So you have goals, and you’re a mom. And sometimes the balance of pursuing those goals and raising your kids can get messy. Sometimes you want to stop, to quit, to press pause on your pursuit of striving for more. Well, I’m here to tell you that despite the hustle and bustle, despite what seems like frantic chaos everyday, and despite the fact you might feel as if you are falling short with your kids because your attention is divided, don’t worry. Believe it or not, the goals you have set for yourself and the actions you are taking to achieve them are actually good for your kids, and here’s how.
First I want to address the fact that every mom’s goals are going to be different. Each of us defines success uniquely and are ultimately satisfied by different levels and types of achievement. For one mom success might come through growing a multi-million dollar empire, for another it might be making partner within her firm. There are moms that set goals to improve their health, like losing 40 pounds, or running a 10K. There is the mom who wants to start a bakery, or the mom who simply wants to learn to bake without setting something on fire, so she takes a cooking class. It does not matter how big your goals are, it just matters that you have them. If you are not a mom with goals but desire to be, and just don’t know where to start, head on over to my segment on How to Discover and Define Goals.
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Why Being a Mom With Goals Benefits Your Kids:
#1 They are watching.
I’ll start with the most obvious reason, your kids are always watching you, which sounds like a creepy children of the corn kind of thing, but it’s not. They see you working. Your kids see you putting in the effort to better yourself everyday and are learning lessons from watching you take action for something you want. They realize that hard work and reaching your goals goes hand in hand.
Perhaps, they are watching you go back to school to get that bachelors you’ve been talking about for years. However, now you are realizing you first should have gotten a degree in time management before you even started. Because studying and homework are taking more hours than you originally anticipated. You may be worried that your kids will be upset about the time you aren’t giving to them because you have to write a paper. And maybe at times they will be upset, but it’s a great opportunity to let them know that your goals are not only something you want for yourself, but you want it for them too. You want them to feel proud, and you want to create every opportunity to give them the best life you can.
Sometimes goals are health related. Perhaps you’ve declared that it’s time to get the extra weight off you have been accruing since the day you had your first-born child. You’ve decided to get your body back, or what’s left of it anyway 😉 Regardless, now you have to change some habits and your kids are not only watching you, but they are sort of forced to participate. Because in place of the buttery mashed potatoes that once occupied a portion of their plate is brown rice with broccoli. No doubt they will complain, every single time, but despite that they are learning which foods are healthier than others. They are also making the correlation that good healthy food means good healthy feeling. Who knows, they might even find something they like that neither of you ever thought they would. My own pickiest eater loves Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts! I never would have called that one.
Need another example? Maybe you are the mom that has decided to run for PTA president. God bless you. Or, you are stepping up to be the head of the fundraising committee. I tip my hat. Perhaps, it’s the kindergarten classroom mom position you have volunteered for. You might be a saint. It is in those roles that your kids get to see you lead. They watch you speak, and provide service to those around you. They see that giving your time and energy can make a difference. They think you’re important, and special, and brave.
A mom with goals can pass on lessons to her kids that she may not have even anticipated. If you are one of those moms, and you probably are since you are taking the time to read this, your kids are watching you chase them. However, as so often with goals, they will also watch you come up short sometimes. In true honesty I can say I’ve failed many times. I’ve missed meeting professional goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve flopped more than a few recipes in my kitchen. I’ve ran into injuries (literally) while striving for fitness marks.
With goals, come the opportunity for failures. I say opportunity because some of the biggest lessons your kids will pick up as they watch you work towards meeting your objectives are how you handle the setbacks along the way. Do you quit? Do you tell yourself you are not good enough? Or that you will never be able to do it? More often moms with goals understand that life can be a bumpy road. The only way to get to your destination is to keep moving forward. There will be a few potholes along the way, maybe many. You may have to reroute at times, or even completely change your course. Still, all the while you are setting an example for your kids that achieving something doesn’t come easy, but if it’s something you really want, it’s worth every bit of effort you put into it.
Attaining goals requires action, but those actions aren’t randomly incorporated or haphazardly performed here and there. Those behaviors are planned and intentionally done each day, each week, for as long as it takes.
The time that mom’s have in a day is already so precious, and because those actions consume minutes, sometimes hours, managing that time becomes a major element in balancing mom life with goal achieving. This means that moms with goals tend to have a more structured daily schedule, and I don’t think I have to tell you that a familiar agenda is good for your kids.
A predictable routine helps children to feel safe, and reduces stress in their day-to-day life. The same goes for adults.
Those routines teach responsibility, self discipline, time management, and create habits for the long-haul. Obviously, life throws us curve balls and our schedules are bound to get messed up some days. Which means you and your kids will have to adjust. But for the most part a mom with goals has structure and routines that their kids know.
