The third session of the Crafting my Life Online Class is now underway – but it’s not too late to register. Sign up before February 7 for a chance to get in on all the life-crafting fun. This is your last chance – I don’t have plans to run the class again. I will be doing lots of other cool things, though. If you want to be the first to hear about those, and be eligible for special discounts and other perks, subscribe to my mail list.
When I lost my job in 2009, I had an eight-month-old infant. I had this idea that I could spend six or nine months figuring out the next chapter of my life, and then I could set about implementing it. It was going to be great. I’d use my lay-off as a sign to really ask myself the big questions, and I’d build a life that was more in line with my personal values and passions. It was going to be awesome. I was going to take the world by storm. It’s almost like I forgot that I had an eight-month-old infant.
Babies: Cute, but not Always Helpful
Here’s the thing about babies: they’re super-cute, but they’re also rather a lot of work. That eight-month-old infant started crawling. The he started climbing. Pretty soon he was walking, and running, and jumping. After a while, he wasn’t so much a baby as an active toddler who did things like flush toys down the toilet and jump out of our living room window. He stopped napping altogether, and he made liberal use of the word “no”. Most of the time I didn’t have much energy left for much of anything. It probably goes without saying that the world wasn’t taken by storm.
Small children are cute, but not necessarily a big help when it comes to pursuing your dreams
This Too Shall Pass
There’s good news about babies, though. They keep right on growing. Eventually, they stop being toddlers and start being preschoolers and kindergartners and even teenagers. Whatever you’re dealing with from your kids at the moment is temporary. It will pass. Until it does, you have three choices:
- Adjust your expectations … and your timeline.
- Find childcare, or get some kind of help, so that your kid isn’t jumping out the window while you’re working.
- Experience a lot of frustration because everything feels much harder than it should be.
My other toddler also got into things when I wasn’t looking
Achieving Your Dreams and Living a Life of Purpose … in Time
There’s no right answer here. There is, however, a wrong answer and that’s number three. You’re not going to be able to work at maximum efficiency when you’re also taking care of a small child at the same time. Expecting yourself to is only going to lead to unhappiness. So cut yourself some slack, and don’t beat yourself up if you’re not churning out work at a superhuman pace. Your kid will get older, and it will get easier. Until then, there’s no expiration date on your dreams.
I talk to lots of moms with toddlers who feel a little bit aimless and adrift. I understand where they’re coming from, because I felt a little bit aimless and adrift when I had a toddler. It’s hard to be purposeful when you have to watch a little person like a hawk to prevent injury and make sure that you don’t end up with poop on your floor. Or poop on your kitchen counter (and yes, that one literally happened to me). All of your mental energy is absorbed. The important thing to know is that this feeling of being a little bit scattered is not a personal failing. It’s a byproduct of the stage your child is at. When you know that, it’s a little bit easier to give yourself a break.
Parenting is the most important job there is. I believe that strongly. However, it’s not always the most personally fulfilling job (see: poop on kitchen counter). This is why giving yourself the space to dream is important. Just don’t let those dreams become burdens, because you feel you need to do them right this minute or else. You don’t. They’ll be there waiting for you, whenever you’re ready to follow them.