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Combining Your Passion with Parenting

23 Jul 2015 – 12:00 PM EDT

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Can you balance what you love to do with the overwhelming demands of parenthood?

Yes you can, but it requires some creative juggling. When my kids were babies, my husband and I played on a traveling volleyball team. I was fortunate to have parents who enjoyed taking care of the kids when we were on the road for tournaments. After just two years, we both quit playing–because the price we were paying had become more than what we were willing to pay for our passions.

So yes, you can live your passion while parenting your children. First and foremost, you’ll have to decide the price you are willing to pay. What are you willing to do to live your passion while raising your kid/s? We all have the same 24 hours in a day and how we spend it makes a critical difference. I often hear people whine, “I don’t have time.” or “I don’t have the money.” Or a combination of the two.

That was my whine when I took up barefoot water skiing a few years ago. I was working a full-time, demanding sales job, volunteering at a non-profit, and I had three kids and a hubby who liked to eat every day. After re-discovering my passion for the sport at the age of 44, I wanted to dive into it every chance I could. I hooked up with local skiers and started racking up water time. I took up competition a year later and raised funds by bringing sponsors on board. I wrote two books about the sport and wrote for two water ski magazines. Anything I could do to bring in money to support my passion–I pursued it.

The point in all this?

When you have something you’re truly passionate about, you’ll go above and beyond to make things happen. This means you’ll give up the stuff that isn’t important– watching less TV, giving up the malls, spending less money on trivial things, etc. You’ll also spend quality time with your kids because you’ll have less of it together.

Sometimes passion requires you to make big decisions about how you want to live. My friend, Shawn Minor, is a Rodeo Champion. To live his life on the road, he and his wife homeschool their children so they can pick up and go when they need to.

When Olympic swimmer Dara Torres was pregnant with her first child, she got into the pool to try and relieve the nausea she was experiencing. It had been seven years since retiring from the 2000 Olympics, but she quickly re-discovered her passion for swimming. Once again, she decided to make another Olympic comeback.

This time around, she had to juggle parenting with swim training. Even with the addition of parenthood, Dara managed to set a new swim record, breaking her own record from the previous Olympics! She did this just 16 months after giving birth.

Having said this, one important point in all of this is to consider the timing of it all. You cannot get back any time that you have spent away from your kids, so choose how you spend your time wisely. But know this: a parent that is happily immersed in their passion is happier than the parent who spends time doing something they dislike immensely.