I’m a mother of three-year-old triplets. I’m also a blogger, columnist and parenting expert who appears on television regularly, so I know firsthand the challenges of pursuing your passion while raising kids. For many of us, our obligations at home make it difficult to find the time and energy to go after the things we want. I’m not going to lie—pursuing your passion while raising kids is hard. But the good news is that it is possible and also really important. For you and your children.
When I was a child, I saw my mother try to be successful in business. She tried various things, from bus tours to real estate ventures. Sometimes she succeeded in her efforts and other times she didn’t. Watching her efforts made me want to work hard too. So when I made the decision to pursue my passion as a writer and media personality, I did it for two reasons. I did it partly because of my own ambitions (after all we don’t stop being ambitious simply because we have children), but I also did it for my kids so they know I never stopped trying to be the very best me.
Going after the things we want in life is scary. Many times, we don’t even know where to begin, but with every step and every battle we win, our confidence rises, as does our happiness.
So how do we make these things happen when we have so much on our plates already?
Create a plan
Figure out what your dream is and think about some realistic ways to get there. Do you need more education? More experience, or do you just need to start? What are the steps that you need to take today so that you can be where you want to be years from now?
Create a schedule
Life is going to happen and it’s often unpredictable so it’s important to schedule in time to work on your dream. That time won’t magically appear. For some moms, that means waking up early in the morning and working on their dream before the kids wake up. For others, it’s working late at night when the kids are asleep. In any case, find a block of quiet time so you put in a few hours a day to get work done.
Get help with the kids
In order to succeed, you need time to work. You also need time to think, to plan and to rest. So when needed, get help from either a qualified childcare professional or a trustworthy family member. If you have a supportive partner, ask him or her to help with the kids every other weekend so you can work on your dream. When you let people know how serious you are about succeeding in life, you’ll be surprised by how much they willing to help you.
Find an emotional support system
Pursuing your dream is hard. Pursuing it with kids is even harder. Maybe today you’ll feel like giving up because the kids are acting up in school and you’re feeling discouraged. Find a mentor or network of people who will encourage you and help you to keep going. When I’m feeling discouraged I meet with my mentor. Other times I talk to my husband and he’ll say to me, “Slow down? Give up? No, you need to go harder!” Whoever these people are in your life, find them because you are going to need them when the challenges of motherhood and life converge and nothing seems to be going your way.
Work on your dream daily. You don’t need to do great things everyday, but you need to do something towards your dream daily even if that something is resting so you can go harder the next day.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Success takes time and sometimes it takes years. When we think of success we think of it as a sprint, but it’s really a marathon. So hang in there and be resilient when there are set backs and when things take longer than you want.
Always keep family first
Our dreams are important but so are our kids. Above all else, our children need to come first in our lives. That said, with a good schedule, diligence, planning and focus we can still be great moms to our kids while honoring our dreams and our selves.
Notoya Green is an on-air parenting expert and mother of three-year-old triplets. A former law attorney, Notoya put her law career on hold to become a stay-at-home mom to care full-time for her children. She now shares her experiences at Triplets in Tribeca.