We visit Puerto Rico pretty frequently, and always use the opportunity to visit our usual places on the island whenever I’m not too busy with work. However, this time something very interesting happened. I had a short lull at work late last week, which turned into an eventful, impromptu trip to my favorite beach on the West Coast. That was the day I was moved to share my ideas on how to do what you love, even if you have kids.
On this specific afternoon, I wasn’t too stressed about work and the kids were having a blast; we weren’t plugged into the TV or phones, and we weren’t waiting to get home to watch anything. Thus, I found myself in an unusual state of relaxation while I watched my husband surf. Then, hell froze over and I decided to get into the water… to try to learn to surf. Mind you, I am morbidly terrified of drowning, but – according to my husband – after a few attempts, I was looking pretty decent on the surfboard, and rode six (minuscule) waves… from like 10 feet out… laying down on the board. Whatever, progress is progress. Didn’t go pro that afternoon or anything, but I felt like a champ.
I was so pumped (and probably inebriated with saltwater), that I asked my husband if he wanted me to get us a house in front of the beach, asked him to take me hiking every weekend with the kids and start going paddleboarding in Downtown Austin. Who was this person? Since when was I interested in… anything? I typically have my face glued to the front of my computer, I’m on the phone with clients, or doing stuff with the #NoniTribe. It dawned on me that I wasn’t really doing anything that would make for an awesome story (… and if you know me personally, you know I. AM. A. TALKER). I need that kind of excitement.
Then reality set in; When the heck am I going to do all this? The answer seemed logical enough: at my own pace, on our family’s terms, whenever I was out of my work time and my kids would allow. At this moment, this little nugget of wisdom became actual words. There is a way to have kids and still do what you love, my friend. To say ‘when I’m off from work, and I’m detached from kids, and with patience’ sound like an impossible feat, but it really is NOT. We are so quick to make excuses for not trying new things or fulfilling secret passions, that we forget that by making super simple adjustments, excuses vanish. For example, why aren’t working out those calves when you’re doing the dishes? Why don’t you swap out 30-60 minutes of screen time every day and learn a new language? But most of all, why not do these things ‘WITH’ our kids, and stop saying ‘IN SPITE’ of our kids?
Easier said than done, but it’s possible to do what you love if you organize your time, commit to an objective and (for the sake of variety) include your kids. The results will surprise you. When I workout at home, my kids (2 and 6 years old) join in. When I make puzzles, my two kids want to be a part of it (albeit a sometimes destructive part). When I paint, my kids sit and watch. When I horribly attempt to play my cello, my kids deepen their interest in music. We homeschool; there’s no escaping them. When my husband plays music, cooks, reads, my kids imitate without fail. Why would I ever stop? In short, my kids are NOT an obstacle to personal fulfillment.
Sure, they are incredibly needy, exhausting balls of cuteness, but they can be tamed. Besides, it’s a hell of a lot harder to find a sitter, so just try to do it with them, instead of not doing it at all. With that said, I must add that I’m not a fan of the ‘Mom Merit Badge’ a lot of women wanna wear on social media, mainly because embracing mommyhood is all well and good, but it’s not like kids are hurdles that other people impose on us. Meanwhile, “having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist.” Rather, whenever I see men and women fulfill their personal and professional goals in celebration and inclusion of their kids and/or spouses, it makes me want to be friends with that person. Moreover, to anyone who thinks and preaches that kids ruin lives… well, no one likes a whiner. The most rewarding and beautiful experience for parents is to put in the work, do the best you can, fulfill yourself and embrace your kids. That’s the kind of parenting we all wanna see, #winparenting.
In a broader sense, we can all build great habits and hone incredible talents with enough focus (and the patience that small children require if that’s the case). As for me, since our TV died, I won’t need to catch up on any more series on Netflix, so I’m pretty confident that my new cello will get a lot of play time these coming evenings. You should try it too. Forget about the need for fancy equipment, lack of money, subscriptions, formal training and all the excuses you’ve already formed in your mind, as well as your kids…well, being kids.
Really, what’s stopping you? Do what you love, kick some butt and tell us how it went.