I recently drove past a sign that read, “Children are great imitators. So give them something good to imitate.” And it got me thinking…

I’m a mother, maybe just like you, who is navigating.

I often feel that everyone always thinks I have my act together.  I may run a mom-blog that writes from 22 countries and has an editing staff but I don’t always know what I’m doing in the driver’s seat of my own mom-mobile.

I think the key is redirecting when I gain new, useful information. I’m always actively reading, thinking, trying, asking and watching, like so many of us are.

The questions that I’ve recently been repetitively savoring in my head are:

Why am I saving my own passions for later? When is later?  Will I still have the spark for them later?

Initially, putting things on hold for myself made sense and felt like the path to becoming a good mom.  No doubt our kids come first!  But, I’ve witnessed some and heard stories of mothers who have done that, and when their children have grown older, the mothers have had great emotional difficulty re-entering their own worlds, as they’ve been living in their child’s world for so long.

They are no longer brave.  They are no longer able to identify their passions. They lack self-confidence.

I know that keeping a piece of “me” during motherhood is, well, important for me. And, along with many mothers, that piece of me doesn’t get star billing because I naturally feel it would be selfish.  There are things I could—and I feel I should—be doing for my kids instead.

We’ve all read it and have been told, even here on World Moms Blog, that it is important to keep a piece of ourselves.  But, I’ve found myself actually valuing that piece of myself a little more recently because I’m finding that growing and developing myself in tandem to mothering is just as important to my children as it is to me.

If kids are really good imitators, as we moms know from experience they are, do I really want to teach my daughters through my own actions that they need to give up who they are and their passions at any time of their life?  No way!

What I want for them is to follow their dreams, to focus on what truly inspires them because our time on this planet is too short.  We should live with some degree of urgency to carry out our passions and find what it is that we are meant to be doing while we are here, before it’s too late.

YES, my children are and always will be, by my choice, the biggest part of my life’s work. I love them so much. And I’m also beginning to get comfortable with the fact that keeping a piece of myself isn’t selfish nor is it making me a less than stellar mom.  It’s necessary.

If I can’t show my children how important it is to do what I feel that I’m meant to be doing, then how can they learn to do the same?

One of my passions is foreign language.  Interview by interview goes by about our new writers on World Moms Blog, and I think, “Wow, she speaks that language!” or, “That’s amazing that she knows 4 languages!” And, I soooo admire that because it’s a deep interest of mine that I haven’t conquered.

I even wrote a letter to myself when I turned 30, to open on my 40th birthday, which mentioned that I expected to speak another language well by 40. I’m more than halfway to 40 now! Time is ticking!

I took some French lessons two-years-ago, but stopped because I thought I couldn’t make time for it, so I didn’t make time for it.

Well, here I am, with less than five years until I turn 40, now with two playful children, and I’m going to sign back up for those French lessons, start watching the French news online daily and giving up my English radio stations for French ones.  It’s time for me to get immersed!

Packing up and living in another country is also something that I want to do before I die. Perhaps that will be the next step one day on my life’s journey. In the meantime, I can enjoy living vicariously through the adventures of the World Moms Blog writers!

So, who’s out there reading this and joining me?  Let’s do it! Let’s take a baby step together towards one of our passions!

Tell me, what behavior do you want your children to imitate?  Is there something you feel passionate about but aren’t doing anything about?  I’d love to know that I’m not in this alone, and I’d love to encourage you, too!  Let’s make a new start together, today on International Women’s Day!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog. Jennifer Burden is the founder and an editor of World Moms Blog. She can be reached at worldmomsblog@gmail.com or on Twitter @WorldMomsBlog and @JenniferBurden.

The photograph used in this post is credited to Robert Whitehead. It carries a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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