Hold On Tight to Your Dreams

It’s one of my favorite songs. I’ve got it on one of my favorite compilation cds, and I made that cd long before the current Honda commercial. Anyway, I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, both via the cd and the commercial. And it hurts my heart sometimes.

Because somehow my dreams seem to be burbling on the back burner, and I can’t manage to get them to the front where I can really tend to them. I am supposed to be a writer, but the only writing I’ve actually been doing lately is on this blog (which is fun, of course, don’t get me wrong), and on papers I grade for my teaching job. So when I got the letter in the mail today from the Chicken Soup people, confirming their acceptance of something I wrote and submitted over two years ago, all I could do was cry. Writing is not supposed to be a little perk in my day every now and then. It’s supposed to be my main thing. Writing has been my one and only dream since elementary school, when I’d go through stacks of that brownish paper with the enormous line spacing, writing stories and poems and songs and (clean) limericks. I don’t want to give it up or let it go. But I just don’t know how to get to it.

Of course, I’m raising two lovely daughters with an amazingly strong, gentle husband. I’m also teaching wonderful teenagers how to appreciate the beauty of the written word. And spending my days in other completely worthwhile, lovely ways. I feel sometimes like I’m looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow, but I’m very much enjoying sitting on top of the rainbow in the meantime.

So, here is my “what works for you” question (in case you were wondering when I’d get to it): How do you balance all your daily tasks–the noble (child-rearing, spousing, ministry) as well as the mundane (dishes, dusting, vacuuming and laundry)?

I hope you have some ideas for me. Head over to Rocks in My Dryer to see what ideas Shannon might need.


22 thoughts on “Hold On Tight to Your Dreams

  1. Oh gosh, honey…that’s such a struggle for me, too. I just do the best I can. I also try not to hold myself to impossible standards. I used to be so very hard on myself until one day I just couldn’t hold it all together perfectly, had a meltdown, and had to cut myself some slack.

  2. I often refer to the verse in James about “counting it all joy” and try to see each act as an act of service and of ministry to my family. This is of course impossible to do at all times, but when I am reminded, it sure makes things easier!

  3. Delegate! I hate it when the Spouse rolls my fresh from the dryer sheets into a ball and shoves them in the linen closet. I can’t bear it when the children put my clean tupperware away with the pots and pans. I cringe when they ALL wipe down the bathroom counter but forget the mirror and put the TP on the roller backwards…But I ask them to help me with the laundry, dishes and cleaning anyway and I never complain about how they do it. I just thank them for getting it done. That’s what works for me.

  4. Mandy, Congratulations on Chicken Soup!! Your dream has become a reality. I’m a writer too and a mom, wife, daughter, friend, teacher, neighbor, the list just keeps going. I fully understand how you feel and I think many of us go through similar feelings; you are not alone. What works for me is to make writing one of my many priorities. Right now no matter what else is going on, I make sure I wake up early — long before anyone else — and I write for 1-3 hours before the day begins. When I was still working I would also do the same thing late at night if I wasn’t too tired. It helps to have a husband willing to help with housework, with getting the children out of your hair for a while or both. My husband is a writer too so we know what we need from each other and we tag teamed with taking care of our son when he was a baby. Now that our son is older it is much easier as we can all sit quietly writing and reading to help the others write/read. Don’t give up! You can do it. Feel free to write me a confidential comment if you’d like. It doesn’t post automatically, I have to moderate. Don’t give up.

  5. My dreams are kinda on the back burner too, and I’m also wondering how to fit it all in. What God is showing me is that there are seasons. Seasons in life. It doesn’t happen all at once. He is molding and shaping you into His image. Let Him take His time. Meanwhile, keep doing what is in front of you. And keep seeking Him.

  6. I agree with what Cyndy says about dreams. We have our children for such a short while, we need to enjoy every minute we can with them. As to getting the chores done, let your family help and don’t worry if they don’t do it perfectly.

    And back to the writing…when you write on your blog, you are perfecting your craft. Every time you get an acceptance letter from something like Chicken Soup (congrats by the way), you are perfecting your craft. Continue to look for ways that you can fit it in…do book reviews for instance. And then when life slows down commitment wise (and it will), you can take all you have learned and turn that dream into reality.

    Also, write down your story ideas now for later. You are experiencing life…don’t let that slip by unremembered.

  7. Well…balance is a good word for it…but remember it’s still the IDEAL not a state you find and keep since Life is always throwing ya curve balls! *wink*

    Start in prayer. And, schedule every livin’ thing some time! LOL As “unromantic” and “un-spontaneous” as it sounds, I assign time to each thing….DaHubby, the Vikings, mundane, and noble.

    With little ones, early mornings are generally “mundane” times: I get the dishes done, lists printed out, piles sorted for laundry, piles by the front door for errands, miscellaneous cleaning duties (that need to be done without little hands helping *wink*) etc.

    Once the Vikings are up and fed, it’s errand time or “kid” time depending on the day. No matter how many things are on the to-do list, I try to put aside one piece of time to do something THEY want to do – a stop at the park, the local Dairy Queen with an inside playscape, etc.

    Home for lunch and some more kid/snuggle time..then nap/quiet time!

    Then, during naps is usually my “work”/ministry time. That’s when I make calls, work on the newsletter for church, type up reports, etc.

    Then, the evening chaos beings! LOL Dinner, meetings/commitments, and bedtime. My “me” or our “us” time is usually after the Vikings hit their pillows.

