“What do you want to do? You keep talking about how much you hate your job but you’re not doing anything about it.”
I look at him in the driver’s seat, one hand on the wheel, the other leaning on the console. So relaxed as he asks me what I want to do with the rest of my life. Which, as a 28-year-old mother of two, I should have probably already known.
“I don’t know. I feel trapped. We can’t afford for me to not work, and I’ve applied for so many jobs and no one calls me back and I just don’t know.”
“What will make you happy?”
I turn away and look out the window into the darkness. Just tell him, I think to myself. But I’m scared to say the words out loud. I don’t know if I’m good enough. He might think I’m crazy.
“What do you want to do?” he asks, a little more forcefully this time and I can hear all of his frustration as he repeats those six words – he worries about the stress I’m under, he’s tired of this job making me short-tempered at home, and he just wants me to be happy.
“The only thing I might be able to get paid to do that would make me happy is write.”
I take a deep breath.
“I want to write.”
“Then do it. You have to just do it, you can’t just keep talking about it. I’ll make whatever sacrifices I have to. But you can’t keep going like this.”
And for the next fifteen minutes I try to talk him out of it and explain all the ways I might fail. And he doesn’t care.
“Just do it,” he says, over and over like a Nike ad.
So I did. This is a conversation my husband and I had about seven years ago. I was in a job that I really, really did not like. I was away from my family for 45 hours a week and wasn’t getting any fulfillment from it. I was crabby at home and just kind of unhappy.
But I was terrified to go out and try anything new. As a mom, I didn’t want to put my family in a position where we might be short on money or take time away from them to build a new business. However, I did know that I owed it to myself and to my family to find job that not only took care of our needs, but that also fulfilled me personally. I wanted to show my kids that they can do anything they want and I needed to lead by example.
Seven years later, I’ve built a business. It’s not always easy. Some days I feel like I’m begging for work. Some days I have to work a lot. But I’m proud of myself and I’m happy. I have great clients like Great Mother Heart and my kids have seen me work hard to achieve my dreams.
I don’t share this story to brag. I share this story because all too often, moms put their own desires and goals on the backburner for their family. I’ve done it over and over again. But I really don’t think it has to be that way. So whether or not you want to build a business, go back to school, start a new hobby, or even just carve out an hour a week to get a manicure and read a book, I’m here to tell you, “Just do it!”
Moms work hard and we deserve to have our needs put first occasionally! It will make you happier, and it will ultimately make your family happier.