Do you make good choices or do you make excuses? Most days I think I make good choices. I choose to be kind. I choose to let things go. I choose to take care of my home and my family, and my future writing, speaking and blogging career. These things make me happy, and when I focus on them, life seems to have a way of working out.
How bad do you want it?
Lately I’ve been thinking about this quote. I love quotes and usually find them inspirational and uplifting. Recently, I’ve begun to take issue with this one. I used to think it was an indictment of people like me who choose to stay at home while raising my children rather than balance that with a career. If you think I have a problem with women who work while raising children, think again. In my book, Everyday Heroes of Motherhood, I talk about ending the mommy wars, and I deeply admire several women who choose to live their truth and mother how it best suits them and their family. As one wise mom once said, children thrive best when their mom is happy with her life. I agree with that wholeheartedly, and it’s why I chose the life I have.
In support of all moms
Part of the reason I made the choice to stay home is because I would suck at being a full time working mom. We’ve thrived as a busy family because I can focus on family; split loyalties are debilitating for me. Even the few part time jobs I had, other than sports officiating with my husband, never seemed worth the time away from my family. Add to that, ADHD on my part and my son’s, life threatening medical conditions that require regular doctor and hospital visits, and my personal abilities would stretch beyond what I could handle with a job. Other women thrive because they have full or part time work to balance their lives. Some also work because they have to, and I’ve been there too, but as soon as I could, I stepped away from outside work and focused again on my family.
The Sacrifices of our Choices
Sometimes I wondered if the reasons I listed were excuses, but I can honestly say that my worst days at home never made me wish I had a full time or part time job. While working, though, I often thought about being home with the ones I love. Was I lucky to be able to stay home? In some regards, yes, but we also live a different life than most to provide for our family. I’ve shared before we drive cars until they die, I shop thrift stores and discount stores, use coupons and shop sales. Our children go to state universities, but my oldest graduated with no loan debt and my second is will do the same. Those choices help me to stay home. I understand not everyone has or wants that opportunity, and I acknowledge our family makes sacrifices for mine. For that I will always be grateful.
The Advantages of our Choices
In addition to sacrifices, my family also has advantages. I’m there for them when they come home from school and activities. They eat home cooked food most evenings for dinner. The house is mostly picked up, and the laundry is mostly caught up. Mom is happy. Dad is happy, and occasionally there are homemade treats, partly because mom loves to bake, partly because it’s more cost effective and usually healthier to bake than buy from the store. Please understand I don’t care if other women eat every meal out and only buy store made goodies. I don’t care if their homes are messy and the laundry is piled up, unless that makes them miserable in which case I would love to help them conquer that. We make these choices because they make our home a wonderful place to be, and we’re happy.
Hobby to Career
Seven years ago I started blogging because I prefer nonfiction to fiction. I tried writing for a digital newspaper but I left journalism years ago and remembered quickly why. Blogging allowed me to write about interesting subjects with a genuine and authentic voice. It’s been a lovely hobby, but now, as my daily parenting journey is ending, I want more. I want a career, so I choose to invest in learning about technology and professional blogging. I choose to go to a blogging conference later this month, and I am scared. Blogging as a career option is foreign to this mom who’s been out of the work force for over twenty years. Fear makes choosing more difficult, but not trying because I’m afraid is the worst excuse of all. I don’t know if I’m ready or if my family is, but I owe it to all of us to try.
Following your Dreams
I believe in following your dreams, and I’ve taught my children to do that. Each has a dream that they are following and are learning that those dreams often change as we move through the world. I’ve learned the same thing. My dream originally was to have two children, return to work when the youngest was five and live the American Dream life. My reality is that I have three children, one with extra needs, and no desire to return to the “regular” work force if I can help it. For now that’s a choice I make, and my family, especially my husband, support it, so I can follow my dream.
Your dreams and choices
If you have a dream, are you following it? Are you making choices or excuses? Only you can answer that and most people know which they’re doing. One of the greatest things I learned in life was to replace the phrases “I have to”, “I should”, “I need to” and “I ought to” with the phrase “I choose to”. I learned everything is a choice, including making excuses. The difference between reasons and excuses is in how we live every day. I choose to commit to my family because my dream was to give them my best until they leave my home. That means being present physically as well as mentally and emotionally to do my noble and sacred work and I’m ok with that choice. The rest will wait. Make the right choice for you and whoever you love because that is how you make dreams come true.
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