This is part 5 of the “What Moms Need Most” series. Read the Introduction to find out more about the series and to grab links to all of the posts so far!
There was a time when I was home with three young boys. I loved them. I loved being a stay-at-home mom (most days ;). Yes, it was hard, but I knew deep down it was what I was supposed to do in that season. But, over time, I began to sense a little itch inside of me…There was something else I wanted — no, needed, to do. I let my mind wander on occasion, to the things that I might explore.
“I have a feeling there’s something out there I am supposed to do.” I told my husband, finally. He smiled and told me I could do anything. (awww.) “But really,” I began to bring it up more often, “I think someday…I’m gonna do something. Maybe something big even.” This became a funny little conversation between us.
I loved fitness since I could remember, and while the boys were young I taught fitness classes at a local gym. That was super healthy for me and absolutely gave me a creative and social outlet. However, I sensed that wasn’t going to be “my thing.” A little voice inside my head would say “there’s something else.”
So I prayed and I waited. I started homeschooling. And I had one more kid.
Then one day a friend sent me a link to an article on someone’s blog and I was like “What in the world is a blog!?” I clicked over and my mind was blown. It wasn’t long before I began to dream of starting my own blog. I had no computer skills…no idea of what “social media” was. Up til that time my husband had kept all of our photos on the computer and I hadn’t paid a lick of attention. I didn’t know how to upload or download, or the difference between the two. But I figured out enough to get started and from the first blog post I ever wrote I was absolutely hooked. I didn’t care how long it would take me to learn to be a good writer. Or to edit a photo. Or “What is Twitter anyways?!” I was willing to stay up late, get up early, sneak away to a coffee shop.
I FOUND MY THING.
And little did I know that was only the beginning.
If you have a hobby or business that you are passionate about, you probably resonate with my experience. Our stories are all unique, of course, (not everyone wants or needs to turn an interest into a job) but we will definitely find common elements. And if you haven’t yet found “your thing” yet, no stress at all…
I was 40 when I started my blog.
But I think in all seasons, it is incredibly healthy and helpful to have something we enjoy doing…something that fills our tank. It may not be “the thing” that will light you up for the rest of your life, but finding even small things to pour into can keep us more balanced, refreshed, and sane during our parenting years.
And I want to cheer on every mom as she finds what fuels her soul.
But first, some perspective.
First and foremost, I hope that your family lights you up. I hope that loving your kids and husband brings you great joy. And if you do that full time and feel completely content, you are probably doing it with excellence. (and we are all envious!) Please don’t think there is something wrong if you feel fulfilled in that role alone.
I will propose, however, that you probably don’t realize how many sub-passions are in that one overarching role. You are likely passionate about cooking and/or cleaning…organizing, caring for the home (decor, DIY projects and maintenance) managing money, hosting others and on and on. Being an excellent homemaker is no small thing; it is without a doubt, a gifting of its own.
We also need to keep in mind that there are seasons for all things. When you are in the throes of nursing and diapers and sleepless nights and all the rest, finding a hobby or passion may be the last thing on your mind. Sometimes it’s just about survival, right? Whether you are caring for a baby or supporting a child with special needs, keeping things afloat with a day-job or night shift, caring for an aging parent or your own health issues, you might currently just need to keep…breathing. If that is you right now, bless your heart. Be all there. (but a little dreaming won’t hurt a thing…)
Finding/pursuing a passion.
If you would like to find something fun that fuels your soul — or you happen to relate to that itch I referred to in my own story… I encourage you to do what I did: pray and dream and wait. Explore some options. And ask yourself: What lights me up? What do you get excited about? Were there things you did before kids that you loved and have put on the shelf for the time being? Are there new issues that have come up since having kids that you feel strongly about? (For example since having boys, I have a real passion for making parents aware of the dangers of pornography. This isn’t something that was even on my radar before kids.) Have you discovered gifts during your parenting years that you didn’t even know you had? (Maybe supporting your kids’ clubs or teams pointed to a skill or gift of administration that you didn’t even know had before.) Have you found a role in ministry that you feel called to do more of!? Ponder the things you do well and consider how you might grow these into more one day.
The key to all of this? I’m pretty sure it’s paying attention.
Then, get strategic about the next steps. Can you ask your husband for a couple hours a week away from kids to do something that fills your tank or develops your passion? Can you start a Pinterest board to gather your ideas? Is there some fringe hour that you might begin to dabble in the hobbies and passions you once knew or are ready to learn? It might be as simple as joining a weekly Bible study or planning a day out with a good friends once a month. But do begin.
I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to direct you. Check your motives and your heart. Use what you have to serve others. Not every hobby will turn into a job, but consider if that would be possible. (Perhaps you could trade in a job you don’t love for your own business one day!)
There is no better example of all of this than the Proverbs 31 woman. Read about her and be inspired.
I feel compelled to add here that it is important to guard our priorities. Sometimes we get so excited about something new that we then get off balance in the opposite direction. I’ve seen more than a few women sign up for a “home business” that led them to extensive travel and families that unraveled while mom “built her business.” (noooo!) I am personally glad I didn’t start my online work until after my 4th son was born because in those earlier years when my husband was in medical school/residency and the boys were all young it was really important that I was with them pretty much all of the time. Later I had more support with the kids and more freedom to carve out time to write and work. (And now I still have to guard myself from doing too much because I love my work but I still have a family that needs me!)
So I encourage you to pray and keep growing. Find what fuels you — whether it’s creative or meditative, social or solitary, work or play or anything else.
I am convinced that when we fuel our soul we are better for everyone in our life! And over time you, like me, may be surprised by what the Lord does with that little passion that grows inside of you!
There is so much more we could talk about on this topic, but if this gets you excited like it does me, I think you’ll LOVE this coming Tuesday’s Boy Mom Podcast episode with Stefanie Gass. (episode #45) We’ll be talking all about how moms can “Find what Fuels their souls” over there, and I think our conversation will pump you up and make things super practical, too!
Be sure to subscribe to the Boy Mom Podcast on your device (just click “subscribe in your podcast app) and listen in on Tuesday morning!
Would you leave a comment at the bottom of this post and just share with us where you are in this process of finding what fuels your soul?
Big hugs and lots of cheers as you become a whole, balanced mom, even in the middle of raising kids. YOU CAN DO THIS!
Thanks for reading this post today. If you found the message helpful, please share it through social media links below! Tag me on social media if you happen to post something related to this topic — I love to share those in my feed, too!
My book, BOY MOM, was released in August of 2019 (Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers) and is full of practical advice and helpful resources for raising boys. It’s also a great study for small groups!