She. Bought. A. Store.

ships-in-harbor-george-e-lee

A friend of mine, a busy, mother of three friend of mine, just bought a store.  An actual, functioning, brick and mortar store.  (Have I mentioned how great my friends are?)

I ran into her over the weekend and was able to congratulate her on the new venture.  Imagine the look of shock that crossed my face when she said, “It was you who inspired me to do it.”

What?? I did a quick think back, and I am certain I have never advised anyone, at any time, to purchase a store!

She reminded me of a story that I shared with her a few months ago while we were in a parents meeting.

When my children’s father and I decided to divorce, I knew that I needed to provide more for my children than my high school level education would allow.  I enrolled in our local community college.  The plan was for me to complete my AA, transfer to a university, complete my BA, and become a teacher.

Just like so many stay-at-home moms, I could not see life outside of what the kids needed from me.  I was completely set on entering the world of education, touting the standard lines of the calendar matching with the kids’, summers off, all of that.  It made sense to everyone that I explained my plan to, and everyone seemed to be on board.

Until I started dating this one guy (my now husband), he asked me what I wanted to be, and I explained the plan.

He said, “That’s a nice plan, but what do you want to be?”

The simple question shook me.  I did not have a passion for teaching, and if we get right to the truth, I don’t really like other people’s kids that much.

But this was the plan.  I had a plan.

Then he said the sentence that removed the foundation of my plan right out from under me.  “Why are you basing plans for your life on a temporary situation of your kids needing you at home?”

I was speechless, but he was not as he went on to say, “By the time you finish your schooling, subbing, and get a classroom of your own, your kids will be old enough to not need you home every day.  Then you run the risk of being in a permanent job that you hate based on a temporary situation.”

I remember trying to sputter some answer about the plan, the kids needing me, all of that.

“What do YOU want to do?” came the soft question.

I had been a stay-at-home mom for over a decade.  The thought that I could do something that I wanted was so foreign to me.  I had pushed the kids’ needs and desires to the front so much that mine were virtually nonexistent.

“I want to write,” I told him.

“Then find a way,” was all he said to me.

It sounds silly looking back, but it was like I needed permission to look to what would make me happy.

As moms, we focus on the needs of our families so much, that ours get pushed aside.

I would be a terrible teacher.  I am not patient, and I really don’t like kids.  (I’m sure yours are lovely, please don’t send me hate mail.)

I told this story to my friend, who then looked around at her now school-aged kids, and when deciding what to do with her time, bought a store.

As the saying goes, “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”

Be brave.

Be daring.

Try something scary.

What do YOU want to do?

Find a way.

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