found that the opposite is true.
Why you should start following your dreams
As mothers, we take our job of caring for our family seriously. We want them to give them all that they need (and want if possible). That is a great desire to have and, in itself, there's nothing wrong with it. It only becomes a problem when you use it to dismiss your own dreams.
Are you a mother? Yes.
Are you also a person worthy of personal growth and development? Also Yes!
It's important to grow as an individual because without it, life feels stagnant, and that's where the unfulfillment and unhappiness stem from.
Here is the truth about following your dreams:
Only you will know what is right
What's right for one person may not be right for another. Looking to other people to tell you if something is right is not going to work. The only person who's going to know is you. Just like you feel that inner call to something more, that same part of you will help you know if something is right for you and your family. You know your heart and you know your intentions, which means that you'll know if you're being selfish and ungrateful or not. When you are willing to tap into that part of you to make decisions rather than just doing what others around you are saying and doing, you can show your children that they can do the same. That they don't have to follow the pack or give into peer pressure. They will be able to know how to check in with themselves and make their own decision.
You are not ungrateful for asking for what you want
Asking for what you want is not showing ingratitude–it's just basic communication. And you know what? The families that are able to communicate with each other are the ones who are the happiest. By expressing your needs, you are modeling to your children that not only is it safe and ok to do so, but that they don't have to feel shame or guilt about it either.
You can bring your family with you
When I decided to follow my dreams, I decided from the get go that I would do it with my family because that's what I wanted. Travel had always been one of my goals, especially international travel, but we had toddler twin boys. We started out with short road trips and then eventually worked our way up to traveling internationally. The memories made have been priceless and have shaped us for the better and it all started with my dream. If I hadn't been willing to go after it, my whole family would've missed out on some epic adventures.
Whatever you dream is, it is possible to include your family if that is what you want. If you are willing to keep an open mind and think outside of the box, you will be able to figure out a way.
You make time for what's important to you
There's no doubt that your life is busy, but the truth is that you make time for what is important to you. I mean, my to-do list never ends, but I still seem to find time to watch BTS live performance videos on You Tube. (Shout out to my fellow K-pop fans!) The problem is not that you don't have time; it's that following those dreams hasn't been a priority for you or been important enough to you. Once you decide to follow your dreams, you will find time. This also means that you will make time for other things that you value including having time for your family. It's not either/or. You can have both. And if you bring your family with you, you might find that not only do you have more time with them, but it's more quality time as well.
Sacrifice is good for your family
There's no doubt that following your dreams will require shifts in how things are done around your house, but is that really a bad thing? When we, as adults, don't show our kids that our dreams are worth working for, they will grow up to put their dreams on the back burner and only focus on their kids. Why do we focus so much energy on helping our kids work towards dreams that they will put on the back burner once they become adults?
Instead, you have the opportunity to create a family environment where all family members support each other in achieving their dreams, which includes you. By doing this they will grow up knowing that their dreams are worth pursuing, even as an adult. Plus, because each member must contribute, it creates an environment of gratitude and service which unites your family and strengthens your relationships with each other.
No matter what is holding you back from following your dreams, I want you to consider what more could be possible not only for you, but for your family as well. What if you could have a happy family and live your dreams? What if your family was even happier because you lived your dreams?
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