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12 Reasons Moms Put Their Dreams on Hold

During a virtual conversation with a friend, she shared her belief that I was capable of more than I realized. Essentially, she said I should dream big because I can achieve big things.

It must have been obvious that self-doubt had crept in along the way, causing me to feel less capable, qualified and able to do the thing I had once thought I was meant to do: write. She didn't know it, but her words shined a light on a place within that had grown dark. And with each keystroke, the light grew brighter.

Several months ago, I walked away from blogging entirely after excitedly leaping toward it just a couple of years prior. I wanted to embrace what I believed was my new truth, one in which writing wasn't a part of who I am but rather who I was.

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I struggled to do the dance that so many of us who blog do—a delicate dance in which we share and strive to be true to our own stories while trying to honor and be thoughtful of those who touch our lives. I wasn't sure if I would be gone for a short time or forever. I just knew it was what I needed to do then.

But the light continued to grow brighter, not long after the needs of my family changed. So here I am, slowly but surely, dancing again.

Having my child alongside me inspired me to reach higher, to never give up.

As a young twentysomething with a little one in tow, I dreamed big. Having my child alongside me inspired me to reach higher, to never give up. After I had my second child, I took up leaping—I leaped into a new role as a work-at-home mom with a career as a freelance writer.

Still, as I've grown I've found that I no longer dream the big dreams that I used to. Motherhood was always a dream of mine, and for the most part it has been enough, except for the bit of restlessness I feel within when I think I'm not doing all that I was created to do. I limit myself and my dreams and sometimes even my God. I've watched as other moms I know press pause on their dreams too, immersing themselves in mothering and/or work, for various reasons.

1. Fear of failure

As a wife and mother, the risks are greater. If my dream doesn't come into fruition or things take a turn for the worst, my family will be impacted. The last thing I want is my family to end up paying for a poor choice I made.

2. We believe we have to choose

We've been told time and time again that we can't have it all. So we choose. And when faced with a decision between your dreams and your family, family wins. What we don't realize is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

3. Priorities

As mothers we have priorities, and most often on the list of priorities we place ourselves—and our dreams—at the very bottom.

4. Fear of disappointment

For some of us the fear of disappointment, letting down the people we love and ourselves, is so great that we choose to remain stagnant. We don't want to get our hopes up because that leaves room for disappointment.

5. Feeling inadequate

What if we believed in ourselves the way that we believe in our babies?

We question whether or not we can. What if we believed in ourselves the way that we believe in our babies? How often do we use just to describe what we do? "Oh, I just (insert that really awesome thing that you do)." But the word "just" doesn't do our dreams or us justice.

6. We made the mistake of comparing

Comparison is so detrimental to your very existence and can do some major damage to your dreams. In longing for someone else's grass, yours is sure to wither.

7. We feel there's not enough time

Motherhood is proof that time waits for no man (or mom). Our babies seem to grow more quickly than our hearts beat. And because time is so precious, we decide to spend it pouring into our families rather than our other passions. We forget that having things that we love to do and excel at outside of motherhood aren't just gifts to us but to our children too—and perhaps even to those who live beyond the walls of our homes.

8. The Shoulds

We are so focused on what we think we should be doing that it gets in the way of us doing what we were meant to do—that thing we do that always feels right, and the path we seem to find ourselves back on no matter how many times we venture off course for more stable predictable ground. Perhaps it's time to do that thing?

9. We seek stability

When presented with a choice, as a mom I tend to go for the less risky option. When given a choice, we opt for the sure thing, the steady 9 to 5 with benefits. Things like stability and job security and biweekly direct deposits are all pretty desirable as you are building a family. And that's OK. But it's also OK to let go of that. I am seeing that instability is what keeps me moving forward, discovering and working toward what is next. When I become too comfortable, I lose some of my drive.

10. A sense of obligation

Sometimes we feel such a deep sense of obligation to others that we allow that to trump everything else. We force our passions to take a back seat while we tend to the people and commitments that fill our schedule. But what if we felt that same sense of obligation when it came to cultivating our callings?

11. A crisis

There's nothing like a crisis to throw you off course. Go through a major challenge or suffer a great loss and you may find yourself questioning everything, including your dreams.

12. Our relationships

If things are off in our personal relationships, we may struggle to muster the fervor it takes to fuel our efforts in accomplishing our dreams. Once upon a time I believed that my husband and I had to have all of the same dreams. But now I realize that what matters most is that we honor those dreams and support each other as we work toward them.

Our "big" is what helps us to embark upon those seemingly lofty dreams that are growing inside of our hearts.

When I was doing something that I loved, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was happier and more fulfilled. I had more to give because I often felt replenished by my endeavors.

"You have big in you," my friend said. In a sense, seeing those words gave me permission to start dreaming again. You can be a great mother and a dreamer of dreams. I speak from experience when I say that seeing my dreams come to fruition has been so much sweeter with my husband and babies celebrating beside me.

I hope to raise daughters who won't be afraid to pursue their dreams even within the trenches of parenthood. Because it's possible to cultivate your passions while cultivating smaller humans who know that with faith, dedication and hard work, they can do the very things they long to do.

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There is "big" in all of us mamas; our big is what helps us to embark upon those seemingly lofty dreams that are growing inside of our hearts. And I don't think it—our big—is there for us to bury it deep and hide as we navigate the various stages of motherhood. I think we're supposed to let our "big" loose, and maybe, just maybe, doing that will inspire others to do the same.

Image via Krishann Briscoe

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