    My two cents…

  8. Cyndy already touched on this, but I just wanted to say it too. Right now, I’ve chosen to make my hubby & kids my “main thing.” I’ve let the rest slide. Sometimes it makes me crazy to think that I’m not doing what I want to/could be doing (like last summer when my daughter saw a bunch of kids playing at a daycare and wondered why I don’t let her go there all day, ’cause that looks like FUN), but when I remind myself that 1.) these children will only be young once and I only have the opportunity to influence them and show them love like this now! and 2.) this whole wife/mom is a pretty noble calling. In the Bible children are always referred to as a blessing, and I want to remember that perspective. Then if there’s time left for the other goals, I pursue those . . . but for now they are just a bonus.

  9. For me I have to make lists. I have to check the list and make sure I’m staying on task. I can’t depend on lists in my head I have to write them out…
    When my mundane is in order I have more freedom for the deeper more relational things in my life.
    Thanks for sharing your favorite books on my blog…

  10. Thanks everyone. It’s interesting to see how each of you interpreted my dilemma a bit differently. I wonder if each person saw it in relation to their own struggles.

    Please understand that I adore all my time with my children and my husband. And I am a huge delegator (as my previous WFMW post, “Job Descriptions for Kids” explains). I admit that I sometimes don’t tell my husband how much help I really need, because he’s swamped in his own right, and I’m the one who’s here at home, even if I am busy doing other things.

    I do not want to sacrifice time with my family for writing. But I honestly feel that God is pressing on me the need to be writing NOW, not later.

    I think my confusion lies in the fact that I have too many things that I want on the front burners, and not enough burners to go around. I want to focus on my girls, and I love those days when we have a full day of home schooling, with fun art projects and books to read and time to giggle. I also love the days when they’re so busy, I have time to write. And I love my class time when I’m teaching. And, of course, time with Pete.

    Perhaps it really is as simple as organizing my time better. I tend to make things murky and mystical, and maybe it’s just about doing all the chores in the morning, like Beth said, which would open up more hours in the middle of the day.

    Thanks for all the ideas. I’m mulling. 🙂

  11. A lady I know, Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, wrote a book called Pen on Fire, about how she manages to write books while being a SAHM amongst other things. It really helped me a lot. She included exersizes to help get you on the right track. I highly recommend it. Here is the Amazon link, though it might be at your library. http://www.amazon.com/Pen-Fire-Womans-Igniting-Writer/dp/0156029782/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-4226170-3599206?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1194448761&sr=1-1

  12. I kinda feel the same way. And I myself don’t know what to do. But these tips and advice are pretty good. Hope things get better and you feel happy 🙂

  13. I think since Eve women have struggled with this one! For me, a single Mom, it’s even more of a struggle when I add in retirement planning, college savings. Here’s what I try to do: delegate, one thing each day, pray, forget the rest! My kids take care of their bathroom, bedrooms and living room [since it’s usually 100% their mess!] They alternate on trash or dishwasher, feed pets, get clothes down to the machine etc. I CANNOT do it all and earn a living!!

    I also have learned what “good enough” is and leave it at that with no hand-wringing, soul-searching enquiries into the damage I am doing to my kids souls by not decorating for every holiday or what-have-you.
    God nags at me when I don’t hold to “good enough.” He doesn’t ask for perfection. He asks for us to pay attention to him and not to Martha Stewart and the wanna-be Marthas. Blogging is a great, quick, way to stay in touch with your dreams.

    Finally there is NOTHING wrong with taking time for yourself. If your kids are teens have them cook/clean up one or two times a week. They’ll be better prepared for life for it! If everyone but you is happy watching a movie or playing cards let them enjoy it and take your own time. It’s ok–really!! Share your dreams with them too. They can really suprise you with support!! Especially if you give them clear ways they can support you.

    I’m sure you do a great job for your family. Let go and let them do the same for you!!!

    I’ll keep you and yours in prayer and look forward to reading more of your writing.

  14. When I was in middle school (many moons ago – I’m a teacher now too ;o) my mom decided it was finally time to pursue her dreams of going to college. She started with one night class at a time and built up. It caused extra stress in our home occasionally and it definitely meant that the house was messier on a day-to-day basis. But my sister and I saw first hand how important it was to follow your dreams. I think we learned a lot more from Mama’s brave decision to go to college than we would have if she’d put her dreams on the back burner and focused on the house. She taught us by example to be courageous.

    Be brave. Forget the housework and the mundane. Sit. Type. Live!

  15. Without a vision, the people perish…For me, I have to keep the dreams on the front burner, or at least near the front burner. They may not occupy as much of my time as I’d like, but they need to get some time!

  16. I have been working through a great book called Your Best Year Yet (as a matter of fact I gave it away in the Fall Y’all give away). It has helped me focus on the roles in my life and my goals for each role. It talks a lot about balancing the roles in our lives. Maybe it would help you too. I guess I’m a pretty firm believer that we as women CAN have it all, but we can’t have it all at once. But if God is pressing, you’d best listen!!

  17. Congrats on the Chicken Soup Entry!!

    I’m a teacher too so I know how hectic it can get. Put aside 20 minutes everyday for yourself – no television, give the children something to do (like dust) and sit down and have some time.
    Keep writing everyday – even if it is just a little bit.

    Yes, sometimes it’s easier said then done. Sometimes I take a nap in the afternoon and then wake up and do a cleaning spree!

  18. I know what you mean about putting dreams on the back burner. I was supposed to graduate in 2010 with a degree in History with a minor in English, but in June I found out I was pregnant. I have to put everything on hold for a long time. I hope you get your writing back on track. At least you are still writing!

  19. Activities Coordinator said it best, I think. Like anything, if it’s part of your daily to-do list, you’ll keep your writing dream on simmer and not on the back burner. You obviously have a busy schedule every day, but to attain your dreams you do have to work a plan of sorts. Check out this article on prioritizing and see if there are nuggets here that you haven’t thought of recently.


    Good luck!

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