When women and men join the parents’ club their lives are hugely transformed. Decisions and activities are now made around the little ones. It is a responsibility which carries with it much fulfilment and joy. In this transition where mothers and fathers strive to be good parents and provide the best for the young ones, it is natural that a certain extent of identity loss occurs. Time flies and what you had dreamed of doing is now on pause until the kids grow up.
But is parenthood and pursuing your dreams mutually exclusive?
Chasing your dreams can inspire your kids
Being excited, motivated and doing what you love can be an inspiration to your children. How you enjoy life, manage challenges, build relationships, juggle responsibilities are opportunities to show your children how to live life. Living life purposefully and confidently sends positive messages to them as well. They are seeing how you manage your time, your interests and how you reflect self-confidence.
Furthermore, it is healthy to see yourself as an individual and your children as individuals. Some parents see their children as extrapolations of themselves. Brad Bushman, a communications and psychology professor, found that parents who had a lot of regret surrounding their own unfulfilled ambitions tend to live through their children. As a result, they may be more likely to want their children to follow the same dreams they once had.
Following your dreams
Pursuits in life do not have to fade when parenthood arrives. There are many facets of you, all of which are important and make you who you are. Why not live your life radiantly, not through your children, but with them?
Here are 6 ways how you can start living your dream.
- Fight the guilt
Guilt is the silent epidemic which most parents deal with. You feel guilty if you take time for yourself when it could be quality time with the kids. When time is so precious, it is hard to escape the feeling of guilt when you choose to intentionally block time doing something for yourself. Focusing on yourself does not mean you are not family-centric. It is all about balance.
- Unravel the myth of busyness
You are busy, but so is everyone. How is it that some people can achieve their dreams, or work enthusiastically at something they love? They carve out time to do what they do. Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again”.
- Start with baby steps
Choose something you would like to do and work towards that goal. Plan time for yourself to do that each week. If you are interested in music or would like to acquire a new skill, go for it. Read up, attend a concert, go to that workshop. Have you lost touch with your much-missed friends as you always had no time to meet up? Schedule that tea session for a start.
- Be creative
Doing something for yourself does not have to always be exclusive from parenting. It does not have to happen when you are “out of the house”. How can you slot things in or do things together?
- Rally all the support you need
Extended family, trusted friends, your spouse can be supportive resources that give you small slots of space to do what you need to do. It is all about balance and partnership.
- Love yourself
Just as parents teach children how they are of value and are unique, the same advice counts for ourselves. There are talents you have and the skills you can contribute to the world.
Those dreams you aspire to achieve may have to be juggled or adjusted to fit with your current family commitments. Sometimes they may take a backseat but they do not have to wait till the kids are all grown up. Chasing your dreams may inspire your young ones to have the confidence and courage to pursue after their own dreams as well. The ship has not sailed yet. It is never too late to dream on!
By Som Yew Ya.
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