Mommy Convos is excited to have Lisa Anderson returning as a Guest Author. Choosing to enjoy motherhood is a gift, but what if you want more? Our Guest Author Lisa suggests six questions to ask yourself during those feelings of wanting “more” before taking the leap. Take it away Lisa!
Life Outside of Motherhood: Guidelines to Make your Dreams a Reality
I believe motherhood is the most important job, but many of us desire to pursue personal dreams too. Discovering and pursuing dreams as a mother can feel overwhelming and sometimes guilt-inducing. However, if the timing is right, your motive is pure and your priorities are in order, pursuing your dreams can add a sense of fulfillment that may enhance your experience as a mother.
I found out I was expecting my first child when I was in my third year of teaching. I found my dream school, was finally getting the hang of my job and I thought long and hard about what to do after my baby came. After much consideration, I decided to stay at home and focus on raising my little boy. This was not an easy choice to make. I enjoyed raising my kids and immensely grateful for the opportunity. After a while, desired to “do more”. As I have wrestled with these feelings over the years, I learned a few things that I hope can help someone else. If you also have the desire to “do more” here are some important points to think about that may help sort out your dreams and determine how and when to chase them.
- Consider your why.
In today’s day and age it is easy to feel like you HAVE to do more than motherhood alone. It is easy to feel like you are not good enough if you are “just” staying home. Or perhaps you are drawn to the lavish perks and rewards of certain jobs. To me, those are not valid whys. Perhaps, you are being pushed by a force outside of yourself rather than from within. If you feel compelled to do more because your family needs extra income, your why is helping provide for the family therefore creating a good why. You may feel that you will mentally or emotional benefit from doing something outside of motherhood- this is a good why. Considering the root of your why will help you know you are choosing a path for the right reasons.
- Think about timing.
During those early years of mothering it is easy to feel lost in the sleepless nights, diaper changes and temper tantrums. At times it feels like that phase will last forever, but it doesn’t. Time marches on and the seasons change. What may be difficult to accomplish with a number of young kids at home, may become doable when your kids are school-aged. True- life is short, but those golden years of motherhood when your kids need you for everything are even shorter. Do not feel pressure to do something NOW, unless your why is compelling enough.
- Consider the value of your time.
Time is a precious commodity to mothers. There is never enough of it! Embarking on personal or career goals will use up large portions of your time. The question is; is it worth it? Throughout the years, I had a few opportunities to bring in some extra income to our family. I could see many friends were successful in their endeavors and I seriously considered joining in. However, none of these opportunities were enough to sacrifice my mental space and time away from my kids. Sometimes, financial needs trump all and you do what you can to take care of your family. If finances are not the driving factor, it would be wise to be choosey on how you spend your time.
- Make a list.
Making a list of everything that interests you as well as things you feel you do well. This is a good exercise for those that feel ready to pursue something, but are not sure what to do. Look for patterns and themes in your list. Often times, especially because of social media, we think we should be doing what everyone else is doing. This is not true! You should to pick something that matches your strengths, skills and interests for the best chance of success
5. Determine a path.
Write out a series of steps you believe need to happen you reach those goals. If you can- set start and end dates to each of these steps. The steps can be as small as you need them to be. It’s okay if your goal will take a while to reach. You will still feel a great satisfaction as you take even the smallest steps in reaching your goals.
- Push through discomfort.
I recently had the realization that anyone who has achieved anything had to experience some sort of discomfort. The discomfort may be putting yourself out in the world and feeling vulnerable. It could mean sacrificing sleep or a good Netflix binge. It could be in the form of getting out of your comfort zone and meeting new people. The path to success is not comfortable and I people don’t stumble into greatness- they go after it!
If you have dreams beyond motherhood, they don’t always have to be shelved. With careful thought and consideration, you can make your dreams come true! Plan and prepare for the future, but never forget to enjoy the now.
Bio: Lisa Andersen is certified Positive Discipline Instructor who believes that if you are a mother, you might as well enjoy it. She tries to help other women learn to enjoy their roles as mothers by sharing ways to manage thoughts and time as well as teaching tools to help manage children as well as ideas to help keep them occupied. Outside of mothering, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercise, sunshine, Gilmore Girls and chocolate.