Handling time can be tricky for moms, but there are certain methods that work well to balance the crazy in your life and still allow you to pursue your goals while mommy-ing. I cover those in part 2 of this series, Balancing Goals with Mom Life.
#3 Manage distractions and have focus.
I list these two benefits together because when a momma has a goal she is focusing on she tends to manage and avoid the distractions that might otherwise prevent her from getting the things done that propel her towards her goals. In the same way, and more importantly, she adopts those habits to put distractions aside when she needs to focus on her number one priority, her kids. Social media, TV, online shopping are all things we are guilty of getting wrapped up in and spending too much time doing. However, when you have something bigger to focus on, it’s much easier to prioritize your to-do list and let go of the distractions that are less important.
I can definitely attest to acquiring abilities to better manage those diversions, giving them less of my time so that I can focus on the things that will actually impact my goals, whether that be for my relationships, professional aspirations, fitness, or homemaking goals.
One of my biggest obstacles in being a mom with goals was compartmentalizing my mom life and my business life. A few years back I started a side gig in network marketing and it bled into every aspect of my life. I realized that I was overly preoccupied with communicating to my clients and potential clients. My kids would be at my side, repeatedly trying to get my attention while I sat on my phone shushing them and waving my hand for them to leave the area. Something had to change, and it did, but it took some practice. I began to utilize lists, planners, and a time blocking system to better manage my focus and keep my distractions from interfering with the times when I just needed to be a mom. I cover all of those methods in more detail in Part 2 of the series, Balancing Goals with Mom Life.
By giving myself guidelines to follow as a parent who spends time working towards other aspirations I have found that not only does it allow me to focus on my children better, but I seem to get more accomplished, and with better quality during the periods I spend working too. Who knew!
I also had to remind myself that things like social media, and non-urgent emails, texts, and calls can wait until a time that works better for me. Nobody is holding their breath waiting for my next Facebook post. Lives are not at stake because I don’t immediately respond to the group text discussing what happened on This Is Us the night before, so its okay to push some things off til later, or in some cases to even to skip them all together.
The bottom line is, if you are a mom with a goal, you know what needs to be first on your action list. You also know what needs to be second, and third, and so on and so forth. If you don’t have a good system down yet, don’t worry. You will get there and it will get easier. Managing your distractions and focusing effectively takes effort and time. It’s just like listening to your kindergartener learn to read. It’s really bumpy at first with a lot of stops and gos, but eventually, and after consistent practice, smooth and with more ease.
#4 Happy mom with a purpose.
Every mom has a built in purpose, a calling, in raising her kids. When you became a momma and held your baby for the first time, or even if it took you a little longer, there was a feeling that you were always meant to meet them and have them in your life. Our identities can get so wrapped up in our kids. Sometimes they can even get lost and we feel the need to branch out, to have something else we are pursuing and achieving that is our own.
Our reasons for doing it likely still have something to do with our family. For example, I blog and write web content to help my family financially. But the goals we make, and chase, and achieve are also done because they make us happy, fulfilled, or healthier. I love to write because it brings me joy, excites me, and is the one thing I have done that doesn’t feel like work.
You may love to workout, or maybe you don’t love it but you feel really good when you exercise daily. So you continue to make time for the gym in your schedule because you enjoy being fit, but also because you want to have enough energy and stamina to keep up with your kiddos.
If you love to cook, you do it because the creation process in the kitchen gives you satisfaction, but it also feeds your family.
Being a mom is the most important job you will ever take on. But it’s okay to have something else in your life that you are striving for. Even further, it is healthy for you to pursue other passions or goals while raising your kids in the best way you know how. Your kids are going to recognize that the goals you are working towards put a smile on your face, they will notice that you are better, like mom 2.0 or something.
When you are infused with a sense of satisfaction in whatever it is you are laboring over, it fills you up inside until those feelings of joy and purpose spill out and into the laps of those whose lives you touch, especially, and most dramatically, the lives of your children.
There isn’t a handbook on parenting. Well, maybe there is but nobody really has this gig down pat, most of us are just winging it in our own way. And there isn’t a set of rules to follow when it comes to balancing your mom life with other aspirations. However, there are proven guidelines and suggestions that can help you on your path to success as a mom, a business owner, a side hustler, a PTA board member, or a fit woman. We’ll talk about all of that in Part 2, Balancing Goals with Mom Life.
The beautiful thing is that your kids are on this journey with you, watching you, witnessing that age-old process of striving to be better. It’s like you have your own little cheering section, your own built in fan base. They want you to succeed and even without them knowing they will be empowered with the idea that they can pursue their dreams and goals the same way you are pursuing yours.