The Death of a Dream

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As little girls, many of us picture growing up and meeting the man of our dreams, starting a family, and living a happily-ever-after kind of life. Sure, as we become grown-ups we realize that nothing is perfect. There are arguments, grumpy moods, tough times. But we read parenting books and schedule date nights with our spouse, knowing that with the right tools, the right effort, life will be like our dreams again.

When I was in my early twenties, I would drive through the fun little neighborhoods around Birmingham and see moms pushing double strollers, and I would imagine myself as one of those moms. It was my dream to have a double stroller and be a mommy! I know there are other women out there who dream of travel, big careers, or the life of a fun single gal. But for me, being a mommy and a wife was my heart’s desire.

Fast forward a few years, and I did have two babies in two years. I cried tears of joy when my husband showed up one day with a double BOB stroller. I was finally going to live my dream! Then reality began to creep in . . . my boys never wanted to ride in the stroller. They wanted me to hold them. I had moments of real loneliness and often struggled with anxiety. Two babies in two years had left my body a wreck, and I felt out of place in my own skin. My husband’s growing business meant I saw him less and less. My “dream” was beginning to feel less like a dream and more like a really sad story. This life I had chosen, it just was not easy. I wanted it to be easy! I wanted to look chic, and have my babies happy, and my husband come home to a sit-down meal every night. I wanted the date nights and the play dates! I wanted babies who slept all night, and a body that bounced back quicker. I wanted things to be good! I wanted them to be my dream.

Motherhood makes you take a step back sometimes and look at yourself. It forces you to see the selfishness in your own heart. It also makes you realize that it is not about you. Babies are not programmed to be perfect sleepers, perfect toddlers, or even to love rides in very expensive strollers! I began to realize that the things I wanted did exist. I did have play dates and dates with my husband; these events just didn’t look exactly like I had imagined they would. Sometimes date nights meant tacos at 10:00 p.m. because that’s how long it took to put two babies to bed. Sometimes your toddler just acts horribly during a play date. You move on, and you try again at the next play date. Letting go of the dream — of how motherhood or your life “should” look — allows you to appreciate the messy beauty of a life you are lucky to have. 

I passed our double BOB on to my sister-in-law this past summer. She and my brother welcomed their second baby in two years, just as I had not all that long ago. Those years with tiny people, they are hard. Really, really hard. I think back and wonder, How did I make it? My dream had come true, but it was not the dream of my childhood. I chose back then to let my dream die. I said goodbye to what “could have been,” and what “should have been,” and I learned to embrace the messy reality of life. Doing so allowed me to accept my children, my husband, and myself as we were. 

Dreams are worth chasing, but they are also worth letting go. Real life is not a fairy tale . . . just moms trying to keep babies and toddlers seated in the stroller so they can make it down the road. 

 

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Alli is a Birmingham native who always knew she wanted to be a mommy to many, but had no idea that would turn into many little boys! While being a "boy mom" was not what she expected, you will now find her trudging through the woods and happily exploring everything "outdoors" with her brood of little men. Happily married to a builder, you might find that her Google searches reveal a never-ending list of home improvements, which leads to lots of screen shots and "Let's do this next" text messages. When not chasing around her boys, you can find her off on a long run, drinking coffee, going out for a girls' night, or wandering the aisles of the most wonderful place on earth, Target.

1 COMMENT

  1. Another fantastic article with so much truth. And another truth is that I have seen you live this out so well!! You’re doing great my friend, keep loving those kiddos as you do!

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