Updated April 1, 2021 . AmFam Team
Being a parent is hard. No question about it.
But it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences a person could ever have! From first steps, to the first days of school, to the greatest milestones and every little giggle, messy house and movie night in between, raising a family is a joy — and likely one of your greatest achievements in the making.
But, with all the joy comes hard work, responsibility and time. So how can you make room for your other dreams and aspirations? It may seem impossible, but you’re more capable than you think.
Pursuing your dreams AND raising a family? These work-life balance tips can help.
Heidi Lehew — owner of Rekindled (Opens in a new tab), DIY queen and Supermom of 3 — has some advice to help you reinvigorate your passions and take control of your dream pursuit. After all, having a family doesn’t mean having to put your greatest goals on hold!
“After having kids, and especially now that they are old enough to understand what I do, making my dreams a priority is that much more important because they SEE it!” says Heidi. “I want them to know how my hard work and dedication makes me feel, how it increases my chances to be successful and that chasing this crazy dream of mine really makes me smile from the inside.”
Aside from her optimism and positive energy, Heidi does recognize that finding a balance between family and dream pursuit isn’t exactly easy.
“More kids = less time to most people, and that is 100% true! But, although it is inevitable that you may need to slow down to some extent, it’s important that you always, always, always keep pursuing that dream.”
Not convinced you have what it takes? Heidi’s tips (from one busy parent to another) should help guide you to the life of family-dream balance you deserve.
"One thing I have always been a believer in is visual motivation,” says Heidi. “Creating a dream board or having goals clearly defined in front of you to see each and every day is a great idea. When I get discouraged or overwhelmed, I will grab the list of goals I have created or sit with my dream boards and think of all I have done and can do going forward.”
While it might seem like arbitrary advice, having a system can really help you get things done.
“Your time is limited, which makes it that much more important to stay organized and on track,” explains Heidi. “A daily to-do list helps to keep me on task — I have one for my personal items as well as one for my dream (business). And I’ve found that having a good day-planner with room for these lists has been super helpful!”
So, find a system that works for you and stick with it.
Whether this is your partner, friends or family members, it helps to have someone you can count on to get you through the tougher days.
“Over time, I have learned that simply stating what’s standing in my way is not going to get the result I’m looking for,” says Heidi. “Now I’m able to express that speedbump to my husband and then suggest what things I need from him in order to accomplish the task. But after all is said and done, ‘thank yous’ go a long way! Don’t forget that very important step because it’s easier for someone to jump in and help if they know they are appreciated.”
“As you develop schedules and balance your family and your dream, you’ll find ways to incorporate them together, and that’s great! Take the time to give your littles a task. When I’m working on projects I will set up an area just for my older kids and have them help me gather supplies for their project, teach them the steps and watch them flourish! I promise you the reward is far greater than any frustration you may experience — we often forget just how much it means to them to be included.”
Not to mention, letting your little ones in on all the fun makes dreaming a family activity that everyone will love — talk about a win-win!
“One thing you must decide for yourself is that your dream is a priority,” encourages Heidi. “It’s easy to say, but if you allow other things to take over and push that dream aside, you have not done all you can to assure its importance. Write your dream down and don’t tuck it away where you can’t see it! Instead, put it in a place you’ll look each and every day. Read it out loud over and over and over. This has to be the best advice I could ever suggest!”
No matter what your dream or how big your family, you’ve got what it takes to have it all. Just take each day one step at a time and keep Heidi’s tips in mind. And remember her last piece of advice.
“You must decide what is important to you and how that will fit into your family’s life. Lean on each other the best you can in order to achieve great success in your dream! You’ll accomplish so much more and have more fun doing it if you can find ways to work together.”
And if you're still looking for more ways to enhance your life and career, we have you covered! Check out these professional development resources.