Ten years ago, I wrote my first blog post on my brand new website. It was called Musings of a Soccer Mom. My son was 4 years old and had just started pee wee soccer.
I was overwhelmed with his refusal to play on the team. The coach was super nice and supportive, and would offer him ice pops in reward for trying to get on the field. When he did play, my son would wander around, lost in his thoughts, like Ferdinand the Bull who only wanted to laze about and smell the flowers. Soccer was this exciting, stressful, new thing in my life and I though it would be fun to write a mommy blog post as I maneuvered my way through toddler hood with two young boys in diapers.
Boy, have things changed.
I just picked my son up from practice at track. He’s taller than me and eats more than I can buy. I can smell his sneakers from ten miles away and am always armed with Febreze. He’s super fast and running with the seniors on varsity, though he’s only a freshman. He’s in advanced classes and starts his first year of high school.
Now, I worry about other things. Keeping him safe. Helping him navigate the beginning of adulthood. Supporting him through a schedule packed with way too many activities and too much pressure from…everyone. And I thought today – my Lord, what I would give to just have one more hour on that soccer field, laughing and shaking my head when he refused to play because he was too lazy to run after a ball in a crowd.
I wasn’t writing full time then. I was hopeful, full of dreams and goals and motivations that burned fiercely within and never flickered out. I was determined to make it—so I was writing around the clock, juggling being a mom and a day job with a long commute, and since I was broke, I learned everything on my own. How to do a website, how to market myself, how to set up all my social media accounts and organically grow fans. My research hours were almost as much as my writing hours but I also felt like I was moving forward.
You need to be brave and push hard when you’re focused on a big dream. And many times, no one will give you the answers. You need to find them yourself.
But the payoff? Definitely worth it.
Thinking about the past and the present made me realize it’s just as important to assess and be grateful for where you currently are – and all the successes and failures that put you here. We all need to be proud of what we’ve accomplished, yet we are our harshest critics. We crave better; bigger; faster; more.
Now, I have more than forty published books behind me. I thought back then if I could ever get to this place, everything would be easier. Writing would be easier. Life would be easier. Isn’t it supposed to once you achieve the dream you always wanted?
It’s not. It’s different. Like motherhood, my problems seem more grown-up, though you can’t compare because I was different then years ago. Now, I worry about selling enough, being a good enough writer, keeping it fresh and relevant, not disappointing my team. The stakes seem higher. Every book is analyzed for branding, content, marketability. There is less PLAYTIME.
I’m not complaining. I love being a mom of teenage boys. I love being a full time writer.
But taking a breath and a smile could be the most important thing we do for ourselves. I made mistakes as a Mom, but I’m proud of who my boys are, and how I helped them in the process. I’m proud of the writer I’ve emerged into, even with the multiple errors and failures along the way.
Take the moment and appreciate yourself and how you’ve changed.
Take a breath and appreciate all you have, even if it’s changed.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy, successful school year!