Why Having Kids Has Not Stopped Me From Pursuing My Passions
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
I am a multi-passionate woman, wife and mom of two young children, I work in technology within the investment banking sector (currently four days a week), and mostly 9-5. I have worked part time, full time and also remotely from home since I became a working mom over 5 years ago. In the 5 years I have been a mom, my performance reviews at work remained positive given how much my productivity level increased. I run this Mummy lifestyle website and a moms facebook group called Notjustamum. I am a fitness enthusiast. I take part in little running challenges. I have signed up for a 6KM run in July. I love travelling. I also volunteer for church activities and in general. I am a career mentor. I have been to UK schools to give talks about my career to pupils and students. This year alone, I was one of the facilitators for a Speed Careers day for GCSE students and also a STEMette mentor (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), a scheme that encourages young girls to explore STEM degrees and careers.
So trust me, I know first-hand the challenges and difficulties of pursuing your passion while raising young children. Thankfully, I have support from my husband, a good weekday nanny, nursery (day-care) and school. Every minute I’m not with my children, I’m either working, running errands or pursuing my passions. But I’m not complaining as I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am very grateful to God that I still have a relatively flexible but interesting 9-5 job that has allowed me to continue pursuing my writing and other passions.
Clearly, things change immediately when you become solely responsible for the life of a helpless tiny baby. You have to make sure they are well fed, watered, clothed, sheltered and entertained. You might have a sickly or special needs child which could make it harder to keep a job, find a job or do anything outside of being a parent. Pursuing your dream is tough. Pursuing it with kids is even tougher. You might be overwhelmed and feel like giving up right now because the kids have behavioural issues or they are not doing well in school or your child is very sickly and those are very valid reasons. However, you have to recognise the difference between taking time out, reducing your working hours and leaving all together.
This post has been sitting in draft for a while because I wasn’t too sure how it would be received. Today, I am writing to tell you that there is a limit to how much and how long you can consistently use your kids as an excuse for not following your dreams and passions. I don’t see having kids as an acceptable excuse to not follow your dreams no matter how long things may take. Why am I in a position to be saying this? Well, because I am a busy mom myself with 2 active kids aged 5 and 2 and very limited local support system in the United kingdom given my closest family ties are in Nigeria and United States. Several times, I have been tempted to “hide” behind my kids. I wanted to quit my day job many times when it got too hard. I wanted to quit this blog many times when I felt overwhelmed. I missed my maternity leave days when I could spend so much time with the kids. Thankfully, I have great mentors that encourage me to keep going when times get hard. The truth is motherhood can be what you make of it.
If you are being honest with yourself though, even if you didn’t have kids, you probably would find some other excuse to stop you from aspiring for big things and taking necessary action towards your goals. How convenient to hide behind your kids because it is an acceptable excuse in society infact many of your family and friends would say to you “you deserve some accolades” for quitting your job and choosing to be a 100% committed parent. Trust me there are no medals for sacrificing your dreams altogether for your kids. Instead you might wake up one day and totally resent yourself.
I just got back from a fitness trip to Spain. I observed some inspirational moms following their sporting passions with their kids in tow. I saw a mom cycling with her young toddler probably 14 months old at the back of the bike. She did not let her child stop her adventures. The child sat there at the back calmly enjoying the ride. I saw a mom at the Zumba class with a tiny baby (not more than 5 months) in the pram at her side. She took a break to breastfeed the baby in the middle of the session, put him down and then continued the class. I also saw a mom and dad at the morning 8am gymnastics session with their 3 young kids. They brought them along. I urge you to do the same. I couldn’t resist taking a back view photo of them. They just looked too cute in their sports kits.
Our kids travel with us most times. We go on at least one family holiday outside the UK every year. We have taken them to Greece, Spain, Portugal, UAE, United States. I have brought my kids to work a few times. They do attend my office crèche occasionally. Initially, my older son thought we just had fabulous parties in the office as his first memory of my office when he was 3 was at the office annual kids Christmas party. My older son would say “mummy I love your office, it so cool”. But now that he’s 5, he’s beginning to understand that we do serious work in the office. I have even showed him some of my spread sheets and reports. I have showed him my Instagram page and he really likes it. He usually gives me the best compliments on my outfits! My younger son loves scrolling through my page and pointing out excitedly “that’s mummy”.
Apart from having adult interaction, some level of independence, getting to use my brain (narrowly missed having a first class in University), making money to keep up with our living expenses plus someone out there is counting on me to be obedient to my calling. Those are some of the reasons why I wont completely stop following my passions. The biggest reason though is I want my children to grow up seeing me and their dad working hard, pursuing our passions, and being successful in our endeavours. I want my children to talk about my accomplishments to their friends. I want to show them what it looks like for a woman to pursue their dreams and passions audaciously. I want to raise them to be caring hands-on men that will lean in and support their wives dreams in future.
