Having kids gave me the power to chase my dreams

Becoming a mother doesn't mean you stop dreaming.

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Being a mom with a creative calling can be difficult. Suddenly you are stretched so thin that you need to shift your priorities. Newborns and kids come first, and you are glad to do it. Your life has changed in the most dramatic of ways, and you do what you need to do.

When I initially became a mom, my dreams took a back seat. And really, that's how it had to be. When you are in survival mode and living your life in two-hour increments, it's hard to find the energy for anything else, let alone dream-chasing. It's hard to think about much else. I did not touch my writing for months after my first was born, and it was the same deal after my second.

It was like there was no room in my brain's capacity to dive into the creative. It simply is not a priority. Survival is the priority. Recovery is the priority.

However, even after 2 kids and having my life be so focused on other people, you'd think I may have pushed all my dreams aside indefinitely. But the opposite has happened.


Writing has always been a part of my life. Even when not actively writing, I still consider myself to be a writer. I started writing fiction stories at the age of 10. In the '90s, American Girl released a "Girl of Today" line where you could pick elements of your doll's appearance. This product was the most exciting that they had released so far because, along with the doll, you got the power to create her story. She came with six blank books for you to build her world. I was so excited that I started writing before she even arrived at my house. The idea that I could give her an entire life was so inspiring that I didn't want to wait. Each book was just 20 pages. By the time I got to the sixth one, I cut and glued in many extra pages. Her story wasn't nearly done. I wasn't done. I was hooked. I was a writer.

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As with everything else in life, things changed when I became a mom. I started a freelancing gig two months before I was due with my first baby and left my full-time job a few weeks before, deciding to stay home with her. I wanted to be the one there for my children. My life was completely different. I wrote a lot while waiting for the baby to come. I banked some money before she came and had some time to rest. These things were great because once she arrived, life turned upside down.

I never realized how much your mentality shifts when you have a baby. You are tired all the time because your body is not used to only sleeping for a few hours at a time (at best). Postpartum was hard for me the first time around. I had torn significantly, and my recovery was difficult. I had to sleep on the couch for a while because I could not sit up in bed to nurse her. I was on strong pain medications, still hurting, and taking care of a newborn. It was a lot to take on, so writing flipped onto the back-burner while I took some time off to adjust to an entirely new life.

Depending on how old your kids are, your creativity may ebb and flow. When you first become a mom, the focus of your life shifts. Newborns are all-consuming and shift life into two-hour increments that consist of play, feed, and sleep. I was so sleep-deprived with my first. My brain was no longer working at full capacity, and my writing got put on hold for a long time between two children. I was just trying to survive instead of thrive. My dreams were not the priority for a while, but that was okay because my brain could not handle it at that time anyway. There was too much else to do, but then the kids grew.

This huge lifestyle change has also allowed me to live a more creative life. Being able to quit a full-time job, which kept me from my calling, gave me back the power to chase my dreams and get paid for my writing. I remember that young girl who glued in those pages. The girl who was so obsessed with reading and writing. The girl who loved to make up stories. She's back. I didn't know how much I missed her, and she is worth remembering. She is the core of who I am and the one who got pushed aside when I had to work just to make money.

No longer am I chained to a desk all day waiting to go home because I dislike what I'm doing. Working for someone else took away my power. Now that I am working for myself and chasing my dreams, I have my power back. Instead, I am passionate about what I do. I am with my kids and can prioritize my writing during specific points of the day. Without being able to stay home, I would not have been able to return to writing as I have. My kids have enhanced my creativity, availability to do what I love and given me back the power to do what I love. So much of my time has been given back to me since I'm able to stay home.

My priorities have shifted, but being a writer has always been there, and as my kids have grown, I have been able to come back to it. Having kids has expanded my creativity and what I like to write about. I still enjoy writing fiction but have delved into the world of parenting and history articles. Becoming a mom has opened up a new writing subject for me because I have and am living it. I am happy again. I am inspired and fulfilled.

Having kids allowed me to take back control of my life. I get to live the life I wanted. I am working in the area I always dreamed of, and I get to stay with my two beautiful and hilarious kids. They helped me realize that I have the power to not only chase, but achieve, my dreams.

Kristen N. Winiarski spends much of her days battling her kids' hangry moods with bacon and Cookie Monster impressions. She also encourages dance parties as P.E. whenever possible. Kristen started writing at just 10 years old and excels in writing about motherhood, history, classic movies and also writes fiction. You can find her at https://knwiniarski.com and www.facebook.com/knwiniarski.

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