When my daughter was about five or six months old, I marveled at how fast she was growing up, and how often I was busy with work and school and other stuff that always seemed to creep up.
I wanted to put her first in my life, but I also had bills to pay. I landed a decent internship that morphed into a full-time job and I snatched it with both hands. The salary was nothing to sneeze at and – finally – we would be financial stable.
I made a pledge to myself that by the time she entered kindergarten, I would be self-employed. I would be able to create my own hours and set my own schedule. I would be my own boss, spending my time on projects that actually meant something to me.
So I began blogging when I came home from my full-time job. Because I couldn’t really get started until the kids went to sleep, this meant I was up working until well after midnight most days. I had no life outside of work, this blog, and my family. Most of my friendships withered, if not solely because of my new focus, then it was definitely a contributing factor.
I knew that I had to create some additional income, but the clock was tick-tick-ticking and kindergarten was going to be here before I knew it.
Then, I got laid off, luckily. I say luckily because instead of stepping out with no safety net, I had a bit of severance pay and unemployment benefits to tide me over ’til I could pay the mortgage on my own.
I hit it hard. Within two months of getting laid off, I had made almost $3,000 freelancing for different clients. It was a lot of work and I was bone-tired most of those days, but damn it, I was going to make it work for my lifestyle. And I have.
Whatever your goal is – whether it’s self-employment, or a satisfying career as a nurse, or a lawyer, or a corrections officer – it is up to you to take that first step. And then the second step. And then the third.
I talked earlier about doing things that scare you as a way get to the next level. But it takes more than that, obviously.
I want each of you to be happy with your career. Not just have a job and go there every day to punch a clock and count down the hours until it’s time to go home. But to be truly fulfilled with your passion.
We have every right to earn money doing something that we love. We do not need to necessarily curb our dreams and desires because kids came along. Uh-uh. We still push forward.
You might get discouraged because people might not support your goals. You say you want to go back to school and people ask, “Where are you going to get the money? Who’s going to watch the baby? When are you going to study? How in the world do you think this is possible?”
I’m telling you – it IS possible.
It is true that your priorities change, your viewpoint shifts and your life is no longer only about you once you become a mom.
But it’s also important to remember that you are still you. You are still the person who would lay in bed and think about winning a Grammy, or being in med school, or anything else that crossed your mind.
The best advice I can give you? Don’t get held down by one dream.Dreams are flexible, they adapt to different circumstances. Dreams are something that you control, that you can build. If one dream looks impossible, twist it sideways and see what you come up with. There is a way around any roadblock – whether you have to go around it, over it or even under it.
Of all the young moms I’ve met over the years, they have been determined and motivated, driven to succeed by any means necessary. They’ve overcome great obstacles and are still standing, ready to share how they did it. I want to add you to that list.