Passions

I was chatting with another mom today, and she made a statement that kind of surprised me.  She said something along the lines of, “I guess maybe I’m weird.  But being a mom, being home with my kids and taking care of my family, it’s not enough for me.  I really need to pursue other interests, follow my passions.”

I guess I’d just never heard it said out loud like that.  The part that surprised me is that she thought that this made her “weird.”  I think that some of us think that it makes us “less.”

Though sometimes it feels that way, we actually don’t cease to exist as individuals when we become mothers.  Motherhood slams some of us so hard that it may take years to realize that, to remember who we are.  I became a mom at twenty-two.  I didn’t yet know who I was.  I became “Mommy” before I became Me.

I probably am weird.  But, having interests beyond caring for my family doesn’t mean that I love less.  It doesn’t make me selfish.

It has taken me many years to figure out how to raise a family, a large one, and continue to follow my own passions.  Before that, it took me many years to realize that if I didn’t find a way to do so, I was going to drown in this, and no one would be the better for it, my children included.

And you can add another dimension to this, this pursuit of passion.  Jonny and I have learned that by pursuing mutual interests together, we have a better relationship, a better marriage.  Our kids aren’t excited about every crazy project we come up with, but we sometimes make them participate because we’re mean, and at the very least they have to put up with it.  These projects:  the bees, the goats, the garden, whatever we are excited about, they make us happy people.  They make us happy parents, and that is a very good thing.

So, girls!!!  Find something you love and go for it!  If you can find something that your family can be a part of with you, then great.  If not, don’t let that stop you.  I’m not talking about abandoning your family or your children, just doing something to nurture yourself.  It doesn’t have to be huge, though the impact might be.  Find something that will bring you joy, something that is reasonable, something that you can actually make work as part of your life.  Start small.  Don’t compare, don’t feel guilty.

My family likes the outdoors.  I like to knit, garden, and take pictures.  I love animals, at this moment especially goats (though I am a little worried that everyone is thinking that I am strange so I’m trying to keep it quiet).  Jonny likes to build things.  He loves to make music, and also to play sports.  We are both into this whole homesteading thing, and after more than a decade of trying, we still aren’t any good at it.  Seth loves metal detecting.  Keats and Gabe love baseball.  Keats also loves to play music, while Gabe loves to work with his hands.  Larkspur is artsy and is the driving force behind much of the crafting that goes on in this house.  I haven’t figured out Beatrix, Silas, and Job yet.  But I will.  And I hope that I will do a decent job of encouraging them to pursue whatever their passions are.

What about you?  What do you like to do?  How do you make it happen?  How are you going to make it happen?

Because it’s okay.  You can be somebody other than Mom, and still be a good one.

(Disclaimer:  Obviously, I can’t make any promises about whether or not the pursuit of your passions will reveal your inner weirdness.  It’s quite possible that you are weird.)

Comments

  1. I love your goats. Please post more pictures of the goats!

  2. Jean G. Woodhouse says:

    I am reading this blog over and over again. You are an inspiration.

  3. This is a great post! We recently moved to a farm and I feel like I have started a new job with all the chores and responsibilities- garden, 35 chickens, 6 cats, 2 pigs and more to add to the list, along with homeschooling and raising four boys 7 and under. It’s such a wonderful life to have all my moments filled with nature and LIFE! Gone are the days when DH and I could watch TV, but we would rather watch the sunset with a beer in hand anyways. We have evolved in our marriage, parenting and our faith and even though my interests are family centered, they fulfill me in a way that I know that I have been brought by God to this place.

  4. my favorite thing is really the kitchen
    daily meals and all the dishes are not that inspiring, but I have learned to can, and I set kitchen goals.
    this year I am working on GF sourdough, and so far I have a successful starter and three recipes, and I have some more plans for later.
    your hobbies can be at home if you want them to be
    it didn’t seem to me at first that my kitchen things were hobbies, but I have great pride in the extra things I now can do besides just the basics
    last year I also tried to watercolor postcard size scenes when I was at a beach or pond with the kids, they certainly are not fancy but it does carve a little “me” space into the family adventure

  5. I love this and totally agree. I just had baby #8 (in 13 years). My passions are travel, photography, and scrapbooking. I could relate to what you said about not knowing who you were when you became a mom. I was the same. I have done all my positive, healthy growing since becoming a mom, but I know there is still more to who I am. I will say that now we are expected to spend all of our time nurturing our children’s hobbies, and that always seems to include things like sports that have to depend on other people (or us to run them around). But my husband and I have chosen not to do that with our kids…we have too many of them and we’re too worn out to be running them around. It’s enough just to survive here at home. I often feel guilty for this, but in reality I think it’s healthier to develop hobbies that you don’t have to depend on others for. There’s a time and a place for things like team sports, but that seems to have taken over everything else. Since we’re home so much my daughter has been able to develop talent in so many fields of art, and I’m sure my sons will figure out something they love other than video games someday 😛

  6. Ginny, you get the point. I drown myself in philosophical and theological books, in those quiet (and hard concentration) moments I am truly and overall happy. I even pay a babysitter to be able to sit in a cafe for a few hours with such books. I guess that might be considered weirdness. If I for any reason don’t get my weekly dose, my family can feel it pretty quick.

