A week ago, someone told me, “You can’t live your dream because you’re only a Mom.” My initial reaction was anger, then fury, then feeling peeved. After calming down, I realized that statement could be taken positively or negatively. It really depends on what your perspective is but for sure your reaction would depend on how the statement was delivered. In my case, it was the middle of a heated discussion and the other person was putting me down. I was deeply offended and wanted to lash out at him. All the witty comebacks I should have said came 24 hours after our conversation (don’t you hate it when that happens?!). I’m just glad I didn’t stick a fork in his eye.
It was superbly irritating, but frankly I thank him now for saying that. It just solidified my dream of being a mother. I thank him for saying that statement with such disdain, because it further crystallized my priorities. I dream big dreams for myself. But for now, I dream bigger dreams for my son. I know I will fulfill my own dreams someday, but for now, my son is number one.
Being a Mom does not mean I’ve lost sight of my personal dreams. I’ve parked them. They’re in the backburner. I will take them out when the time is right. I will live them and I will live them LARGE. For now, I choose to temper those dreams because I have another dream: to raise my son as hands-on as I can, while I can. I have other dreams: To be a career woman again. To travel. To establish a business. To publish a book. I have many, many, many more. Don’t put me down just because I’m not living those dreams today. Besides, who says I’m not paving the way for those dreams right now? I’m taking little steps towards achieving those dreams. You just don’t see it because I’m actualizing the biggest dream I have: to be that Mom who doesn’t miss on toddler milestones. This is MY dream. Don’t judge me or other mothers by the number of their dreams unfulfilled.
“You can’t live your dream because you’re only a Mom.” I’m convincing myself that it came from concern, but it was delivered with such vehemence that I felt so offended. DUDE. Why don’t you take care of an active toddler the whole day, burn the midnight oil till dawn arrives trying to augment your family’s income, catch an hour of sleep then live the day again? I’m sure you’ll fold. It looks a little crazy but I LOVE this life I’m living. I’m cherishing it for as long as I can because soon my son will go to school. Soon, he’ll be a teenager and won’t want to spend time with me. Soon, he won’t need me and I’ll have so much free time for myself I can actualize my other dreams. It’s called prioritizing. It’s called focus.
I have a lot of dreams, but the most important one is the dream I dreamed since I was a kid: To be a Mom. Being a mother means putting your kids’ needs before yourself. Being a mother entails sacrifice. Being a great mother means empowering your kids while not losing sight of how you can empower yourself. I think I’m doing a pretty good job at that. But I do need the support of good friends for being a mother is tough, very tough. Mothers source their strength not just from their little ones, but from the genuine support of good friends and family.
“You can’t live your dream because you’re only a Mom.” Is motherhood a barrier to my personal dreams? On a certain plane, it could look like motherhood holds women back from fulfilling their own dreams. That is if you want to look at it that way, if you choose to see it that way. I don’t see it that way. True, I’ve passed on socials because there’s nobody else to babysit my son. I’ve passed on work opportunities because it doesn’t fit my work-at-home lifestyle. When you become a mother, you learn how to say “yes” and “no” to certain events, certain socials, certain opportunities. One could interpret this as giving up, thus feeling defeated. Don’t. You’re worth more than that. Hold on to those dreams because who knows, they just might come true. Most times, you’ll have to adjust your sails because of changing opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you should stop being a dreamer. Have faith in yourself.
I’ve fallen off my horse a lot of times. I’ve sunk into a depression because the day-to-day gets overwhelming that it seems to squash all dreams. It’s nothing a good cry, a change in perspective and a warm hug from my husband couldn’t fix though. Today, I see my motherhood as the dream of all my dreams. All other elements in my life will have to adjust because this is the dream I dream. Don’t put me and my dreams down because I’m “only a Mom.”
I am a Mom. But I’m also not just a Mom – I am a woman with dreams, motherhood being the star of it all. I am proud to be where I am. I am proud of where I am going. Motherhood isn’t stopping me from fulfilling all the other dreams I have. Those dreams seem dormant, but they are silently taking shape. Let me surprise you someday. Motherhood is my enabler. Motherhood is fuel for all my dreams coming true.
Me and my toddler taking a leisurely stroll on a weekday morning. Dream come true!
1. This isn’t the same friend who told me “You don’t do much all day, do you?” when he learned I was a stay-at-home Mom. Hmm. Maybe I should assess who I’m hanging out with.
2. I want to hear from you. How was motherhood held you back or propelled you towards realizing your dreams?