It’s funny how dreams change. For example, when I was in fifth grade, I remember wanting to be a veterinarian. That transformed into a lot of different things over the years. For a while, it was a pediatrician, then a criminal psychologist, and once it was even an FBI agent.
I dreamt of those things, but in the back of my mind, becoming a mother was the dream I wanted most. I wanted sweet little arms wrapped around my neck, and the kind of unconditional love you can only experience from having your own kids.
I wanted a daughter that would for sure be my best friend and sons who would worship their mother and always give her hugs even through their teen years. I wanted the dream: the white picket fence, a husband happy to provide for us, and nothing more in the world than to get to stay at home with my kids.
I’m extremely privileged to have those things now in their non-picture-perfect version. Because we all know that boys sometimes won’t hug their mamas, and girls sometimes roll their eyes at their moms too.
But, the truth is that motherhood flipped my world upside-down. Once I became a mom, new dreams emerged. New dreams I didn’t even know I wanted.
I began motherhood with lots of anxiety and depression. I was happy to be a mother, but it was far from what I expected it to be. In the beginning, there was a lot of crying, and it wasn’t always coming from the baby. And the anxiety disorder I probably always had was suddenly manifesting as an ugly monster. Motherhood wasn’t what I thought it would be. At all.
So, I found a way to cope. I found my voice through writing. It started with a friend suggesting I start a blog to share things about my kids. I did, and in the process, I found a passion for writing that not only was fun, but also saved me.
Writing rescued me from sadness, loneliness, and confusion. When I shared my journey and heard that others felt the same way, I felt relief. This kept me from being swallowed whole by the dark parts of motherhood that no one talked about back then.
Fast-forward 11 years, and I’ve been writing a long time. I’ve been lucky enough to find jobs freelancing, to have a blog where people can join me in laughing and crying at all that motherhood has to offer. I’ve met my best friends through writing, and I’m publishing a book soon. My dream of becoming a writer was one I never even knew I had, and I have motherhood to thank for it.
I always thought being a stay-at-home mother would be enough, but it wasn’t. Becoming a mother made me realize that there was a part of me that existed outside of motherhood that would never be satisfied until I followed my own path. My guess is that many mothers experience this. Motherhood is a transformative experience. It tests us and pushes us to realize that although motherhood might be our favorite role, it’s not our only one.
The beautiful paradox in sacrificing time with my children to pursue my dream is that I believe I’ve become a better mother by stepping away from them. Yes, I’m a mother first. Yes, I will always try to put my children’s needs first. But now they also see me achieving my dreams—accomplishments we can celebrate together.
My kids have granted me an amazing experience just by existing, but they’ve given me so much more. They’ve given me the gift of finding myself and realizing who I really want to be. And, I hope that by watching me, they’ll chase their dreams, too. Whatever those may be.