How to Chase Your Dreams While Raising Your Family
Since having my daughter earlier this year, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about running my business while raising my family and a quick look on social media shows me that I’m not alone. So I thought it would be a good time to look at how to chase your dreams while raising your family.
Perhaps like me, you had business dreams that started before you started your family, or maybe your dreams have shifted as your children have grown and you aren’t sure what your dreams are now.
Have you given yourself a moment to really ask yourself what your dream is? So many parents seem to set their own dreams aside when their little ones come along when family life gets busy they help push and support the dreams of their children but all too often think that leaves no time for them to chase their own dreams.
I know I have, since my daughter’s arrival, I have struggled to find the time to balance both my new family life and my business. I’m sure this is totally natural but I have found that not only have I struggled with the balance of raising a family and chasing my dreams but that my dreams and goals have shifted since having my daughter.
Do you even have time to chase your dreams?
When our children are babies so much of our time is taken up thinking about what they need, making sure their needs are met and when you are caring for a newborn some days it can feel like all you have time for is maybe a nap and a shower never mind chasing a dream, running a business or even indulging in some self-care! It can all seem so overwhelming.
I know this is something I’ve found to be challenging. Having a baby is such a big life change, it’s probably a bigger life change that I was expecting it to be and I know so many people tell you that you have to give yourself permission to dream, make plans, write down your goals and chase them.
While this is, of course, good and well-intentioned advice, that doesn’t mean you have to be hard on yourself if life as a new mum seems to have left you with less time to chase your dreams or goals. You also aren’t alone in this; I’ve found it helpful to hear the stories of female entrepreneurs who have gone through this already.
Carrie Green, the founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, has spoken openly about the challenges she faced in still running her business and chasing her dreams after she became a mum.
I think before a baby arrives, we have an idea of how we think it’s all going to work, how we will run our business or chase our goals and then the baby arrives and suddenly you realise it’s nothing like you thought it would be.
And before long those dreams seem to be further down your priority list than they have ever been before.
The wonderful Rachel Hollis, founder of the Hollis co and author of the New York Times bestseller Girl Wash Your Face, spoke of her own desire to chase her dreams while raising her 4 kids. She believes it’s vital that our children see us chase our own dreams so that they know it’s OK to chase theirs.
She has some great advice over on her blog “the chic site” on how to push your dreams further up the priority list.
“Break It Down: Be specific about your goal. Then answer the following questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how? Example: Who do I need to help make this dream a reality? What steps do I need to take to get there? By breaking down your dream into smaller goals you start to see what exactly needs to fall into place to make it achievable.” – Rachel Hollis
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can implement this in my own life and business as I prepare to return to work after my maternity leave.
One of the first things I’m going to look at is breaking down my goals and dreams post-baby to see what they are now.
I know having goals and working on them doesn’t mean putting family plans, or others needs on the back burner it just means I’m also looking to focus on my own dreams and goals as well.
So other than breaking down our goals, what else can we do help up chase our dreams while we raise our kids?
I’ve come up with a list of my own that I think will help me focus on my dreams post-baby and since I know I can’t be the only new mum going through this shift I thought I would list them on here as well to any other new mums that need it!
So how do we chase our dreams while raising our family?
Make Time For Your Dream:
Set aside time each day, each week and each month to do one thing that will help bring our dream that little bit closer.
Perhaps that means taking 30 mins each day to journal, work on our websites, create our content, listen to a podcast.
Anything that can help us focus on our dreams and take action towards them. It’s my belief that even just taking little steps will help.
Then once a week I plan on setting aside time to focus on my dreams, my own plans for the future. Probably just a 2 -3 hour block that I can set aside and work on it for a concentrated period of time.
Then I plan to set aside one full day a month, where I can dedicate a bit more time and work on those tasks that need more attention and time than the others. That way I am setting aside time daily, weekly and monthly to keep chasing my dreams while still adjusting to motherhood.
Yes, I can already hear you saying you don’t know where to take the time from and to be honest I know I won’t manage it every time – but it’s amazing how you start to make different decisions when you’re actively looking for that time. Which is why the next suggestion is to think is there anywhere you can save time?
Do you need to check on social media while the baby naps? Does the house really need to be tidied or can you take some time from there? It’s a case of deciding what to prioritise.
Can you call in help to sit with the baby? Grans, aunts, uncles, friends are usually more than happy to help. There is a reason they say it takes a village!
Of course, this step focuses on when your kids are babies and toddlers. Once they start nursery or school you will be able to set aside more time and have a better structure.
Find Your People
While you are building your dream it’s important to have the support of people who get it; who understand that you can chase your dreams and raise your family.
Perhaps you will find your support network in a group of close friends, or perhaps it will be a group of like-minded people on social media, like my Facebook group Inspiring Women Society.
Either way, it’s important that you find those people who will support and encourage you, who pick you up when you stumble and cheer when you succeed.
I know that’s what I plan to do, find my tribe for this stage in my life.
Voice Your Dreams
I think one of the most important things I can do while trying to achieve my dreams while also raising my family is to be open about what those dreams are.
I encourage you to do the same, tell people about it, share it with those you love, get an accountability partner, anything you need to do to bring that dream from inside your head out into reality.
Sometimes saying it out loud can be the biggest help in making it a reality.
Be Kind To Yourself
So this is not going to be shocking news to parents but being a parent is hard work. It’s not an easy job. Rewarding yes, but at times it’s just really really hard and I’m only at the very beginning of my parenting journey so I am by no means an expert.
There have been times however already that life with a newborn and juggling a business just seem so hard. Some good advice I was given is that in these moments the anxiety, fear, exhaustion can make it feel like you are failing. Stop. No one is perfect, we all have moments when we feel like this and it’s important you remember to allow yourself the time to breathe.
Especially if you fall down the comparison trap. Where it looks like all these other mums are running perfect businesses, achieving their goals and acing motherhood.
Social media has given us such a false perception of real life, it can make us feel like we are alone in our struggles. I know I have done in the months since my daughter arrived.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Anna Mathur is a Psychologist, writer and speaker who honestly documents her life raising her family, running her business and chasing her dreams.
She documents not just the good things but the struggles. Because both are a reality. Which is why you have to find people like Anna, Rachel, Carrie etc who are honest about how hard it can be raising a family and chasing your dreams.
Struggling doesn’t mean you are failing, a bad day doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you are normal.
So when it all gets overwhelming, take a break and be kind to yourself.
Learning how to chase your dreams while raising your family can feel like a huge mountain to climb and I know it won’t always be easy, I also know that as a new mum I don’t have all the answers but I do believe it will be worth the hard work.
Being the best version of ourselves and showing our little ones that not only is it possible to chase our dreams but that it’s also OK to fall down, struggle, get back up again, adjust your plans if you need to and keep going – what a powerful message to send them.
More than anything though, my message to you is to be kind to yourself. You are doing your best and that’s all anyone can ask.
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