Julia Bringhurst Blake's crowning act of juvenile rebellion was leaving her hometown of Logan, UT to attend BYU. She was welcomed home by her math professor father only after deciding to marry an actuary. She studied Food Science and Nutrition, but wishes her degree were in something business or finance related. She is still enjoying marital and motherly bliss after many years. Having given birth to 5 sons and a daughter, Julia is a recovering baby addict. She is also a confessed dessert snob who will happily share her recipes. She is known to tell those she loves if their clothes are boring, frumpy or unflattering. She loves them even if they don't listen to her. Some day she hopes to have daughters-in-law who like her.
I'm not sure I should blame Dare to Dream for distracting me from my dream. It wasn't the first time I've been distracted. In 19 years of marriage and 17 years of motherhood distraction has been the norm actually. I was a pre-med major and sometimes regret not going to medical school. When I turned 30 I even opened up an old chemistry book to study for the MCAT. I have often looked around at mothers who are business women, doctors, investors, artists, architects, writers and dreamed of being like them. Since having children I have started successful businesses, managed record breaking fundraisers, had products featured in Boston Baby Magazine, renovated homes, and much more while being a ‘stay-at-home-mom'. Yet none of these were my primary dream. They gave me some fleeting fulfillment and freedom, but my babies were growing up while I was distracted.
When I encountered Dare to Dream I was erroneously convinced that I was falling short of my potential if I didn't pursue some big dream outside of motherhood. Eventually, I pushed back at this distortion to recognize that I am living my dream and that I do not want lesser dreams overpower it. My dream is to enjoy a successful marriage and family.
I didn't achieve my dream when I got married and had children – it had just begun. I was a different person the moment my first child was placed on my chest in the delivery room. I felt my life take on a significance that it didn't have previously. It is not always joy though, like the early years when one of my babies was born several years premature. The pregnancy was planned, just not so soon. I was way over my head and clawing just to make it through each day. Today it still isn't joy when ungrateful kids ignore what I have taught them, pass bad habits along to younger siblings, fight with each other and let their gym clothes fester in the locker room all year. The sheer quantity of what is required of me overwhelms at times and it is arduous to feel peace. I try to laugh at the reality that I can't finish the laundry, clean the house, provide nutritious meals, exercise and shower all in the same week (by the way, I love dry shampoo and I never skip showers for more than a couple of days).
This past fall I returned from a two year maternity leave (my guarded time for eliminating all unnecessary activities to enjoy my baby) to a plethora of labors surrounding the entire family. I had comically over committed yet at once comprehended that this was my time to be involved. I knew that my deepest satisfaction was in doing the work that accompanies raising children. For example, I noticed it makes me blissful to feed my teenage boys. They sincerely appreciate my food. It doesn't seem so long ago when one of them was six and asked me why everything I cook is ‘totally disgusting'. When I sign up to feed the football team I'm not having it catered and I am not cutting corners. I'm making a complete dinner from scratch. This over-achieving briefly distracts me from the main goal, but my boys know that I put the time in for them and their friends. Admittedly, I love hearing that ours was the best team dinner. That's more than enough payment for me. All of the ‘homemaking' tasks are the collateral to my dream and not what actually matters except to the extent that they bring happiness. If I can be happy doing the tasks and involve my children in them, then the work is an important part of the goal.
I love waking up in the morning and deciding what I want to do. I don't have a boss or a client dictating that. If I don't feel like doing the laundry – the kids can do it themselves or wear something else. If I don't clean the house – I am the only one who cares. When I skip the grocery shopping or don't cook we eat cereal. I love being able to choose.
I get to go to my kids' sports events, help them practice the piano, tutor them academically, play games with them, read to them, listen to them, teach them to scrub a toilet and hang up their clothes, stay awake with them when they are sick, and so on. Of course there are parts of my job that I like better than others, and times when the words coming out of my mouth will surely land my offspring in counseling. Above all I recognize that I have the freedom everyday to choose how I want to improve, who I want to serve, and what I want to create and accomplish. Those years that I spent focused on other things were weaved with guilt. By some blessed chance I have come to a place where I don't feel guilt for what I do and don't do. When I take a few hours or days for myself and personal interests I don't feel the guilt that I once did. Maybe it is because I decided that this dream is enough.
In less than 2 years my oldest will leave home. I am clinging to every day I have with him. When my youngest is gone I will evaluate new dreams but for now this one requires everything I have.
Do you have a dream right in front you?