Any parent will confirm that raising children can be extremely hard work. And between sleepless nights, soccer practices and school interviews, it can be easy as a parent to just keep putting your own goals on hold. After all, there’s enough to worry about with just getting yourself and your kids through the day. Anything else can get assigned to the backburner, right?
In other words, it can be easy to let your kids become your excuse. This might sound harsh, but don’t get me wrong... we aren’t superheroes and expectations on parents are high enough. But if you keep falling back on your commitments to your kids as an excuse for not achieving what you truly desire, it could be worth questioning your mindset. Here are some reasons why...
1. Your successes are their successes
When you become a parent, you enter into an incredible symbiotic relationship where your achievements become your children’s successes, and vice versa. By the same token, if you’re happy, it’s a lot more likely that your children will be happy too.
In other words, it’s okay to be ‘selfish’ and pursue your own goals and dreams, because it’s not really being selfish at all. Your kids will reap the benefits of that investment, just as you share in and reap the benefits of their accomplishments.
2. You become a role model
Once you’re a parent, you automatically become your child’s number one role model. What you do will stick with your kids and will shape not only them but also their children and future generations too. This may seems like a lot of pressure – and it is. But allow the pressure to become a motivator, not paralyse you.
Remember that you are no longer just thinking about your future self, but someone else’s too.
So what behaviours do you want to model? It could be spending less time on your laptop or on your phone, cooking healthy dinners or displaying a good work ethic. Whatever it is, use your kids’ future selves as the ultimate incentive to set your goals and follow through on them.
3. You’re part of a team
One of the awesome things about having a family is that you don’t have to do life alone. Not only are your kids the ultimate motivator, they are also a valuable source of support. Their presence in your life means that you have a companion for your journey; someone that will be there every step of the way and who can even help you to reach your goals.
Have you been wanting to get fit or lose weight? Use this as an opportunity to spend more time with your child by going for walks or joining a sports club together. Thinking about starting your own business? Build it together, get their input and enlist their help where you can.
Use your goal as a unique opportunity to bond, work together as a team and create memories for years to come.
4. You’re in a unique position for self-growth
It can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking the best time to have achieved your dreams is before you had kids – back when you had less responsibility, more time, more freedom…
The reality is though if you approach your goals with this mindset, there never will be the ‘right time’. The absolutely ideal conditions never exist and there is no going back in time; the best (and only) time is now.
Not only this, but there are plenty of other reasons why it makes sense to pursue your ambitions once you’ve become a parent. Being a parent changes you – it teaches you resilience, responsibility, discipline and other character building traits. These are all important qualities that will help you achieve your goals.
5. Your kids are your catalyst
If you’ve ever watched any reality TV, you’ll have noticed that whenever contestants are asked why they’re putting themselves through a crazy, stressful situation, a good percentage of the time they answer the same way: ‘I’m doing this for my family’.
A cynic would write this off as pandering to the audience. I don’t believe this though, and it’s for one good reason: we’re often more willing to make changes for those we care about than we are for ourselves. With ourselves as our sole focus and motivation, we may want to change, but without anyone else to be accountable for, it’s easy to fall back into old habits.
Once we feel the tug of responsibility, however, and the desire to make our kids proud, we will surprise ourselves by what we can achieve. Harness this power.
No excuses left?
You know what to do then!
Get moving and share this with another parent who needs to too! #growingupgreat