I was a writer. I had a two-year-old daughter. How could I combine my fledgling writing career and motherhood?
Why don’t I write, edit and design a monthly, 32-page family magazine — nearly single-handedly — and then distribute 6,000 copies of it to my community? (In addition to several other high-maintenance writing clients I had at the time.)
I did have a partner who handled the publication’s advertising, printing and distribution. But can anyone say … crazy woman??
Then, just as the first issue of our brilliant brainchild was about to launch I got some very important news.
I was pregnant.
The thought never occurred to me that perhaps there might be a slightly better time to pursue my dream of rocking the writing world. And maybe, just maybe, I should have realized that perhaps I hadn’t cornered the market on mothering wisdom, considering I’d been on the job for a whopping two years.
I went to my partner, told her I was pregnant and then in all seriousness, said these words, “I just want you to know that I’m fully committed to our partnership and this family magazine. The new baby will not affect that commitment.”
I cringe when I think back to that time and my insistence on forging full speed ahead — without regard to the cost to my family and my own well-being.
It took a full year for me to absorb the insanity of it all.
Here I was telling families to put family first, while my own family was faltering under the stress and time commitment of producing a magazine for families.
Looking back, it seems so clear. So what was driving my ill-fated quest?
Fear. I was afraid my dreams wouldn’t keep as I raised my children. That somehow, opportunities lost, would never surface again. It really was a lack of trust that God had the power to open the doors when the timing was right — for me and my family.
Impatience. Our society is all about instant gratification. Want something? Buy it. Pursue it. Do it. Waiting is so … old school. We have the right to be happy. Ironically, I was never more unhappy than when I was pursuing ventures at my family’s expense. Self-denial may not be popular, but it’s necessary at times for the health of our families. When the time is right, though, the realization of those long-awaited dreams is especially sweet.
People-pleasing. I didn’t want to disappoint my business partner. Her opinion of me at the time trumped even the needs of my own family — although I didn’t see it that way at the time.
Performance-based self worth. As a new mother, I had such a hard time answering the question, “What do you do?” Somehow, “simply” saying, “I’m a mom” made me feel inadequate. I felt more confident, more valuable if I could say, “I’m a magazine editor, or a writer, etc. — and a mom.” It took me years to appreciate that my worth was as a child of God and that the roles of “wife” and “mom” were the most important ones I’d fill.
Over the years, I’ve sometimes become frustrated and anxious as I’ve delayed the pursuit of my dreams.
But I eventually made peace with it.
Because dreams will always be there — ready to be chased.
My family, however, can’t wait.