My passion project: Reclaiming my power so I can be here for everyone else

passion and success quote from Walter CronkiteThe NaBloPoMo prompt for today is: Are you pursuing a passion project?

It is funny that this prompt comes today. Since last week I have been mulling over a blog post about how women set personal and professional goals and prioritize life so they can be better to themselves, their children, spouses, and what have you. I am my passion project. I am reclaiming my power so I can be better all-around.

Have you ever been in a really dark place but didn’t know it until you came out of it? That’s how I feel about my whole life. Nothing bad has really happened, in the scheme of all that could happen. But life HAS happened, and somewhere, I think a VERY long time ago, I lost myself. My mother would say that sometime in the tween/pre-puberty years, I lost my power.

And so I’m trying to take the power back by taking the time to pursue my professional goals, which to be honest are also my personal goals. After having my kids and being home with them it has become obvious that I wanted, no NEEDED to have a career. I HAVE to be successful at something outside of raising my family. I need that validation that comes from having a successful career. I need to use my brain or I go to very deep, dark places. Also, someday both of the kids will be in school, and I don’t want to be a droid working in an office. I need to keep myself fresh so I can take off when they do.

But for a while I didn’t know what to do for a career. I knew I needed to do something that I could do mostly from home. We need the income, but the cost of going to work is outrageous. Plus I still want to be home with my kids. I still want to be here after school, and have the flexibility when they are sick, or there is a vacation day. Or to be a room mother. Or whatever.

I also knew I need to create, so after a lot of trial and error, I decided on graphic and web design, and later, blogging. I already have a ton of student loans, so I didn’t feel like I could justify another degree. So I had to totally retrain myself. With several years of training and practicing behind me I am spending less time working for money doing jobs I hate, and more time building my business. I am now taking risks (by not working as much for pay) and spending a lot of time writing, networking, and working for free to build my portfolio and reputation. This is not easy on the family since I do still have to work for pay, and so I have to squeeze a lot in to every day. But we manage, and we are all learning how to better manage our time and fulfill each others needs. And I am much happier.

I HAD to find something that was me. I was not being a good mother. I was not being a good wife. I was not being good to me. I had to find an outlet for my creative energy and emotions. Simply being at home is not good for me. I need contact. And I am not afraid to say I need validation. Who doesn’t?

I am my passion project and I am taking my power back, and we are all better for it.

What is your passion project? Have you, or do you plan to make time to pursue your own goals? Do you think it is important for you to do this in order to be good to everyone around you?

Balancing work, children, and a relationship is impossible

Rosie
Rosie does it all!

There, I said it. It is nearly impossible to do all of this, and this balancing act is my number one stresser, right after money. Money, which is why I have to work, and why I have to balance all of this.

My attempt at balancing goes something like this. I get up to work between four and five a.m. every weekday. Not only do I need that time so I can get it all done, but it is generally my only quiet time. This makes for a very long day, but it’s worth it. Then generally by 7:15 at the latest, I have to stop what I’m doing and snap into mommy/wife mode – getting everyone up and dressed, getting breakfast and lunches made, and usually trying to get myself dressed and my own teeth brushed. By 9:00 I’m back at it, but I’m in dual mode – work and mommy mode to a very high-energy, high-needs, climbing, getting into things, throwing things around, fit-having toddler. I try to be done with work by 3:45 when my son gets off the school bus. This requires skills in general awareness of time and time management. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, MOST of the time, I have some wrapping up to do. And then it is time to start dinner. And then the kids go to bed. And then I go to bed. And my husband is up, by himself, because he doesn’t get up until 7:00 a.m. And not only have I not accomplished everything I want to do, but I feel like I have left everyone’s needs behind. Including my own. The short answer to how I balance it all is I don’t. I do the best I can and I spend most of my family time on the weekends. I don’t balance, I juggle. And as soon as I think I’ve everything under relative control, it all changes.

Overall, I am overjoyed to be able to be home with and for my kids and to be able to do what I love. Even though it is a high-pressure situation, I am afforded flexibility I would not otherwise have. What does rub me the wrong way though, is why it is up to the almost 69% of married, working mothers in the U.S. to figure out how to balance work, children, and a relationship. How many times are men asked how they balance it all? I never see this on the cover of any men’s magazine. How worried are men about arranging their work schedule so it meets everyone’s needs? So they still have time to clean, fold the laundry, plan and cook meals? How many times do they wonder when they can squeeze in a shower? Do they constantly feel like they are leaving someone’s needs behind, while rarely considering their own? I honestly don’t know if men worry about these things. I suppose they have their own set of stressers that we don’t understand. I can’t even imagine how I would feel if I had a husband who didn’t help!

Do you see these questions being addressed to men? If so, point me in the right direction!