Too many mums are afraid to pursue things they’re passionate about because they don’t have time (or energy!). Read why one busy mum finds that following her passion actually energises her.
Charlie Wilson is a busy woman. Mum of two, freelance writer and aspiring novelist on the side. And she loves all three of those roles. In fact, she explains why pursuing the things you love in life can give you more energy, not less.
Why we all need passion
According to the world record books, the largest number of objects a juggler has managed to keep in the air at once is 13. Pah. A working mum easily juggles 20, 50, 100 roles and responsibilities and jobs at a time.
Take a ten-minute slice of my supposed-to-be-lunch-hour today:
- I emailed a client.
- Blew on my toddler’s food to cool it.
- Read a communication from my son’s school (telling me to expect a communication from my son’s school).
- Wiped down the kitchen surfaces.
- Scanned three more email accounts.
- Spoon-fed my daughter yoghurt while singing ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
- Called the dentist for an appointment.
- Looked up an obscure point of grammar.
- Re-homed an assortment of plastic dinosaurs in a drawer.
- Put a wash on.
- Instructed my accounts guy to prep an invoice.
- Pondered the right amount to quote a returning client.
- Oh, and I ate lunch. I assume. I don’t actually recall that bit.
Life’s pretty hectic, and there’s not a great deal I can do about that. Two kids, a house to run and a busy business don’t make for a gentle, drifting-through-the-day kind of existence.
So why, when I’m already run ragged and can’t remember the last time I didn’t jump out of bed in the morning mentally chanting go, go, go!, would I dream of adding another venture into the mix? It comes down to a single word: passion.
Probing your passions
Of course, working mums are passionate about our kids. And we’re passionate about the careers we’re building. Passion is what gets us through the days (that and a frequent hit of caffeine). But ask yourself this: is there another passion burning inside that you’re not fulfilling?
Perhaps you dream of running a marathon. Perhaps you want to master the art of cake decorating. Perhaps you’re very passionate about gardening. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to paint. You have a sense that such a pursuit would make you happy. Would fulfil you.
But there’s no time for such passions, right? And dedicating precious time and energy to them is just a waste. Selfish, even. Your work needs you. Your kids need you. Your partner. The teetering pile of washing-up in the sink. True. But what about what you need?
Delving into denial
Stress, frustration, exhaustion – common issues for working mums. So, naturally, the thought of pursuing a personal passion on top of all your other commitments doesn’t automatically appeal.
After all, following any passion takes hard work and faith and time. You may worry that it would be a waste – that your venture would ‘fail’. You may worry that to follow that passion would be to the detriment of other passions: your kids, your job, your relationship.
But what happens when you keep denying the passion, keep ignoring your own need for personal fulfilment? Stress, frustration, exhaustion. A vicious circle ensues.
I used to be locked into that circle. I have a thriving business I’m passionate about. I have a great and very busy family life I’m really passionate about. And yet, for several years I was haunted by another passion that just wouldn’t be quelled: I wanted to write a novel. Many novels, in fact.
A ridiculous idea, surely. The hours it would take – the energy! All the while not ticking the Mum box and not ticking the Work box. Tut.
And yet it became clear to me, when I allowed myself an hour to sketch out a first chapter, that writing ticked that woefully neglected Me box. A huge tick, joyously streaked across the page.
Daring to explore
Here’s a thought: even though you don’t have the time, even though you don’t have the energy, even though you’re plagued by guilt, even though self-doubt tugs at you – follow your passion anyway.
Because you may just find that your new passion makes those other balls in the air a pleasure to juggle. You may just inspire those around you, who’ll champion your endeavour. You may just look in the mirror and see a new gleam in your eyes.
The other day my son, aged six, told me that when he grows up he wants to run a zoo, but that on the side he’ll also be an artist (specialising in felt-tip dino drawings, it seems). ‘I can do both things, Mummy, can’t I?’ he asked me. ‘Like you do your job and you do your writing.’
‘Yes,’ I told him. ‘You absolutely can do both. And you should, if that’s what will make you happy.’
Need help to follow your passion (AND earn money from it)? Download our free checklist to making money from your passion.
Charlie Wilson is a writer and author. You can learn more about her and her writing on her website.Hannah Martin