I can be a mother and a wife. I can be a dreamer.~ Kristy from Breath of Sunshine
When my husband trained to run his first marathon, he was never asked: Do the kids miss you? Who watches the kids for you while you train? He never heard comments like: Your wife and kids must have sacrificed a lot for you to go for your marathon dream. It seemed a given for Chris to reach for his dreams–to go after his goals. It was accepted. But for me, the mother of 4, wife and stay-at-home-mom, those questions and comments were the norm. Whether it was their intention or not, these questions and comments were designed by nature to be dripping with the undertone: don’t you feel guilty?
I often feel like I have had to put my defenses up, to justify my actions to explain away why I dream big and chase after those dreams. And I shouldn’t. I hope to raise my children to believe they can dream big. And I pray my daughters will have the confidence to do so guilt free, without having to worry about the judgments of others, especially, especially other mothers.
I recently heard Kathi Lipp speak and her message was loud and clear: It’s OK to chase your dreams, it’s OK to have goals, even if you are– just a mom. It’s OK to be a mom and a dreamer.
And yet I want to be careful with what I’m trying to say. Because so often I read things or hear from other moms–where in order to feel better about their choices, they have to put down others who make choices different from their own. I don’t ever want to make someone else feel bad for their choices, even if they are different from mine.
I know for some, placing their dreams on hold is what works best for them, for their souls. And that is best for their families. Others don’t want to wait, and what’s good for their souls is chasing those dreams in the here and now, and that is what is best for their families. So I want to be careful, and say with love; if you choose to wait, it’s because you know what is best for you, it doesn’t make you less of a woman. If you choose to act, it doesn’t make you selfish or less of a mother.
I’m just a mom. I spend my day cooking meals, cleaning, driving children to and from school, hosting playdates, kissing and bandaging owies, reading books with a lap full of children, helping with homework, doing laundry, grocery shopping, squeezing in my runs and workouts, taking Baby for walks, worrying: am I doing enough? am I raising them right and good?, combing hair, building legos and building up their spirits, cuddling a child of mine who just needs extra love for no other reason than wanting to be in my arms. Just a mom who spends her days loving her children, just like any other mom.
And I’m a dreamer. I have running dreams: to some day run a 100 mile race (but not now, not even soon…even I place dreams on hold), to cross the finish lines of my first two ultra marathons this year, to get faster. And other dreams: to raise as much money as I can for lung cancer, to build up MyFitFamily to something worthy of being proud of, to write a book, to one day have my dream job once my children are all in school, to start my own charity. So many dreams and so many more. Some I’m chasing now and some have to wait.
And now, I can confidently say: No. I don’t feel guilty. Not at all. Because I don’t want to just tell my children to chase their dreams–I want them to see me doing it. So they really know how important it is to go after what the heart longs for. How else will they know that it’s OK to dream big unless I stop apologizing and feeling guilty about chasing my own dreams? I want them to see that a mommy can set goals and achieve them, just like a daddy can. I want them to feel confident about their choices–whether they choose to act or choose to wait.
Photo credit: Rubigirl Photography
I’m a mother. And a dreamer.
Never Give Up,
In memory of my friend, Stephanie. I know you are in heaven, dreaming big dreams for your children.