Before my SAHM days, I was a very career-driven teacher. You might even say that my career was my identity. Enter motherhood. (It has a way of changing things, right?) I’ve been out of the classroom full time for 5 years, and as far as my children know and understand, I don’t have a career. Which is okay, but they don’t know the hiney-kicking, set big goals and exceed them Suzanne that I “used” to be. And that DOES bother me. I have three impressionable little girls and a toddler son. How can I teach them to dream big if they don’t see ME dreaming big?
So in the last few weeks, I’ve set out to change that. We’ve added a small step to our bedtime routine: Every night, my girls tell me one “big dream” they have. And then they make me share my big dream, too. Y’all. I have learned SO much about my kids and their hearts with these talks.
Jonna inevitably talks about rescuing animals from poachers, but she usually adds a second dream as well. Sometimes very elaborate and sometimes as simple as “I want to see a rainbow.”
Zanna’s big dreams change almost nightly. One night her ultimate goal is to ride on a firetruck, and the next night she wants to be Wonder Woman. But my heart broke a little the night she told me, “I just want to be important to people.” At first I panicked — was this some sort of middle-child cry for help? But she kept talking, and I realized what she meant was that she wanted to impact people, to make a difference. I’d say that’s a pretty big and noble dream for a 5 year old.
Little Mila’s dream every night is the same: “I just want to be with my fambily at Dis-a-ney.” Gah, I just love her!
And while I have loved hearing their sweet little voices share their dreams each night, I didn’t truly realize the impact it was having on them. Until Jonna looked at me one day (not night) and said, “Mom, I just know I can rescue animals. I know it will be hard, but I just know I can do it. I can just feel it inside me.” Cue all the tears. Yes, baby, you CAN do it, and you WILL do it.
Nope. No, Thank You.
But then, last week, they heard a new song come on the radio. A song called “Dream Small.” And I totally get the intent of the song. But my three girls put up a protest the likes of which I have never seen: “Mom, why are they dreaming small? That’s not right, Mom. You’re supposed to dream big. Why do they keep saying dream small? I don’t understand.”
And I decided not to even attempt to explain. So when that song comes on the radio, they demand a station change. At 6, 5, and 3 they refuse to even entertain for a second the thought that they should settle for small dreams. Wouldn’t you know it? I set out to teach them to dream big, and here they are teaching me the same lesson.
Yes, your dreams and goals may change once you become a mom. But don’t forget them, friends. Teach your kids to dream big. But don’t give up on your own dreams. Your kids will cheer you on.