Some may say I did things a little backwards. I was married as a senior in college and was pregnant the day I graduated.
Neither of those enormous life events were on my timeline. But if I’m honest I didn’t really have a timeline either. God did that planning for me and I am certain that His plan was for my good and His glory.
I had dreams and goals that I willingly put aside for awhile. At the time I could only see what was right in front of me and that turned into baby after baby after baby after baby. Literally. If I had had a woman in my life just a few steps ahead of me I am sure she would have said, this season will be fleeting. Enjoy it. There will be time for dreams and goals soon, just not yet.
My husband, my children and my ministry were my priority. And they still are. And I pray that with God’s grace they will forever be. But as the babies grew into toddlers and into sweet little children with a teeny bit of independence I entered a new season. A season with a teeny bit more freedom and a teeny bit more time to dream and set goals.
So, I thought it would be fun to share with you a few simple tips that allow me to dream big dreams and set attainable goals while being a mama first.
- Fully embrace the season you are in. As a mama for almost 8 years now I can tell you with complete certainty that though it may not feel like it right now, this season is indeed fleeting. So embrace the one you are in. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Pray for the grace to fully dive in right where you are and the conviction to not wish it away for the hopes of something better. “Where ever you are be all there.” -Jim Elliot
- Write it down. We are our worst critic as mothers. We feel guilty for ever wanting anything besides the call of motherhood. In the moments where you find yourself dreaming and planning, pull out a trusty journal and write down all those big ideas. Fight the guilt and the urge to suppress those dreams and get it down on paper. The beauty in getting the dream out of your head is that you are actually giving yourself the freedom to dream. If you continually deny yourself that freedom, bitterness will creep into strange places of your heart allowing you to start causing you to question (and even resent!) the glorious call of motherhood.
- Communicate. Dream big dreams but do it with your spouse. Communicating those dreams with your husband will be the best way to ensure that you are on the same page which is so important as you set out to pursue anything. Dreams can quickly become divisive if not treaded carefully and in unity. He will keep you grounded in truth and objective wisdom.
- Pray. Pray over these things that God has set in your heart; for His wisdom, discernment, direction and leading. Ask your husband to pray with you and for you too. Having my husband invested in me that way is one of the sweetest ways he shows me love.
- Plan. At the end of each year I make a giant list of things I want to accomplish the next year, both within our family and in my work. I set end dates for those things and then I work backwards setting small attainable goals throughout the year to accomplish those big giant goals. Planning in such a way gives you the freedom to pursue those dreams a little at a time creating joy in your work and eliminating a good majority of the stress.
- Plan With Your Husband. My husband and I sit down with our calendars the week between Christmas and New Year and make a tentative plan for the next year. We set dates for family vacation and time away for the two of us. We set our family calendar first because family comes first. Then, we add in extra things like conferences and speaking engagements and any other thing we may want to do that coming year. Obviously that calendar gets edited throughout the year but spending the time to actually plan together is so important as we discuss and have potentially hard conversations about what we are going to pursue that coming year and what we are going to choose to let go of.
- Work Boundaries. Set strong work hours that are non-negotiable. And set those work hours around your spouse and children’s schedule. If they truly are you first priority then your calendar will reflect that. I have set office hours that I communicate to my clients on the front end. That work time is done apart from my children because I have decided that I am not great at doing two things at once and trying to mother while trying to focus on work left me resenting one or both roles. If there is a time that calls for extra work, I get up early or work during nap time.
While I am not perfect and there are definitely moments where my dreams and goals and pursuit of my work take precedent over the family, having an overarching ideal in mind that I am striving for, a picture that helps me stay focused on the way I do want my life to function, helps tremendously.
I would love to hear from you! How do you pursue dreams and goals and work that you feel called to while keeping your husband and children first?