Before I became a mom, I was working as an associate at a large Chicago law firm. I was judged in large part on my billable hours. I was also relatively newly married. I never felt there were sufficient hours in the day to accomplish what was expected at work and spend quality time with my husband. About three years into that job, I had my first son. Then out of pure, unadulterated necessity (presented in the package of my precious baby boy), I no choice but to find minutes and hours that didn’t exist before to be the mom I wanted to be. I needed to be proactive to make it happen. I requested a flexible work arrangement. I found ways to be much more efficient and brutally prioritize how I spent my time.
But I realized at some point the previously impossible had become doable (at least most days). Other smaller choices I made followed this same path. I loved to write when I was growing up. I had grandiose ideas for science fiction books. I would plan out all the chapters. However, I abandoned creative writing once I headed off to college. I had in the back of my mind “some day I will still write a book.” I really didn’t think I could write for myself on top of my work and now three kids. But adopting our daughter from Ethiopia truly moved me and I wanted to give back. So one day, I followed a compulsion to start to pay it forward and wrote my first blog. It was around her first Halloween with us. Pictured is my inspiration to “just start” writing. I found the experience and response immensely satisfying, Over the past few years, I expanded into more blogs and a column.
If I have passion about the effort, there is a way. And I found doing so provides unexpected fringe benefits. Blogging helped me as a mother examine my chosen path, find enjoyment in more of the little moments, and better connect and understand my kids. I draft professional documents in my current role so resuming creative writing (with help from good editors) and reading lots of others writing beefed up my skills. I can now write better and faster.
For me, the biggest hurdle was getting over my own, self imposed, mental obstacles. Each time I do it, I find success. I still need to pace myself and set realistic expectations. But once I start, I know I am on my way and the excitement propels me forward. It's akin to the feeling I had when I first rode a bike and my dad let go. “Wow - I am doing it!!!” And I wanted nothing more than to keep going.