Passion Pursuits for Parents: Mission Possible?

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When you have a family like this to feed, finding interesting food (like purple carrots) is part of the fun.

Have you ever gone a bit overboard doing something you love? Like, to the point where even though you’re tired and know there are other things to be done, you just can’t help yourself?

Well, that seems to be me in a nutshell these days. The tough thing is that as a parent, the more passions you have, the less time you have to do anything.

I’m into month four of life as a family foursome. I remember people (friends, authors, strangers) saying that you’d have to choose what to let go when you have more kids.

Thing is, I’m finding more than ever that my passions are aligned with how I want to raise and care for my family—my passions are for healthy eating and well-being.

Yesterday, the weather was glorious in Northern Virginia. I rode my bike for the first time in really a year given pregnancy and postpartum, and rolled across town doing errands. I couldn’t help but stop into the new girl’s fitness clothing store in Vienna, ivivva (by parent company Lululemon) as I biked on by. And I further couldn’t stop myself from talking with the two lovely staff members there about the mission of this line of clothes to help girls to include movement in their lives, and how this connects with my own work and interests to support strong kids.

And last night, while my husband was in NYC visiting grandma, I sighed with relief at not having to cook dinner—happy to have leftovers alone. But, I just couldn’t help trying out this Umami Sauce from Dr. Andrew Weil’s True Food cookbook I got the day before. I made it and added dollops on the leftover chicken, potatoes and veggies. (It’s utterly delicious and goes on loads of foods. Definitely worth a try!)

IMG_1409The examples go on and on. Despite having a three-year-old and a four-month-old, I’m reading the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day to learn how to make my own bread (quickly). I’m fermenting pickles and salsa. I just rearranged my spice cabinet for easy access to my favorite ingredients.

Crazy? Yes! But this pursuit is inextricably tied to the health of my family. And when you have passions, they creep into your mind and life no matter how much you try to hold back for the sake of time and sanity.

But, is it realistic to have passion pursuits while raising a young family?

Sometimes I’ll listen to classical music and get a bit sad because it reminds me of the incredible musical education my younger self had across a decade. I’m so grateful I can hum along to many classical pieces, yet also blue that I’m not really playing the piano or clarinet as I did in my youth. I wonder if I’ll ever get back to playing again, even close to the caliber I was once at.

And then I realize that there are new passions, and wonder if perhaps right now is a time to focus on these. Or maybe I’ll always be focused on these current passions, but one day, when my kids are a little older, I’ll have time for the other passion pursuits.

As a parent, it seems we have to accept losing control not only over what our little people do and how that affects us, but also losing control over what we do with our own, now more limited, time—what we secure for ourselves, our own personhood, and our growth.

I read something about how when you have children—especially more than one—they sort of tear down the self you knew so that you can recreate a new self that will parent them and exist within that family. Perhaps there’s space in there for the passion pursuits that emerge and blur the line of parent and person.

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