Got personal goals that you’d like to pursue – but feel that you can’t because your duties as a parent are getting in the way? While raising kids can take up a lot of time and money, it’s still possible to chase personal goals.
In fact, pursuing personal goals can be beneficial for you and your children. It helps you to grow as a person and live a more fulfilled life. In doing so, you’ll feel happier – and so will your kids. You children are also more likely to be inspired to chase their own personal goals if they see you doing the same.
There are many forms of personal goal from chasing a career to travelling the world. Here are just some of the most common examples and how you can continue to chase them while raising happy kids.
Getting an education
Getting an education is a common personal goal. It could be a stepping stone to a better career or it could simply be a way of challenging your knowledge and expertise.
Studying while also looking after kids isn’t easy but it can be done. If your kids are in school, it could be even motivate them to focus more on their own studies (if you’re doing your homework while managing all the other responsibilities of being an adult, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do theirs).
The easiest way to juggle parenthood and studying is to take an online course. The Open University provides many online courses that can be studied in your own time from home. This makes it easy to come up with your own study schedule to fit around your parental duties. This could include studying in the evenings or when kids are at a school.
Student loans are available to students of all ages. There are also grants and benefits available for parents with kids such as Parent’s Learning Allowance. Taking advantage of this financial assistance could allow you to afford to raise kids and study without also having to take up full time work.
Starting a business/chasing a career
Chasing a dream job – or indeed starting a business – can also be difficult with kids. Without getting childcare, it can be difficult to commit to a job or a business. Nowadays, childcare costs are very high and most people have to rely on help from family and friends. This isn’t always possible if family and friends don’t live nearby or if you don’t feel you have a strong network.
Of course, in the long run, such a career or business could earn you enough to make this a non-issue. In fact, your dream career or business could earn you enough money to dramatically improve your quality of life for you and your children. For this reason, it’s important that you don’t lose sight of these work goals – especially if you’re passionate about a particular career or business idea.
An option in the beginning could be to look for part-time work or start a side-hustle. This could be work in you dream field that doesn’t take up too many hours, allowing you to get your foot in the door while not having to pay huge amounts for childcare. When things are going well, you can then take the leap to working full-time.
Another option is to work flexibly around your kids. More employers are offering the option to work from home. This could allow you to more easily work while looking after kids. With young kids you’ll likely need to focus on one or the other, but you may be able to more flexibly arrange childcare. You may even be able to find ways of working on the go as this post 14 Ways To Ensure You’re Being Productive On The Go details. This could allow you to combine errands while working.
It’s also worth looking into grants and benefits for working parents. For instance, there are grants out there to help with start-ups.
Travelling the world
A lot of people give up on dreams of travelling when having kids. As well as being more expensive, many parents worry about the dangers. It also becomes more difficult to find time to travel – you may find that you’re restricted to school holidays unless you’re willing to pay a fine. The odd two-week family holiday may still be possible, but travelling for anything longer than this can be difficult.
Of course, long-term travel with kids is possible if you’re committed enough. It can also have great benefits for your kids – as well as gaining your own experience of other countries and cultures, you’ll be giving your kids this experience too.
First, you need to decide whether to take the kids out of school or not. Some people choose to travel during school breaks – the summer six month break is often the best time to fit long-term travel plans. Others choose to take their kids out of school to travel, opting for homeschooling while on the go. You won’t have to pay any school fines by opting to homeschooling for a year, but it does put the responsibility of education on your shoulders (which means that you need to find time while travelling to teach your kids).
Travelling with pre-schoolers and infants is also possible. When doing so, you don’t have the worry of taking out of school, giving you the freedom to travel out of peak season. However, they will need more attention, meaning that you may have to travel at a slower pace and plan everything ahead. Investing in a portable cot and sling could be useful when travelling with a baby.
As to how to afford travel, there are many different options. You could choose to work as you travel or you could save up beforehand. Accommodation options such as homestay accommodation can save a lot of money – this is where you stay with a local family. There are also family-friendly hostels, which can be cheaper than staying in hotels.
This guide How To Plan A Family Gap Year offers some great advice on handling long-term travel with kids. There are also many blogs that can offer tips on travelling with kids from families that have done it themselves.
Starting a new hobby/learning a new skill
Developing hobbies and learning new skills can still be important, even when you have kids. Many of us put off these types of personal goals, but often they’re the most flexible type of goal.
You can develop a new skill at any time. Nowadays, many things can be learnt online from a new language to learning a new instrument. You’ll find many online tutorials on YouTube. There are also apps that you can download to learn a new language or instrument.
If you’d prefer to learn with other people in a more physical environment then this should also still be an option. An hour lesson per week is not going to get in the way of parenting and you’ll likely be able to find people to babysit for this hour.
If they’re old enough, you may also be able to learn a new skill or take up a hobby with your kids. There are many clubs such as martial arts classes, group instrument classes and language classes that welcome families with kids. Why keep it as a personal goal when you can all get involved and make it a family goal?
Pursuing fitness goals
Many of us also feel that we don’t have time to focus on our fitness when becoming parents. However, this is also something that shouldn’t be abandoned when having kids.
Whether you want to slim down or bulk up, there’s no reason why you can’t do this with kids. If finding the time and money to go to the gym isn’t an option, there are still many ways to work out at home. You may even be able to combine housework with exercise or even do a whole workout while watching TV.
It’s also possible to exercise with your kids. If your looking to lose weight, you may be able to plan active family days out such as a cycle trip or a game football in the park. As mentioned in the last section, you could even join fitness clubs that are open to families. You kids will stay fit and you’ll get fit too, allowing you to both benefit from it.
As for parents with infants, you may be able to try activities like walking while keeping your baby in a sling. In fact, there are even guides dedicated to exercises that you can do with babies.
This is a collaborative post