When I first began pursuing my dream career as a writer, I felt guilty following my dreams. My days looked like this: homeschooling in the morning, and then writing in the afternoon with a few hours I set aside while my children played. Those early years, I wrote articles and ideas for novels as Barney played on the television. At least a dozen times during those writing hours my kids would ask me for milk, for a snack, or to play with them. I’d offer what I could but then reminded them, “This is Mommy’s writing time.”
Guilt weighed me down as if Barney the dinosaur sat on my shoulders. I thought I must have been the worst homeschooling mother ever. To combat my guilt, I swung the other way. I wanted to do everything—to make sure my kids lacked nothing. I became over-committed, making frequent library trips, getting my kids involved in every church program, and signing my daughter up for dance lessons and my boys up for sports.
It was my husband who urged me to stop the madness. Sure, I was writing and my kids had very active lives, but I was running myself into the ground. Our kids even started getting stressed because they had no down time. Finding peace took me figuring out what was most important and focusing on that.
“Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer,” says Marcia Wieder. During the months to come, John and I dreamt about what type of family we wanted. This was just as important as any writing dream. Then, once we knew our priorities we were able to decide our action, our priorities:
- To provide a godly education for our kids
- To sign up each child for one extra-curricular activity a year
- To have dinner time as a family
- To train our children how to be part of the family unit and do chores
- To connect and serve in our local church
- To have reading time together as a family at night
- To see what God was doing in our lives and follow Him
Now that I’m getting the chance to homeschool again, this time with my two-year-old daughter, Alyssa, I’m finding I’m more lax about things. I’m also a lot easier on myself about following my dreams and being a good mom. These priorities continue to guide my everyday living as I spend time with my writing and with my daughter . . . and Barney still playing in the background.