You don’t really know how much your life changes until you have them. They always seem peaceful on TV. You know, always giggling and sleeping. After a few months with my daughter, I realized they were bending the truth a bit.
You’ll face the full force of whatever is going on at the moment. Sometimes it’s good. And sometimes not so much. You know the stories so I won’t rehash any of the first-time baby struggles. Sufficient to say, it was a lot more than I expected.
I’m writing these lines while listing to my two daughters in the background. They are throwing around a mixture of German and English, nuanced with some unhappy squeaks from my son. He’s with his mom in the other room. And for some reason, I managed to still write these lines without going crazy.
If you’re a blogging parent, I assume you know what I’m talking about. But I also think that you have big goals for your blog. You want to turn it into a business, generate leads for your existing business or make a change in the world. But you might feel your kids are holding you back. Or that they are standing between you and your dream.
Splitting your vision
Pursuing a dream is a full-time dedication. It fills up our mental space for our professional potential. We dream as far ahead as we can. With a family now on your hand, this pursuit will come to a crossroad. You’ll have to decide ahead of time to take away some of the energy you put in your dream and create a new vision for your family.
Trying to raise children without commitment is a death sentence for your family. Your vision will always linger over them and your regrets will raise their heads more often than you realize. They will know your priorities, no doubt. They are with you every day, bumping into the precious time you had reserved for your business. Children can’t be scheduled. The younger they are, the more they bump into you. Literally.
Starting at the end
With a family comes responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you accept it. It falls on your shoulder and your attitude towards it won’t change reality. You kids won’t go anywhere, no matter how you treat them. But they’ll grow up. They will grow up either with your love or without it. You can’t fix 16 years of absence with a gift. Or even some effort later on.
Humans understand their lives through their experiences. An adult defines themselves through what they have learned as kids. While growing up, they form an understanding of the world. We are not aware of our deepest convictions but we experience them as emotions.
You can’t control what will happen to your children but you can prepare them for a good life. Most of our lives are lived inside I heard a musician once say. Their reactions, feelings and subsequent behaviors are determined by their makeup. The stuff they learned during the time we raised them. Us bloggers get our passion from our dreams. We live in the future. We have been there so many times that it almost feels like the present day. Our goals make us take life by the throat and threaten it to give what we want.
I found it very helpful to approach my family the same way. Not grabbing them by the throat, mind you. No, I’m talking about including them in my dreams. I want to have a deep connection with my children when they are old enough to make their own life. I want to know their thoughts, fears, and hopes. I want to know how they mind processes reality and what is important for them in life. I dream about more than just Thanksgiving and Christmas.
A relationship with my kids will only happen if I build trust early on. I have to put in the work. I know I’m working towards something with every step I take. All the time I spent with my children instead of the business serves my vision. I can enjoy my kids and I can enjoy my business. Both without feeling guilty about the other.
Consider the following list. It was put together by Bronnie Ware who spent many years by the bedside of dying people. During those conversations, the following points came up over and over again:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
When you are at the end of your life, it seems that what mattered was being human. It’s about experiencing the truest form of existence without the constraints we put on ourselves. Life is about people and who could you be closer with then your kids? You have a unique chance now to build a life you can be grateful for in the future.
Where does my blog fit into that?
I haven’t forgotten about that, my friend. After all, I didn’t labor over this guest post without a reason. We don’t give up on our vision. We just have to split our energy. We have to plan and be flexible within it.
It’s essential to be organized. Getting up early, working late, that kind of a thing. My times for my business changes with my family. Sometimes it’s at night and sometimes it’s in the morning. Late nights were pretty common lately because my morning flow clashes with my 1-year olds new wake-up time.
Even though I have less time, it forces me to be smarter. The lack of deadlines has a tendency to make us explore the depths of the internet. We hide it under fancy terms like research, organizing and planning but they are often unnecessary tasks. My time limitation has forced me to optimize what I do and focus on the most important things at hand.
When you spend time with your kids, I encourage you to dive in with your whole heart. It will alleviate the stress of making things work. I found going on walks to be relaxing as well. Chatting with my wife while breathing fresh air is like a small vacation from reality. It rejuvenates my spirit and I see things in my work I couldn’t see before.
Children will form you. There is no magic pill to make it all work. Little hacks might smoothen the ride a little but it won’t do it for you. But a vision will give it a purpose.
Our experiences as parents make us grow as humans. It will come out not only in your writing but also in other areas. You conversions with clients, friends, and family will be grounded in reality. Raising kids in the dark times, when the bottle won’t help and their toys don’t work, are not a loss. See it as an investment in yourself. You’re growing as a person and therefore are growing closer to your dreams.