Friday, August 27, 2010


I just read an article about pursuing one's dreams as a mom. The author claims that taking the time to go after one's passions gives one more energy, more verve for life.

That's exactly what I need right now. More energy. More verve. More purpose. I feel adrift and definitely lacking in motivation. While I believe staying at home with my kids is a very important job, one that I alone can do better than anyone else, I still wish I could make more of an impact, more of a difference in the world. I wish I had more to do some days than just laundry, cooking and cleaning along with frequent games of Candyland.

So, I read this article with interest. Yes, I do need to add more zest to my life. I need to pursue those dreams that I have always held close. I need to make time for my interests, the things that get me totally energized and excited.

But here's the problem that these kinds of articles never really address: what if you don't entirely know what your dreams are? Or, what if the things you would most like to pursue are completely unreasonable for this season in your life?

One suggestion I have read is that you go back to childhood and think about the dreams you had then.

That has not proven to be very useful; my biggest dream was to score the role of Little Orphan Annie on Broadway. Never mind the fact that I couldn't act or sing to save my life. I memorized every lyric of every song on my cassette tape and acted out each scene with my sister and friend. Alas, I have never been called upon to sing, "It's a Hard Knock Life" or "Tomorrow" for any audiences, on or off-Broadway. And I doubt this is likely to happen any time soon, seeing as I am waaaaay beyond pre-teenhood.

Other more recent dreams are more likely pipe dreams; they are completely unattainable right now. I am very interested in Occupational Therapy and working with kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and autism, but the nearest school with an OT program is 3 hours away. I just don't see how that could be an option right now.

And I really, really miss teaching, but though I scour the Internet, I have not found any part-time openings at any nearby community colleges, and unfortunately, Bil has forbidden me from applying at the many correctional centers in the area. Why he thinks teaching at a jail is any more dangerous than in the Chicago inner-city high school I taught at is beyond me. The year before I started, the principal and another teacher's cars were shot in a gang battle. At least the jail has armed guards.

And as for hobbies, I feel like I need something new. I love to read, but that doesn't really make a difference in the world. And volunteering is limited, seeing as I still have two kids at home. I am able to take them on my Meals on Wheels route once a month, but it would be pretty impractical for them to accompany me were I to volunteer as a literacy tutor, for example.

So, what should I do? What do YOU do? What sorts of passions are you pursuing? Dreams you are making time for? Any advice for a clueless stay-at-home mom? I could sure use it.


Sarah said...

I know one "volunteer" activity you could do---did Danny receive Early Intervention? Even if he didn't, EI case workers are always looking for parents to put on their "lists" to call upon when new parents need someone to talk to. It is just one way to "pay it forward".

Another suggestion is forming a group within the school for other special needs families. Ours is called Special Education Alliance and it is an invaluable resource for parents that enables parents to get together and share information. With all of your hands on experience I could easily see you spear heading such an endeavor. :)

Anonymous said...

So I think we were both singing along to Annie at the same time. I also acted out every scene from Grease and Fiddler on the Roof. Part of me is secretly hoping to be on "Glee" someday :-) I would also love to go back to teaching nights, but since I'm ready for bed by 7pm I'm not sure that would work out so well.

I've thought about this too - a new dream that fits in with my family life. Because lately I've done so much with support groups and talking to other parents about resources, etc., my new dream is to become a parent advocate. Our state runs a program to train parents to be advocates (to be hired for IEP meetings, etc.) I can't fit the training in this year with my current life, but it's my plan for next summer. In the meantime I'm volunteering (from home) with our local Autism Resource Center getting their new blog off the ground.
Both of those things would be right up your alley since you do some much for us parents out here, and have such a terrific way with words.
Good luck discovering that new dream.
(using my new wordpress ID)

Susan said...

It feels like rubbing it in, but I was "Pepper" in my high school production of Annie. I loved LOVED being the bully.

I do volunteer a LOT at Meg's school, and sit on the board- DON'T call us PTA. It really is a part time job. We hire, fire staff and set yearly budgets. I am in charge of fund raising and am putting on a winter carnival.
It was impossible for me to do anything with little ones and this is only possible because Meg and Nolan both are school-aged. Hang in there it is kind of a limbo time.
I say don't be so hard on yourself Patti!

Mrsbear said...

I am in the clueless SAHM boat with you. It's so hard to muster motivation, eke out time, formulate a coherent thought. Well, you's old hat. Once the youngest goes to school, then the world will be wide open...won't it?

TurtleBear said...

I have recently reclaimed my passion to paint. I find it really helps me ‘escape’ even if just for a few minutes. As much as I love my family, I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed and lost. Painting is something just for me. Maybe you just need to find something that makes YOU feel good?

Deb's World said...

Patty, This is so interesting that you wrote about this. This has been on my mind a lot lately and I don't even have children. I work ten hour days (more like thirteen hours with early morning gym) and I just don't feel like I have time to do anything. I have also been wondering what my dreams are and what I want to do with my life. Honestly, I have no idea. I feel like I'm just kind of floating by, not really living. If I ever figure it out I'll let you know. :)