My children will always come first regardless, however with a good organisational skills, prioritisation, planning and perseverance we can still be great moms to our kids while pursuing our passions and purpose in life.
I reached out to the parents from the UK blogger community. I asked them the question:
Why do you think it’s important to carry on pursuing your dreams and goals after having kids despite how challenging it is?
Yes! Most definitely! I love my kids but I just need to have another sort of passion or occupation and only then I feel I’m living a meaningful life. I’m so lucky with my blog but if it wasn’t there for me, I’d gone crazy as a SAHM by now. I’d gone back to work because frankly I’m not a cut out SAHM.
Eva Katona from CaptainBobcat
I definitely think it’s important for your own independence! Also to show your children that you can do it later in life. I’m hoping to go back to uni next year to study Midwifery – I’ll be 30 but it’ll be the best thing I’ll ever do.
Jenna Newell from Thentherewerethree
I was a SAHM for 3 years and started going a little crazy. Now I am blogging full time I have my work life which keeps me busy and so I appreciate spending time with my family much more.
Clare Brown from freddiesmummyuk
I think it’s really important to still have something for you. It’s easy to get lost in the nappies, the feeds, the sleepless nights and always putting a little person first. You need to be you still and if you have a dream or a passion you should still be able to fit it in to your life. You are still you.
Because one day they’re going to go off & start their own lives and you’ll be left. It’s important that you don’t forget yourself as the days of endless nappies and tantrums will one day end and you’ll get your freedom back, so plan for that too.
For me, its been about having control in one area of my life, I was really surprised about how much control I lost when I had my children! It also makes me a better mum to my children, as when I’m satisfied and motivated I’m more relaxed and appreciative of them.
Gemma Hall from MummyWaisted
Because, although it’s important, you’re more than just a parent. For the majority of us, one day our kids will look after themselves and we’ll feel lost.
Pete Chatfield from Householdmoneysaving
Because it’s so important for kids to know that they can make their own life choices and especially for girls, its important for them to learn that they dont have to make a choice between family and ‘career’ success.
Clare Coleman from Wild Mama Wild Tribe
Life is a journey and we are all continuously learning. I think it’s so important to have fulfilling activities and passions in my life and this in turn makes me a better and happier parent.
Polly Basak from Ourseasidebaby
I’ve managed to change my career since having kids to my dream career I thought I’d given up on. I work as a freelance writer from home now. It’s so important because I want my kids to know that even though you may not think you’re heading in the right direction there’s always a few ways to get to where you want to be.
Danielle Georgina jones from TinyTripping
I feel if you don’t you are taking real risks with your mental wellbeing. I am a worker and went back to work very quickly after my first child. I need that stimulation and was fine. With my second a well-meaning boss encouraged me to take a longer maternity leave and I feel that really contributed to my post-natal depression as I was so bored and felt I was not contributing anything useful to society. I can recognise i was now as a parent but it did not feel like that at the time. Also you do have to remember that children do grow up and leave home to do their own thing in time and you can be left wondering who you are having lost your identity somewhere in the mix of nappy changes, teenage dramas and housework drudgery.
Kate Holmes from Kateonthinice
Because YOU matter and long after your kids have grown up and gone you will have many many years of living and growing to do. Never ever give up on yourself.
Becky Goddard hill from Abeautifulspace
Oh it is so important to remember that you are YOU and not YOUR KIDS, so just because as a parent, we have fulfilled that part of our lives, it doesn’t mean that we should stop adding to our happiness jar just because we are parents. In fact, stopping doing things for you when you become a mum isn’t going to help your kids, your partner, or anyone that loves you. You have to be happy with yourself as an individual, as well as yourself as a mum, and they are two very separate things!
Too many mums “loses themselves” after having kids, and part of making sure that doesn’t happen is to keep pursuing those other dreams. Having kids shouldn’t stop those passions and dreams, it just adds to them!
Helen Neale from kiddycharts
It’s so hard not to get stuck in the ‘Mum zone’, and whilst it’s really hard to get anything done whilst your kids are small it’s really important not to lose track of who you are, what makes you tick, and what you want to achieve.
Kate Evans from themumconundrum
1. Because your kids learn the most from you and they will learn how to pursue their dreams and never give up
2. You’re happier when you are chasing and fulfilling your dreams – your kids need a happier you
3. There will always be barriers to attaining your goals. Don’t use your kids as an excuse
Why do think it’s important to continue pursuing your life goals and passions even after having kids?