5 Tips For Parents Who Desperately Want To Follow Their Dreams
Having a kid is hard work — a really hard work.
It’s probably the hardest thing my wife and I have ever done.
It’s not talked about much. We’re supposed to enjoy having kids, 100% of the time. If we don’t, then we’re bad parents. We’re supposed to entertain them, teach them everything we know, and invest massive amounts of time and energy into them.
Having our own dreams? Our own ambitions? Our own desires?
Save it for when you’re retired.
At least, that’s what we’re told.
But one year ago, my wife and I flipped that advice the finger, sold our house, and moved overseas. We’d never traveled outside of the U.S. before then, not for very long, anyway. We even took our 1-year-old with us.
Now, we’ve been to 13 different countries in the last 13 months. It’s been wild. It’s been crazy and it’s been awesome. We’re living our dream.
If you want to start pursuing your dream life, then here are some of the most awesome tips you’ll ever come across with.
Write down what you really want
The first step to pursuing your dream life as a parent is to accept that it’s okay to have dreams. For most people, something happens when they have kids.
They start believing that their kid’s wants and desires must always come first. They believe that their kids take priority, that their own dreams and ambitions must always be secondary or even irrelevant.
And while I believe it’s true that we must, as parents, pay close attention to and nurture our children’s desires and natural inclinations, we must also continue to pursue our own dreams and talents.
Your passions don’t leave you when you have a kid. You don’t stop wanting to make an impact on the world, make lots of money or be wildly successful. And that’s okay. You’re supposed to have your own dreams.
So, take a few minutes to write down what you want on a post-it note. Then, stick that somewhere you’ll see it every day. It can be really simple as “I want to travel the world” or “I want to make a million dollars” or “I want to build a business.”
That’s your starting place.
Keep in mind that having a dream makes you a better parent
Let’s hit on this one more time.
Your kids are important. They are precious, valuable, and probably the most important people in your entire life. But that does not disqualify your own wants and desires.
In fact, I believe that pursuing your own passions will make you a better parent, not a worse parent. It will show your kids what it’s like to follow their dreams. It will inspire them to do the same and it will give you a sense of meaning and purpose other than raising your children. That’s important because you wouldn’t want to be a helicopter parent that unintentionally hurts your long-term relationship with your kids.
Have a dream, purpose or passion — something to pursue — something that will make you the best parent that you can possibly be.
Find the workaround
Without kids, there are a million excuses to not follow your dreams. With kids, there are a billion. You don’t want to stop bonding with them and you don’t want to slow their development. You don’t want to make them feel like they’re less important to you than anything else.
But there’s always a workaround — a way to follow your dreams and be a parent.
Could you wake up before your kid wakes up to work on building that business? Could you pay for a half-day of daycare to spend time writing that book? Or could you start applying for remote jobs so that you can travel more?
You’ll have to compromise a bit, no doubt about it. But don’t use your kids as an excuse to not pursue your dreams. There’s always a way.
Value your dreams
Some people’s dream is to be a parent and that’s perfectly fine.However, they must only ensure that they’re not depending on their kids for their own emotional well-being.
But if you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume that you have dreams other than being a parent, that you were put on this earth to be more than just a mother or a father.
So, remember that you are not your kids. You are separate from them. They will have dreams and passions, but their desires are no more important than your desires. Don’t be ashamed to value and pursue your dreams with wild abandon.
At some point, there’s no advice to give other than “do it”. Start pursuing your dream life, follow your passion, and take that first step.
No one is going to do it for you. There’s always a workaround. Our brains are about 30 times more powerful than the most effective super computer. And as the mantra goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Think about the most reasonable way that you can follow your dreams and be an attentive parent. Ask yourself the question, “How could I start following this dream and still be a great parent?”
You’ll get tons of different answers.
Could you start waking up earlier? Go to bed later? Find a different job?
Could you make money from home? Or stop eating out to save up money?
There are a million different ways to start pursuing your dream life — with or without kids. Most parents, though, use their kids as an excuse to stop pursuing their own passion. They pretend that they can’t because they have kids now.
But you’re not going to do that. You’re going to be one of those crazy parents that love their kids and follow their dreams.
It’s going to be awesome.