3 Tips for a Working Mother to Pursue her Passion
TIME! Can a working mom find time for anything other than work and kids? Well, it is very hard, but it is not impossible. It boils down to one’s passion to follow one’s dreams. Do you have a dream that you want to follow? If yes, read along.
Below are 3 useful tips from my experience of publishing a book, Mili and the Dragonfly, while being a full time working mom of a 3-year-old.
Tip 1: Craft a plan
As a working mom, who is also working on her dream projects, you would be doing a lot of context switching: work - kids - household chores - health - family - your project. How do you plan your project in a way that helps you keep going in the right direction without getting distracted?
“When you know your destination, you can find your directions and choose a speed to get there”. So, what is your Goal? Write it down so that you know how to get back when you are off track.
“When you travel from one city to another, you see milestones. Each time you hit a milestone, you feel motivated because you know that you are closer to your goal”. What are your Milestones? Write them down so that you get inspired to keep going.
What is the set of activities that you have to do to reach a milestone? Write them down.
Example of my activity list to reach a milestone.
It really helps to visualise your plan, in front of your eyes, maybe on a wall, so that you always know what needs to be done. Whenever something new comes up, you could just add to the list and not have it lingering in your mind - it saves you from thinking about it again and again and then forgetting it.
Tip 2: Find time
Close your eyes and do this exercise for 2-5 min. Run through a typical day of yours and think of what activities you do. Start with a deep breath :).
Now, list down all the activities. Which of these activities cannot be compromised at all? Are there activities that you could skip for a few days in the week? How many hours do you spend on these activities? Can you pull out 1 or 2 hours a day to follow your passion?
My list of un-compromised activities included - sleep, work, exercise and taking care of the child. I was fortunate to be able to pull out 3 hours of time in a day to follow my dreams, including travel time and after-baby-sleep time.
Being a mom of a little child => dealing with a hundred unexpected situations in a day => it might not be feasible to spend your allotted time every day on your project. But, a little effort spent on most days, adds up to give you your desired results over a period of time.
Remember, finding time = prioritising. Not having time for an activity implies that you do not prioritise that activity over others.
Here is a very nice video about TIME by Jay Shetty, one of my inspirations.
Tip 3: Do not give up
There will be ups and downs. Some days will be very stressful - forcing a thought to quit. It is very important to find your inspiration to get through those tough days.
“You started this project in the first place because you dreamt of something big or beautiful”. That dream of yours is the inspiration to keep going at hard times. Write down your dream, your purpose, your passion. Reading them really helps to bounce back when times are hard.
Watch videos/listen to people who inspire you. I derive my inspiration from several people and channels including Ted Talks, Simon Sinek, Jay Shetty, and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Surround yourselves by people who have similar dreams. It helps to find even 1 friend or mentor who can talk to you about your goals and directions. I was fortunate to have one such friend whom I met every week for lunch. We double our ideas and strategies just by talking.
Let me tell you about one of my crazy days and how I got through it.
I was just recovering from flu that attacked me a week ago.
I had a pretty bad day at work with tight deadlines and lots of meetings to attend and conflicts within my team to resolve.
Public transport between my house and office was affected by some maintenance work, increasing my travel time to 3 hours, 1 way.
I got a call that afternoon from a recruiter telling me that next morning, at 8.30 am, I have a job interview for which I needed to prepare.
My daughter was sick. I had to spend time comforting her in the evening. She refused to go to bed before 10.30 pm.
I had at least 3 people waiting for my inputs to unblock the work that they were doing on my book. I had to give inputs to the illustrator, book trailer design for a video editor, page details for book layout designer. Each of these activities needed my thinking/research. And, I couldn't delay them due to various reasons.
I felt like giving up. I did not have time to think of what to do. I was panicking even though I acted relaxed in front of my daughter. After she went to bed, I talked to myself for 5 minutes - lifting my spirits - “Not every day will be like this. One by one all challenges will get resolved. Let me work hard and fight it out today”. I first finished my book work, then prepared for the interview and went to bed at 1.30 am that night.
A few weeks later, I had finished all the rounds of the interview and had gotten the new job offer. My book "Mili and the Dragonfly" was ready to publish. I and my daughter had recovered from the flu completely. Public transport was fixed. And, I knew that following a dream is very hard while being a working mom, but, it is not impossible when Passion and Purpose drive us from within and we back up that Passion with relentless and consistent Effort.
Wish you all the success to make your dream a reality. Happy Mother’s day.