Last Friday and Saturday, my husband and I attended a marriage conference through our church. The guest speakers were Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. To be completely honest, we were excited about the conference but we were more excited because my parents got us a babysitter to make sure we could attend. When leading up to the weekend, I kept thinking about all the things we needed to do around our house or all of the things we could be doing as a family as opposed to being at the marriage conference. Knowing my parents had already booked the babysitter, I reluctantly showed up Friday night and I am so glad I did.
We were sitting in the audience Friday night listening to the Smalley’s when they started to talk about dreaming together. They asked us to pause and turn to our partner and tell them what was on our bucket list. As I turned to Ben, my mind went blank. I told Ben to go first to give me a second to think. He told me his bucket list and then asked me mine. I sat there drawing a blank. Had my mind turned to mush from having two small children, or had I truly forgotten the dreams I once had for myself? I could sit and name “administrative dreams” such as save for our children to go to college or pay off our house early, but I legitimately could not think of dreams I had for myself. Not my dreams for my family or my children, but for me. After staring at Ben and drawing a blank, I could begin to see the disappointment in his eyes. Usually “dreaming together” has been one of my favorite parts about marriage. Dreaming for myself had also always been a huge part of who I am. Somehow in the hustle and bustle of life and giving my all to my famil,y I realized I had lost a part of me and I wondered, “can I still have dreams for me?”
We got in the car and began to make our way to my parents to pick up my son. As soon as we got in the car, my husband turned to me and asked if I could really not think of things I wanted for myself. I could tell he was really sad for me. He had told me wonderful things on his bucket list such as write a book and learn another language. How has he maintained his dreams and somehow I had become a shell of my old self? There was a part of me that felt like in I was so overwhelmed dreaming of what I wanted for my children and my husband that I did not have the right to dream for myself.
We went on with the conference and learned some wonderfully practical things for our marriage. The only thing that was still lurking in my mind was, “what are my dreams for ME?” After going through stupid questions like, “can I still have aspirations for myself outside of being a good mom?” Or even “what am I even good at anymore?” I sadly know they are the insecurities I have grown to feel as I have devoted myself to being a stay at home mom. When I worked I had something that was mine, something that I was good at.
Before becoming a mom I worked at a University in Nashville. In both of my positions there my main job was to work with people – whether that was helping them figure out their financial aid or working in the President’s Office. I love to communicate, solve problems and help people and I knew I was good at it. I recognize that raising my children is the hardest work I will ever do and let me say I love my job, but somewhere in the day to day I have let my own self doubt creep in and it has left me forgetting my passions.
Over the past few days since returning to “mom life,” I have tried to carve out time each day to remember who I am and what I am passionate about. I am trying to make time to stay sharpe and stay passionate about things I like. While rocking a baby, I downloaded the book Former People by Douglas Smith. Former People is a book about the fall of the Russian aristocracy durning the Bolshevik Revolution. In my former life I liked history (lol). While I should be finishing my latest parenting book, something about reading something that truly interest me made me feel sharp. I have also began praying that God would help me to become more confident in him. He is revealing in various ways that becoming more confident in Him will allow be to be a better parent and wife.
In a effort to be transparent and to do my own “homework,” I decided to come up with a list of 5 things to start my bucket list! So here they are…
1. Learn French
2. Take a trip to the Holy land.
3. Learn to successfully ballroom dance.
4. Run a race. (I am not a runner, but always wished I was. Surely I could do a half marathon or at least a 5k one day!)
5. Live in a foreign country. (I have always thought it would be cool to live abroad for a large or small amount of time. If not in our “young life,” maybe in retirement.)
Well there you have it! A start to my bucket list. So the answer to my opening question, “can moms have dreams too?” I am learning we absolutely can. I know raising my children and being a good wife is the best thing I can do in this life, but I can never be successful at those if I do not tend to myself first.
So, I raise my half drank coffee cup to remembering who I am and the ways He has gifted me and the ways he has gifted you!
Do my homework with me and list 5 things on your bucket list with the hashtag #momscandreamtoo