Do you still follow your dreams? — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Do you still follow your dreams?

by Laurie


Do you still nurture your own dreams?

I’m headed across the country to She Speaks in North Carolina next week. It’s the next step in my journey toward a dream.

In preparation, I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams and purpose. Hours have passed writing a book proposal, working on talks for the speaker evaluation groups. I’m up WAY too late, even now, because I’ve been writing.

Why in the world do I invest this much effort into following my dreams? Because if I didn’t, I couldn’t make it through days like today.

Days when medications are imbalanced in my 8 year old, and every transition, change and limit I set with her becomes a nuclear explosion. Days when my younger daughter’s ADHD is leaving a trail of destruction and dismantled appliances in my house. When my oldest’s bipolar-driven agitation has created physical symptoms of stress so severe it makes her vomit.

Friends, if I didn’t nurture the dream of writing a book or developing my speaking skills, I think I’d lose my mind.

So instead of going nuts, I pursue dreams independent of life as mom and I help other parents like me get through the tough times. Does that mean I’m less invested at home? No. Does it mean I love my work more than my kids? No. It just means this is how our family lives the mantra “if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” It’s what fills me up so I can keep pouring life into my kids, despite their intense needs.

Do you regularly make time to go after your dreams? What dream can you cultivate today?



Email Author    |    Website About Laurie

I'm a wife and mom of four girls - two with bipolar, ADHD and developmental delays. It's a daily journey to live this life well and help my girls do the same. As a speaker and life coach, I'm committed to helping other parents thrive in this wild ride too!

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1 Debbi Henry July 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

Oh man, you are hitting me where it hurts today! I gave up all of my dreams once Gracie got her diagnosis. My old dreams don’t fit me anymore and I have been struggling to find new ones…

2 Laurie July 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm

That was me a few years ago too. It’s so hard to prioritize anything about us when life with our precious and challenging kids dominates our schedules. What were some of your dreams, if you don’t mind sharing?

3 Debbi Henry July 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm

By the time I had Gracie, I had a BA in Education and was a substitute teacher. With two kids, it was the perfect job because I could work when I had a babysitter and didn’t have to work when I needed to be home with the kids.

After Gracie’s diagnosis, we started hospital therapy three days a week, and early intervention therapy two days a week. We had tons of doctor appointments and did all of the therapy exercises when we had down time.

It didn’t take long before everything but our basic needs were being met. I also made time to be a mother to my son, who needed me too.

It was hard, but worth it. My daughter has come so far, and is doing so much more than we were told she would be able to do.

However, there are days when I wonder where I lost myself. The thought of being a teacher in a classroom full of kids is too overwhelming now. I would like to find something to do, a new dream, but I still don’t see how it will work. Gracie is nine years old now, but she is still in therapy and has tons of doctor appointments and I want to be there for all of that.

I gladly gave up my dreams to do what she needed. However, there are days where I wonder what I should do now.

4 Laurie July 12, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I know what you mean. When I first thought about what I’d do as the kids began getting independent, I didn’t come up with anything. I knew I didn’t want to go back to classroom teaching (like you, I felt like that was too much with the kids to come home to everyday!) I needed something that used my strengths so it didn’t drain what energy I had left. That left writing and speaking since I got to learn lots of things in either one. It’s amazing how much energy I get by doing both things. It fuels me for the tough stuff at home.

In terms of what you’d do…. What if time, money and Gracie’s care weren’t an issue? What do you love? What do you think about when you have a free minute?

5 Amanda Daybyday July 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Yes! I’ve gone back to school part time. I love it. I remember that I’m actually good at something (when I feel like I’m a parental failure). There are days when I wonder if I should be doing this? Should I be using my school time to work on all the things I could be doing for my kids? I’m not always 100% sure I’m doing the right thing, but I can tell you this – I’m happier. My anxiety is under control. I have hope. And my kids are fine – I think.

6 Laurie July 13, 2011 at 1:21 am

That is so wonderful! Sounds like it gives you a lot of energy and that you really like it.

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