    I guess I haven’t figured out passions to be done with the rest of the family yet (having been mother for only five years) but it will come. I’ll try to be more focused on it now.

  7. Amen and amen. Thank you for writing this post. I am a mother but not just a mother, I am a knitter, a gardener, a reader and a quilter. I had children when I was 24 and 27 and cannot relate to the 20-somethings I work with who wonder what they’re going to do each night. They spend their money on decorating their new houses and going on vacations. At their age I was nursing at 2am, reading Dr. Sears and wondering how we were going to afford to put shoes on growing feet! There is nothing wrong with either pathway. I am finding myself at 38 and am more confident and creative this side of raising children. I squeeze my passions into any free moment I can and drag anyone along with me who is willing to go.
    My deepest passions are knitting and being outside.
    Thanks for your thought-provoking words Ginny!
    Amanda

  8. Ginny,
    So beautifully said!! Thank you for writing this. When I first became a mom, I put all of Bracken’s needs first, before everything. Now, four years into it, I realize I need to take care of myself too. Keeping my blog going has been something that I do for me and it brings me a lot of joy. I’m happier because I blog, it’s such a great creative outlet. I also love knitting, gardening, and photography so we have some passions in common. 🙂 When I make time for knitting I’m more peaceful and a better mom and wife. It sounds funny to me but it’s really true!

    Love,
    Taryn

    • I had a horse that I loved dearly when my daughters were small. I would go out to feed him and then stand with him in the barn door and watch the sun set. I was a teacher and had the summers off. We would get into a pop up camper and later a travel trailer and go exploring. One daughter would comment in high school American history class: Colonial Williamsburg, I’ve been there, Custer’s battlefield, I’ve been there, Gettysburg, Washington, DC. Michigan’s Kewanaw Peninsula, Surpient Mound, Yellowstone… You get it. I love to garden. I now live in an apartment in Los Angeles. On my balcony I grow roses, lettuce, radishes, corn, sunflowers, peppers, squash, cucumbers… I call it my farm. I am just learning how to knit. I sew and read a book a week. I love my dog and take her to the dog park. I have recently decided to go on picnics. Remember: the time of having small children will pass. You will eventually have an empty nest. (Maybe not Ginny, 🙂 ) Life just evolves.

  9. Thanks for the encouraging post! I need to work on this! I often feel like I have lost myself in the shuffle of laundry and cooking. God bless!

  10. I love this – it is too easy for a mom to get lost in the interests of everyone else in the family. A rich sense of self is so important or one becomes hollow, with nothing left for anyone (not even ourselves) to draw from.

  11. Love this so much. We want goats badly and have it on our dream list!:)

  12. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Pure Awesomeness!!!

  13. Ginny, I LOVE your blog and I love this post! One of the reasons that I love it so much is that you inspire me – at least from a distance, you seem to have really achieved balance. Your family is clearly your top priority but you haven’t disappeared as a person and turned into only “mom”, you still think (and write a terrific blog) and knit and love animals… Your children will have such amazing memories and such as sense of belonging and identity for having been a part of things like the goats. My husband and I are both very family centred and we try to find things that we can all enjoy as a family (for us, dogs is a big one and we having active, sporting dogs and we do a lot that way). Part of parents being who they are teaches the kids to be who God made them to be. It’s such an important lesson. Thank you for sharing!

  14. I was a young mom-20 years old. I had 4 children before 30. Instead of the “party years” I was raising a family, playing at homesteading, tending animals, tole painting with girlfriends and discovering all kinds of new things with my husband. At 59 now I look back and the experiences I had at home far outweigh the work years I have put in. It was a true blessing. I discovered myself. (Knitting has long ago replaced tole painting and I might have done a few macrame hangers back then too….ha, ha) more goats please Ginny!

  15. I love this post!! I needed it today. Sometimes I feel guilty loving things that my family does. I love how you expressed that especially on days when I feel like I am a little lost as a woman while being a Mom to a big family:)

  16. I LOVE this post….you wise wise woman!! Keep it up.

  17. I over and over again love your blog, keep coming back to get inspired by your photos and your take on life. Never fails. BTW, Have you read Prodigal Summer (Barbara Kingslover)? Your comment about goats and sort of hiding your love for them reminds me of this book. Quirky and unexpected.

