Oh, now come on. If you have ever read my stuff before, you know I just love a juicy title. I freely admit to using that one to grab your attention. But, you clicked, and here we are… so let me explain. First of all, I adore my girls ages 11 and 1. Yes, baby girl was quite a surprise and I was shocked for a majority of my pregnancy, but I wouldn’t change a single thing now. I’ve always thought it was such a cruel joke that there are so many couples who try everything to have a baby to no avail, while some of us use every method of birth control available and still end up pregnant. It is completely unfair. So I never take for granted the blessings that are my healthy, beautiful girls.
Why the crazy title then? I’ve been doing a little soul searching as of late and have been thinking a lot about my dreams and goals. Where they started, how they have changed, and where they are now. They are certainly different than when I was in college and a lot of things have factored into that change. But one of the biggest reasons some of those dreams were “squashed” is that I became a mother. My children have squashed some of my older dreams… and in place brand new, exciting dreams have evolved.
Here are the 5 Ways MY Kids Have Squashed My Dreams (and I am so glad they did)
5) You forget how to sleep
Let’s be real. Parenthood can be exhausting. No matter what phase we are in, we always seem to lose sleep. Babies cry and need to be fed, and teenagers? Who isn’t losing a little bit of shut-eye due to worry these days? That sleep deprivation can make us forget things like how to form a coherent sentence, or all those dreams we had when we were well-rested.
But… that sleep deprivation also makes you take a critical look at what is actually on your plate, and you prioritize. Sometimes when we have thousands of dreams floating around in our head… we can’t grab ahold of any of them. Having one or two to focus on becomes more manageable. We actually have a shot at making those come true.
4) They make you humble
There is something about parenthood that humbles you. Perhaps it’s cleaning up after the stomach flu at 3 am, or having a baby fling yogurt at your face, or catching the eye roll of a teenager who seriously might just die if you dare to embarrass her with your presence one more time. But just when you are thinking you are hot stuff… just when you think Shakira will be next to you at a stop light, hear you singing and beg you to be on her team… your 5 year old tells everyone in the public bathroom that you stink worse than Daddy. One serving of humble pie, please.
But… when we are humble we are reminded that pursuing our dreams has nothing to do with luck, or how cool we are… but how much work and passion we put into them.
3) They steal your heart
No matter what they do, we do adore our kids. Nothing is better than a full-belly laugh from a toddler or that moment when a pre-teen actually grabs your hand as you walk through the mall. It almost makes you forget how one of them pooped on you and the other one threw all their clean laundry back into the dirty clothes basket earlier that day.
But… being able to love our kids unconditionally also allows us to love ourselves that way. And when pursuing dreams, you better be able to do that… even when you fall flat on your face.
2) They make you a little nuts
How many times can a grown adult sing the theme song to Mickey Mouse Playhouse without requiring a psychiatric evaluation? Don’t ask me… I lost my marbles somewhere around 37, and the details are fuzzy. And just forget all thoughts of sanity when your child hits middle school. The mood swings alone will make you totally understand why some animals eat their young.
But… let’s face it. Sometimes dreams require a little bit of crazy. Especially when, say, you have another kid after you thought you were all done and all of a sudden your dream is to be in best shape of your life when you turn 40 just so you can keep up with all the 25 year old Moms on the preschool field trip. I took my first CrossFit class tonight, and I promise you one thing: I could not have even stepped foot in that gym without a little bit of crazy. It’s definitely gonna take some insanity to go back and do it again.
1) Your priorities change
When I was in college I was a theatre and music major. There was a time when I had zero desire to get married and have a family. No, I was gonna go starve on someone’s couch while I waited for my big break in New York. Then this handsome Marine walked into a bar… and somehow that couch didn’t seem appealing anymore. Fast forward to becoming a Mom for the first time. All of a sudden I wanted nothing more than to live in a small town and stay home with my little girl.
But... that doesn’t mean I gave up on my dream. No, I don’t desire to move to New York anymore… but I still have my own personal performance goals because singing centers me, brings me peace, and makes me a better human being. Most days I just choose to trade the bright lights of the stage and applause from the crowd for an audience who just happens to love every single thing I ever sing. Even if one of them won’t admit it in public anymore and the other one falls fast asleep.
Dreams are not always constant…they will most likely change in big and small ways throughout our lives. But change moves us forward. And when the reason for that change comes in the form of tiny hands who hold on tight to ours while they find their own star to wish upon… there truly is no sweeter dream to fulfill.
So thank you, girls… for squashing some of the dreams I had in my well-rested, perfectly sane, ego-driven younger years. I only hope you have the chance to dream big, change your mind a million times, and still find the same kind of happiness I have discovered as your Mom.