Let me be clear (because I can hear the hecklers, ready to pounce)...I love being a mom.
I wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. Now, five kids later, that dream is a loud, messy, and fulfilling reality.
Growing up, my mother was supportive and available to my siblings and me (the word saint comes to mind). Yet I appreciated that she had hobbies and interests beyond us. She taught piano, and worked to make the arts accessible for all.
My mom also read us books, took us shopping at the mall, yet she didn't entertain us...she let us do that.
And we did.
We didn't have cable, so we made mixed tapes, climbed trees, put on neighborhood plays, and staged calendar shoots with our Cabbage Patch Kids and Pound Puppies. (ah yes, the weird and wonderful 80's).
My mom gave us room to be creative and inspired us with her interests too.
When I first became a mom, I struggled to find who I was in this new role. Even though I wanted everyone to think I was a pro (I wasn't), I felt lost and buried beneath burp rags and my eight-pound-darling who was as strong-willed as I was.
Eventually I began to stand on my own two feet, around the time my offspring started to stand on theirs. Yet I felt like something was still buried—a part of who I once was.
About nine years into this motherhood gig, I decided to get serious about writing and began working on a book idea. The part of me that had been absent, surfaced.
My husband noticed a change. He commented on how much happier I seemed.
And you know what? I became a better wife and mom in some ways, because I had a creative outlet that energized me.
Pursuing my dream also made room for my daughter to discover hers.
When I started writing more, Brooke started baking more; filling our bellies while feeding her own dream. She discovered she liked baking so much that she started a cooking blog and auditioned for kids' cooking shows. Now she talks about going to culinary school and studying under a pastry chef in Paris. So there's that.
Listen, between my writing deadlines and Brooke trying to perfect her macarons, it gets messy around here (literally) but even in the mess, we work to make room for the dreams of each member of this loud, passionate family.
Writing a book, while in the throes of motherhood, was not convenient or easy. But, besides energizing me, it has helped my kids see, firsthand, what perseverance looks like—giving them courage to explore their interests too.
While you might not dream of being a published author or traveling to France to sharpen your baking skills, give yourself permission to find that part of you that may be buried under burp rags and a busy schedule.
Don't be afraid to learn a new skill or resurrect a dormant dream...because I believe there is value in your child seeing you do those things. It can inspire them and make room for their own creativity; which is quite a sweet byproduct, if you ask me.