  18. Loved this post! What would I do without knitting? I knit whenever I can.

  19. Ginny–You are wise beyond your years!! I love reading this blog. Xo

  20. Best post ever. Thank you. I love how you write. It’s so honest and real. Brilliant. X

  21. Very wise words Ginny. There will be a time when your children don’t need you quite as much and if you don’t have separate passions, you can feel very empty. I’m thankful I have my fiber arts and hubby and I like to do things outdoors together now that our daughter is in college. I guess I am ‘weird” too. Have a wonderful weekend!

  22. Charlotte says:

    An 80 year old woman, who has milked goats for 30 years said this to me a few years ago…”You have to have something that is your own.”

  23. I read this post with great interest, and here’s why :
    Here in Germany it feels currently rather as if you are a good mother and wife when you go out to work and additionally pursue as many interests and hobbies as possible.
    Being only a mother makes you feel worthless and not respected socially . That’s why I like to read here at your blog . I get the feeling that, what I do, is sufficient and fine …

  24. Genevieve says:

    This is why I love your blog. The call to seek balance, the voice of calm from within the chaos, the affirmation. Thank you.

  25. I really enjoy you, Ginny! And I love today’s post. I’m 60 now and my childrearing days are behind me, but I can tell you, you are onto something with encouraging moms to have something that is theirs. I think in some ways it would have made me a better mother if I had found something I loved while my children were little. I love that your take on this was grace-filled. Thanks for the inspiration.

  26. Jennifer says:

    I have read the blog for a few years and love it…but seriously, this was the best feel-good, mom-centric, honest post EVER! Thanks for the encouragement!

  27. What a wonderful post Ginny!
    I love being at home homeschooling our 4 girls and am thankful that life’s path has brought me to this point – this is our 2nd year of homeschooling and our oldest is in grade 12! I quit my part time job after 4 1/2 years and don’t miss it a bit and feel far less frazzled because of it. Your blog has pushed me to pick up my love of reading and cross stitching again. Any small window of time can be used for a purpose.

  28. My kids and I fell into drama together and we have had quite a ride. My older kids have moved on, but I am still teaching it. It has saved me many times from the duldrums and has revealed some incredible qualities found in the depths of teens.
    I loved this post! Thanks so much!

  29. I love reading the comments from the mothers who are out of the “trenches” so to speak. It’s a great reminder to embrace this exhausting but precious time of being needed by so many people. It’s true, they’re growing fast and soon I’ll have time to pursue more than one or two hobbies. I’ve decided for now to try to just knit and learn enough photography to take better pictures of my family. Several years ago I saved up money to buy a guitar and after awhile it became clear that it wasn’t a practical hobby for now. So it sits in a case and I tell the kids I’ll learn how to play it when they’re all older. I have a long list actually of things I can look forward to doing/learning when I’m not homeschooling and cooking for 10 people 🙂 In the meantime I’ll stick with knitting, my camera, and whatever reading I can fit in before I fall asleep. I think it’s helpful for all of us mothers to remember that different seasons of life allow for different passions. When I had 5 kids ages 6 and under my passions consisted of a tiny bit of knitting and reading and very little getting out of the house. Now that my oldest is 13 and I’m about to have our 8th, I kind of have MORE time for passions/ hobbies because the kids are helpful with all the daily work. I don’t have to make dinner and clean up by myself! It’s a new season. And when they’re all in high school and college it will be another new season for different passions for me. Yesterday I met a woman who owns a bakery café in a cute little downtown. It’s her passion now after raising 7 children. Now that a few are out of the house and the youngest is 16 she can pursue this dream of owning a restaurant. It was really neat to see 🙂

  30. I love reading your blog! My heart bursted when you shared your pictures of your new goats! They are adorable, please keep the pictures coming and explain why you do have them. I’m personally a huge lover of animals.

  31. Amen!

  32. This is great…and I have an opposite. I spent my entire motherhood of my kids up until recently having that career, having those extra passions, and while I loved them, I figured out THIS year that it could be okay if raising my kids WAS my passion. I didn’t have to keep having that career (I’ve been a speech language pathologist for 20 years) or keep adding extra letters to the end of my name, or getting that extra degree to be whole, worthy, successful, or as good as…I could raise my kids, homeschool, manage my home and it COULD be enough. It took me way to long to figure out what I was really passionate about had been right there waiting for me all along.

  33. I didn’t become a mother until I was 38, so I really did know who I was and what I was interested in before then. But I still had this idea that I had to throw myself completely into the mothering game. Coincidentally I left my career the same year, which made it even harder to find my way. Those first couple of years were hard, even though I knew in my bones I needed to keep pursuing my own passions. Guilt kept pulling me back. I’m a few years out now, and I’m getting better at the balance. My current passions are writing, painting, and I just started training as an herbalist. My family (and my marriage – good point!) is so much happier when I am happy and thriving. Thanks for writing about this. It is so important and I think we don’t talk about it enough.

    PS, please keep writing about the goats! I’m living vicariously through you!

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